The Effects of Dimensional Analysis on the Medication Dosage Calculation Abilities of Nursing Students
Craig, Gloria P.
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The purpose of this study was to examine if the use of the problem-solving method of dimensional analysis would improve the medication dosage calculation abilities of nursing students. To investigate the effectiveness of dimensional analysis, a quasi-experimental research study was designed. The 59 nursing students participating in the study included an experimental group of 30 nursing students from a diploma nursing program and a control group of 29 nursing students from an associate nursing program located in central Iowa. Two research hypotheses were proposed for this study. The first research hypothesis was: Nursing students in the experimental group who are taught dimensional analysis will demonstrate significantly greater improvement in the medication calculation pretest/post-test scores than nursing students in the control group. This hypothesis was supported (t=4,96, p=.00001). The second research hypothesis was: Nursing students in the experimental group who are taught dimensional analysis will have higher scores on the medication calculation post-test than the nursing students in the control group. This hypothesis was not supported (t=-.77, p=.78), An additional finding was a slightly inverse relationship with the number of steps and conversions in each problem when correlated with the number of correct responses on the post-test for the experimental group (steps/r=-0.476, conversions/r=-0.340), control group steps/r=-0,238, conversions/r=-0.151)~ and both groups combined (steps/r=-0.371, conversions/r=-0.253). Another finding demonstrated that there was a significant difference between the pretest scores of the experimental and control groups (t=-5.55, p=.0000f ). This was somewhat expected based on the chemistry and mathematical differences revealed on the demographic tool. The literature identified that dosage calculation deficiencies are a problem within the nursing discipline. The findings of this study are significant in that theysupport the use of dimensional analysis as an avenue to be considered when the goal is improvement of medication dosage calculation abilities, A recommendation from this study is the use of dimensional analysis as a consistent problem-solving method for teaching medication dosage calculation to all levels of nursing students.
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