Nursing - Dimensional Analysis

What is Dimensional Analysis?

According to the Wikipedia, dimensional analysis is the analysis of the relationships between various physical quantities. Dimensional analysis, as the name implies, investigates various dimensions/units of measurements termed as factors. Dimensional analysis is used basically to solve physics or chemistry problems. Dimensional analysis is also called as factor label method.

How Is the Dimensional Analysis Applied in the Nursing Field?

Nurses use various methods to calculate various dosages. Generally, nurses have been using the below mentioned methods:

  • Ratio proportion method
  • Formula/desired over have method

Recently, however, dimensional analysis or factor based method is becoming a popular method in the healthcare field as well. Nurses use dimensional analysis for figuring out various dosage amounts.

Nurses may have to figure out all or some of the below mentioned properties to perform their dimensional analysis by identifying various:

  • Base quantities (length, mass, time, etc.)
  • Units of measure (pound, kilograms, etc.)
  • Conversion factors and methodologies

After determining all the available data, they start comparing base units and measures. They use the factor-label method/unit-factor method for various conversions applying basic rules of algebra.

Advantages of Using the Dimensional Analysis

Some of the major advantages are listed below:

  • Nurses do not need to memorize a complicated formula
  • Less chances of error

Disadvantages of Using the Dimensional Analysis

Some of the major disadvantages are listed below:

  • It is not possible to convert all units, for example: It is not possible to convert degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit with this method
  • It is not possible to use this method if the inputs have different dimensions and different linear relationships.