British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 18, Iss. 7, 09 Apr 2009, pp 399 - 402
This article discusses a well-known model in mathematical problem solving developed by Polya (1957) and suggests that this could be a beneficial framework to support the development of medication calculation skills. The model outlines four stages to problem solving: understanding the problem, devising a plan, carrying out the plan and examining the solution. These four stages are discussed in relation to the teaching and assessing of medication skills, drawing on literature from nursing, mathematics education and cognitive psychology. The article emphasizes the importance of clinical experience and knowledge and the cognitive structures that support the development of medication skills. This is the first part of a three-part series. Part two will examine the different methods that can be used to solve medication calculations and part three the resources that are required to support use of these methods.