NCLEX Review: IV Drip Rates

As a nurse, it is critical that you know how to provide a safe and effective care environment. As you study for the NCLEX exam, watch this video tutorial to learn how to calculate IV drip rates and other vital IV drip rate information you need to know for the NCLEX test, including how to infuse IV fluids, and what macrodrip and microdrip are and what they are used for. We will also explain different methods of how to calculate the IV flow rate in drops per minute, shown through several examples. Once you have completed this video, you should feel confident in calculating IV drip rates.

IV Drip Rates | NCLEX Review 2018

NCLEX IV Drip Rates Infographic


How to Calculate Drip Rates

The Most Helpful Infographic You’ll Ever Find About Calculating IV Drip Rates

Drop Factor: Number of drops in one milliliter of solution

Microdrip: For small or precise infusions; 60 gtts/mL

Macrodrip: For quick and large infusions; 10-20 gtts/mL

Calculating number of mL to infuse:

Volume (mL) / Time (hours) = mL per hour

1,000 ml / 8 hours = 125 mL per hour

Calculating IV flow rate in drops per minute:

[Volume (mL) / Time (min)] x Drop Factor (gtt/mL) = IV flow rate in drops per minute (gtt/min)

[1,000 mL / 8 (60)] x 15 gtt/mL = 31.25, which rounds to 31 gtt/min

Quick tip: When IV tubing is microdrip (60 gtts/mL), the drops per minute will be the same as the mL per hour

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