Expert advice

Medicines management: Should applicants for staff nurse posts have numeracy tests?

An increasing number of medication incidents are due to calculation errors, and while numeracy tests may seem yet another hoop to jump through they are to help protect patient safety and your registration, and will likely become more common

An increasing number of medication incidents are due to calculation errors, and while numeracy tests may seem yet another hoop to jump through they are to help protect patient safety and your registration, and will likely become more common

An increasing number of medication incidents are a result of calculation errors. These are particularly common in areas such as paediatrics and neonatology – where medicines are often calculated by the weight of the child – or in areas where intravenous medicines are given either as a bolus or infusion.

Nursing staff at many trusts are now required to undertake annual numeracy assessments. This is to ensure they are competent in calculating accurate medication doses for patients.

Ability to practise safely

But what if they fail? Should they be stopped from administering medicines? Do they need supervision for all medicines

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