Nursing Measurements Guide

SimpleNursing Editorial Team May 26, 2023
nurse shows other nurse trainees how to use the IV drip during a nursing class.

As a nursing student, you will be responsible for administering medication to your patients, and understanding how to measure medications accurately is crucial to your success. One of the most common methods for administering medication is through drops with nursing measurements.

In addition to administering medication, nurses must also take other measurements, such as vital signs, height, weight, and blood glucose levels. These measurements help nurses assess the patient’s overall health and ensure they receive the appropriate treatment.

How Many Drops (gtt) in a Milliliter (mL)?

The abbreviation “gtt” stands for “drops,” and it’s often used interchangeably with the term “drops.” As a general rule, a drop is 0.05 mL which is about 20 drops per milliliter. In hospitals, drops are mainly used for IV medication. IV tubing sizes range from 10 drops/mL to 60 drops/mL.

Using gtt is standard in medical settings to ensure that all health care professionals use the same terminology when measuring medication.

Read more about IV Drip Factor Calculations here.

Understanding how to measure medication accurately is a vital skill for nurses when administering medications that have a low therapeutic index, meaning that the difference between a therapeutic dose and a toxic dose is small. 

Examples of such medications include digoxin, heparin, and insulin. With these types of medications, even a small measurement error can have severe consequences.

Nurse Measurements

As a nurse, you’ll be responsible for measuring a wide range of medications. These medications may come in various forms, such as tablets, capsules, liquids, and injectables. Accurately measuring these medications requires understanding the specific medication’s dosing and the patient’s unique needs.

When measuring medication, nurses should always double-check their calculations and ensure that the medication is administered at the appropriate time and correctly. Additionally, it’s essential to keep detailed records of all medication administrations to ensure that the patient is receiving the proper dosage.

Memorize More in Less Time

Mastering the skill of measuring medication accurately takes time and practice. To help you develop this essential skill, you can leverage a digital nursing school tool with masterful, engaging resources.

SimpleNursing supplements your classroom education with a wide range of content, including study guides, adaptive exams, videos with rationales, and much more.

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