Ruth Klawiter

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing


The purpose of this study was to identify factors affecting medication dosage calculation test scores of nursing students. A descriptive correlation study was set up involving fourth semester nursing students in a baccalaureate program who had been taught medication dosage calculation using the problem solving method of dimensional analysis. The method of dimensional analysis was taught during their second semester and reinforced for three semesters. In their fourth semester they took a post-test and answered demographic questions that included factors that could affect their medication dosage calculation abilities. These results were compared to a previously published study involving the same post-test but involved diploma nursing students and associate degree nursing students. The diploma nursing students were taught dimensional analysis over one semester and the associate degree nursing students were taught the ratio-proportion method of problem solving over the period of one semester. There were 39 students participating from the baccalaureate program, 30 students were involved from the diploma program, and 29 students from the associate-degree nursing program. Several objectives were proposed for this study. There was no significant statistical correlation with semesters of college chemistry, high school mathematics, comfort level in performing medication calculations, anxiety toward mathematics, or mathematics ACT test scores and the scores of a mathematics dosage calculation posttest There was a weak association with semesters of high school chemistry (p=0.149) and semesters of college mathematics (p=0.209) and scores of a mathematical dosage calculation post-test. There was also a significant correlation between fourth year baccalaureate nursing students post-test results and the results of the diploma and associate-degree nursing program (p<0.0001). It is recommended that all baccalaureate nursing programs institute dimensional analysis as a problem solving method for medication dosage calculations throughout their curriculum.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pharmaceutical arithmetic
Drugs -- Dosage
Nursing -- Mathematics
Dimensional analysis



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University