We've been getting ready to switch over to a new IV pump throughout our hospital. These new pumps have all of our IV infused medications already programmed in, so all we have to do is pull up the medication, and set a rate after verifying the concentration in the bag. For weight-based infusions, there is software in the pump that allows nurses to input weights and concentrations, and will calculate the rate given the desired hourly dose to be delivered. Sweet. Of course, all this assumes the nurse can turn the pump on, can successfully navigate through the first 2-3 screens, and understands how to program the pump.
As we all learned in Intro to Comp Sci -- Garbage In Garbag Out. For whatever reason, I am nervous.
I am still a fan of doing the calculations on my own. I've caught the pharmacist in an error every once in a while (they are human too), and like the idea of two sets of eyes looking over the calculations. I calculate my drips using dimensional analysis, which I think is more likely to catch errors due to improper units, or thinking mcg when your formula works in mg, or all of the other hundred things that can get you to the wrong number. I like the automatic pumps, but I know I will still pull out a paper towel from the dispenser to check the numbers myself.
Oh well, at least we are not counting drops using the second hand of our watches.