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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Diane Aschenbrenner, MS, RN, CS (Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing)
Description: General mathematic information and information specific to calculating drug dosages for various ages, types of drugs, and routes of administration are provided in this book.
Purpose: The intent is to teach dosage calculation to students, offer review, and serve as a reference for nurses. This is one of many dosage calculation books on the market.
Audience: Nurses and nursing students are the intended audience.
Features: This book is clearly laid out with nice pictures and illustrations. Information is presented in small segments with multiple practice opportunities. The critical thinking exercises are clinically relevant, demonstrating potential medication errors in practice. The reader must identify the root cause of the error and explore ways to prevent the error. Nice inclusions are the chapters on insulin (includes all routes of administration, including pens, implantable pumps, and oral hypoglycemics — but this may confuse students as these are not forms of insulin), anticoagulants (all routes of heparin and warfarin), and advanced IV calculations (information often grouped as critical care calculations, plus TPN). There is not have extensive information on drug administration principles or pharmacological principles related to drug therapy as found in other books. However, this information is well covered in fundamental and nursing pharmacology texts, and the authors' decision to focus on practice problems and critical thinking exercises seems justified.
Assessment: Unfortunately, the brief information on administration may allow students and nurses to make some errors in practice. Two examples: the authors' comment on site selection for insulin administration does not strictly follow the American Diabetic Association's position, and when they give the direction to add an air bubble when giving heparin SC they neglect to state that the needle should be changed first to prevent an inaccurate dose in the syringe and a medication error. One major omission was the formula for computing body surface area, which is included in other books such as Gray's Calculate with Confidence, 2nd Edition (Mosby, 1998).