The effectiveness of an e-learning course on medication calculation in nursing students: a clustered quasi-experimental study

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Abstract

Aim.

To evaluate the effectiveness of an e-learning course compared with a face-to-face lecture on medication calculation.

Background.

The current knowledge on medication calculation of nursing students and nurses is insufficient to provide safe care.

Design.

A stratified-clustered quasi-experimental study.

Methods.

A random selection of nursing schools were allocated to the e-learning course (intervention group) (seven schools; 189 students) or face-to-face lecture (control group) (six schools, 222 students). Students in both groups completed a validated medication calculation test (maximum score: 16) prior to the course (T0), immediately after the course (T1) and 3 months later (T2). A linear mixed model was used for data analysis.

Results.

Medication calculation skills improved significantly more by the face-to-face lecture than e-learning course. Students in both groups significantly improved in medication calculation skills immediately after the course (T1) and 3 months later. The results flattened at T2 with a significant decline in the intervention group between T1 and T2 and a non-significant decline in the control group. Based on a subgroup analysis, improvement in medication calculation skills at T2 could only be observed in vocational-level (sub degree) nursing students receiving a face-to-face course.

Conclusions.

Both medication calculation courses had a positive effect on medication calculation skills. Students receiving traditional face-to-face lecture improved significantly more than the students receiving the e-learning course.

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