Evaluating the Effectiveness of Calculator Use in Drug Dosage Calculation among Italian Nursing Students: A Comparative Study

Author(s): Anna Maria Grugnetti, Cristina Arrigoni, Annamaria Bagnasco, Giuseppina Grugnetti, Stefania Menoni, Maeve Casey and Loredana Sasso


Patient safety, including safe drug administration, is an essential component of the nursing profession. Mathematical competence is considered an essential skill for nurses. Drug administration is among the principle duties of nurses, therefore it is essential that nurses are able to carry out, drug dosage calculations, to assure patient safety. Nursing research indicates that a poor medication calculation skill is an international issue for the nursing profession.


To verify if calculator use in the written Maths Skill Test (MST) reduces errors in the test and improves undergraduate nursing students’ performance. Methods This study compares the test results of the second year nursing students randomized into two groups: an experimental and a control group, respectively with and without a calculator, to understand if the calculator helps students to reduce mathematical errors.


The range of the scores was different between the two groups. The experimental group had scores ranging from 16.15 to 29.25 out of a possible 30, the average score was 24.30 (SD 3.34) and the control group had scores ranging from 12.80 to 27.25, the average was 22.73 (SD 4.38).


Our study shows mathematical deficiencies in both groups, despite the use of a calculator. Implications for practice An integrated approach of several strategies will improve drug calculation skills of nursing students and ensure patient safety

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