Dosage Calculations: IV Drip Factor

Assuring that every client is provided with the appropriate medication and dose is fundamental in safeguarding their welfare; this is one of the primary responsibilities of the healthcare team, especially the nurses.

In this lesson, we’ll be discussing the essential relevance of accurate dosage calculation, mostly focusing on intravenous drip factor or the drip rates. Remember, that when it comes to nursing care, it is vital for nurses to understand that the dose introduced to their clients may precipitate unwanted errors that may lead to severe complications.

Drip Rates

The thing with drip rates is that there has always been an ongoing confusion amongst healthcare providers, but it’s quite simple if properly explained.

Calculating intravenous drip rates (gtt/min) would involve these three main elements:

  • Total volume
  • Drip factor
  • Time

So, the formula usually goes as:

Total volume x drip factor ÷ time = flow rate (gtt/min)

Smart Recall

We’ve established an easy way for you to recall the formula listed above. Just remember, “TV will make you deaf over time,” which, if interpreted is:

  • TV = total volume
  • Deaf = DF or dip factor
  • Over = divided by
  • Time = time prescribed by the physician

Before calculating any type of IV administration, don’t forget to write down the statement, “TV will make you deaf over time,” or repeatedly say it inside your head so that you are equipped with the correct formula.

Formula application

A usual scenario inside a healthcare institution will be a physician ordering normal saline to be infused for a specified period. So, you have to determine how many drops (gtt) of normal saline should be given to the client in a minute.

An example would be:

Calculate the intravenous flow rate for 1 liter of normal saline in 8 hours. The drop factor is commonly around 15 gtt/mL. Take note that 1 liter of normal saline is equivalent to 1,000 mL, and time should always be 60 minutes. Depending on what the physician has ordered, time should be multiplied by 60 minutes. In this case, 60 minutes will be multiplied by 8.

So, going back to the problem, applying the formula would exhibit:

1,000 mL x 15 gtts/mL ÷ 480 min = 31.25 or 31 gtts/min

That’s it for our drip factors simplified.

Care Plan Bible and Drug Card

For more information on other calculations, please go to where you can get our care plan bible. This bible includes over 70 top diagnoses concerning reasons why people are admitted to the hospital, and we have created an efficient and efficient care plan or a concept map for each one of them.

Aside from that, you can also get the 40 drug card which is essentially a drug card manuscript that lists the top 40 drugs with areas of nursing interventions, mechanism of action, contraindications, and drug interactions which is completely helpful for those of you who are planning on taking the NCLEX® or is facing with difficulties when it comes to nursing pharmacology.

You can also check out our Simple Nursing YouTube channel for other informative nursing videos or drop by our website to browse through various topics that are usually major exam favorites.

See you there!