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A survey of drug-dose calculation skills of Australian tertiary hospital doctors
The medical journal of Australia (2009)
  • Chanelle M. Simpson
  • Gerben B. Keijzers
  • James F. Lind
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 drug-dose 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.
  • survey,
  • drug-dose,
  • calculation skills,
  • Australian tertiary hospital doctors
Publication Date
February 2, 2009
Publisher Statement
Published Version.

Simpson, C. M., Keijzers, G. B., & Lind, J. F. (2009). A survey of drug-dose calculation skills of Australian tertiary hospital doctors. The medical journal of Australia, 190(3), 117-120.

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© Copyright Australasian Medical Publishing Company
Citation Information
Chanelle M. Simpson, Gerben B. Keijzers and James F. Lind. "A survey of drug-dose calculation skills of Australian tertiary hospital doctors" The medical journal of Australia Vol. 190 Iss. 3 (2009)
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