Doctors, nurses, and training in the administration of intravenous drugs

Br J Clin Pract. Sep-Oct 1994;48(5):246-7.


To assess the knowledge of staff and the effect of formal training on house officers we conducted telephone questionnaires of 40 house officers and 18 nurses. The following points were assessed: knowledge of dilution of drugs; knowledge of the rate at which drugs should be given; and the rate at which drugs were given. Appropriately trained nurses had greater knowledge than 'untrained' house officers. In all, 17/18 (94%) nurses compared with 9/18 (50%) house officers knew the correct rate at which to give ampicillin (P = 0.0036, Fisher's exact test); 14/18 (78%) nurses and 1/18 (6%) house officers said they gave ampicillin at the correct rate (P < 0.001); 13/18 (72%) nurses and 7/18 (39%) house officers said they gave ranitidine at the correct rate (P = 0.037). Only 1 of the 10 house officers who knew how rapidly to administer ampicillin said they took the correct length of time; 6 of the 10 who knew how rapidly to give ranitidine said they gave it at the correct rate. Training improves the knowledge of house officers, but other factors besides lack of knowledge (possibly lack of time) adversely affect delivery of intravenous drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Nursing*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous*
  • Inservice Training
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Penicillins / administration & dosage
  • Ranitidine / administration & dosage


  • Penicillins
  • Ranitidine