Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Self-efficacy in Relation to Medication Calculation Performance in Nurses Page: 47
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gave a medication calculation test after initial hiring of an employee (Bayne & Bindler, 1997;
Polifroni et al., 2005). "No service setting surveyed responded that these skills [mathematical
calculations] are routinely assessed as part of an annual competency process" (Polifroni et
al.,2005, p. 81).
Research findings have not found significant differences in the calculation abilities of
nurses versus nursing students. Several studies use the term nurse and define it as RN and may
delineate the college-degree type in the demographics, but it is not clear of the type of nurse that
is used in most studies. American hospitals hire licensed vocational (Practical) nurses (LVNs)
and registered nurses (RNs), and the studies may include both types of nurses. The education and
licensure of the two types of nurses is different and are detailed in the next section.
Nurses' Education, Licensure, and Medication Calculation Expectations
Nurse educators at most hospitals give a medication administration or calculation test,
pen and pencil, to new nursing employees during their original orientation and do not check
calculation competence further. The test is usually simple, and the employee is remediated right
after the test with discussion; a repeat test is not always given. If a test is given for the critical
care areas it is combined with pharmacology; mathematics is not the focus. Most hospitals do not
have periodic tests for medication dosage calculations, and some hospitals never give a
medication calculation test. There may be counseling when an error is identified, but there is no
formal plan to improve mathematic abilities. The ability to pass a medication calculation test
during RN orientation and the likelihood of future medication errors was studied by Calliari
(1995), who found a significant direct correlation (p = 0.028) between initial test failure and
future increased rate of medication errors. She also found that the more educated the RNs the
less likely they were to make an error (p < 0.05) (Calliari, 1995).
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Melius, Joyce. Mathematics Anxiety and Mathematics Self-efficacy in Relation to Medication Calculation Performance in Nurses, dissertation, May 2012; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115119/m1/55/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .