Pedagogy in Action > Library > Just in Time Teaching > Example JiTT WarmUp Exercises > Critical Care Intravenous Drug Calculation: Drill and Practice

Critical Care Intravenous Drug Calculation: Drill and Practice

This learning activity was created by Jeanne Sewell, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Georgia College & State University. It utilizes learning resources developed by Sharon Kumm, Nadine Salmon and Lori Constantine, and Jewett Johnson.
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This material was originally developed through Merlot
as part of its collaboration with the SERC Pedagogic Service.


This health science learning activity is designed to give the learner confidence and skill with calculation critical care intravenous (IV) medication rates using a controller or pump. The learning material is introduced using tutorial style examples, an interactive Excel worksheet with formulas to enable the student to check their answers, and interactive gaming activities (fact cards , flash cards, Pick-a-letter, Fill-in-the-blank, and glossary). After completion of practice, the student applies knowledge by completing an interactive multiple-choice quiz.

The learning resource is designed to complement textbook information and classroom presentations.

Learning Goals

  1. Describe the rationale for use of IV controllers and pumps when administering critical care IV medications.
  2. Demonstrate competency when converting milligrams (mg) to micrograms (mcg).
  3. Analyze drug orders to determine safe dose ranges using a drug handbook.
  4. Demonstrate competency in calculating critical care infusion rates for IV pumps and controllers.

Context for Use

  • This learning activity can be used as a homework assignment in a pharmacology class or a course where advanced IV fluids administration is taught. It can also be used as a remediation tool for students who must achieve mastery of these concepts in order to be safe practitioners.
  • The learning activity can be completed in 45-60 minutes.
  • The student will need a computer with an Internet connection, web browser, and Macromedia Flash. The Flash module is included so that the activity can be uploaded to an online learning management system, such as Blackboard or Angel Learning or added to a web page.
  • This activity is intermediate in nature. It provides critical knowledge and application of terminology and intravenous drug calculations used in the critical care setting.
  • This activity is appropriate for all nursing students studying intravenous critical care medication concepts.

Description and Teaching Materials

This learning activity provides drill and practice experience for calculation of critical IV medication rates. The activity is available in two formats. One format is a printed quiz formatted using Microsoft Word. The instructor can use the quiz as is, or make medications. The recommended format is a Flash module, which is a zipped file that can be uploaded to an online learning management system, uploaded to a web page, or simply viewed in a web browser. The Flash module includes flash cards, fact cards, pick-a-letter, fill-in-the-blank, a glossary and an interactive multiple-choice quiz items written at the application and analysis taxonomy levels.

Teaching Notes and Tips

  • Parsing IV drip rates into small meaningful chunks is very important. Prerequisite learning should include familiarity with critical care intravenous medications, knowledge regarding the use of IV controllers and pumps, competency using a drug handbook, mastery of weight and liquids conversions, and IV fluid calculations. Students need to be able to recognize potential calculation errors.
  • I am using this module as a remediation resource in a hybrid NCLEX prep course using the Blackboard learning management system.
  • Patient safety should be a key point of emphasis in throughout this lesson.


Learning can be assessed in several ways.
  • Formative assessment using a multiple-choice quiz with knowledge and application questions.
  • Demonstrated competency in the learning lab setting.
  • Demonstrated competency in the clinical patient setting.
  • Summative assessment on an unit exam.

References and Resources