A survey of drug-dose calculation skills of Australian tertiary hospital doctors

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Title A survey of drug-dose calculation skills of Australian tertiary hospital doctors
Author Simpson, Chanelle M; Keijzers, Gerben; Lind, James Frederick
Journal Name Medical Journal of Australia
Year Published 2009
Place of publication Australia
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing Company Pty Ltd
Abstract Objective: To assess the ability of doctors to calculate drug doses and their workplace prescribing and calculation habits. Design and setting: Prospective, questionnaire-based observational study conducted at a 570-bed teaching hospital in February 2007. Participants: Convenience sample of 190 doctors, representing all acute medical and surgical disciplines and diverse levels of experience. Main outcome measures: Demographic data, self-reported prescribing habits, predicted score on a 12-item test of ability to calculate drug doses, score considered adequate for peers, and actual score. Results: 141 doctors (74%) completed the questionnaire. The mean actual score on the test was 72.5% (95% CI, 67.8%–77.3%), which was similar to the group's mean predicted score (74.7%; 95% CI, 71.0%–78.5%) but significantly lower than the mean of the score they considered adequate (91.6%; 95% CI, 89.5%–93.8%) (P<0.001). Subgroup analyses showed that senior doctors and those in critical care specialties (intensive care, emergency medicine and anaesthesia) achieved significantly higher actual scores than junior doctors and those in non-critical care specialties, respectively. Conclusions: Doctors expect their colleagues to perform significantly better in a drugdose calculation test than they expect to, or can achieve, themselves. Junior staff and those in non-critical care specialties should be targeted for education in the skill of drug-dose calculation to reduce the risk of medication error and its consequences.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI http://www.mja.com.au
Alternative URI http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/190_03_020209/sim10260_fm.html
Volume 190
Issue Number 3
Page from 117
Page to 120
ISSN 0025-729X
Date Accessioned 2009-12-04
Date Available 2010-06-23T05:25:17Z
Language en_AU
Faculty Griffith Health Faculty
Subject Medical and Health Sciences
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/30916
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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