Nursing students' confidence in medication calculations predicts math exam performance



Publication Details

Andrew, S., Salamonson, Y. & Halcomb, E. J. (2009). Nursing students' confidence in medication calculations predicts math exam performance. Nurse Education Today, 29 (2), 217-223.


The aim of this study was to examine the psychometric properties, including predictive validity, of the newly-developed nursing self-efficacy for mathematics (NSE-Math). The NSE-Math is a 12 item scale that comprises items related to mathematic and arithmetic concepts underpinning medication calculations. The NSE-Math instrument was administered to second year Bachelor of Nursing students enrolled in a nursing practice subject. Students' academic results for a compulsory medication calculation examination for this subject were collected. One-hundred and twelve students (73%) completed both the NSE-Math instrument and the drug calculation assessment task. The NSE-Math demonstrated two factors 'Confidence in application of mathematic concepts to nursing practice' and 'Confidence in arithmetic concepts' with 63.5% of variance explained. Cronbach alpha for the scale was 0.90. The NSE-Math demonstrated predictive validity with the medication calculation examination results (p = 0.009). Psychometric testing suggests the NSE-Math is a valid measure of mathematics self-efficacy of second year nursing students.

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