3.3. Components of a Complete Order


Components of a Complete Order.
  • Client name (Last and first).
  • Medication name
  • Strength of medication (if required)
  • Dosage of medication to be administered
  • Route of administration
  • Specific directions for use, including frequency of administration
  • Reason for administration if the medication is ordered PRN or as needed
  • Provider signature.


Orders for medications prescribed for PRN administration must include
  • Symptoms that require the administration of the medication;
  • Exact dosage;
  • Exact time frame between dosages;
  • Maximum dosage to be administered in 24-hour period;


QMAPs may be responsible for receiving and transcribing orders.
  • It is important that QMAP understands required procedures as well as the limitations of QMAP role in medication documentation.
  • An order is required to administer, change or discontinue any medication or treatment;
  • It is important to know the components of a medication order;
  • Contact the prescribing health care provider if the order is not legible – DON’T GUESS!
  • If an order is not complete or clear on how to administer; the QMAP must contact the supervisor or physician – DON’T GUESS!
  • Example – Ativan 0.5 mg. by mouth every 4 hours PRN for pacing or agitation;
  • A physician must be contacted if more than four doses are needed in the 24-hour period.


A “dose” has 3 parts.
  • Size:  The dose/size is the amount of drug taken at any one time. This can be expressed as the weight of drug (e.g. 250 mg), volume of drug solution (e.g. 10 mL, 2 drops), the number of dosage forms (e.g. 1 capsule, 1 suppository) or some other quantity (e.g. 2 puffs).
  • Frequency: The dosage regimen is the frequency at which the drug doses are given.
  • Examples include 2.5 mL twice a day, one tablet three times a day, one injection every four weeks.
  • Duration: the time during which the dose continues working.


        What is the strength of preparation: The strength is the amount of drug in the dosage form or a unit of the dosage form (e.g. 500 mg capsule, 250 mg/5 mL suspension).

        Example: A patient is prescribed 30 mg amitriptyline (dose). Amitriptyline is available in 10-mg tablets. (Strength of preparation)


Number of tablets required=30/10×1=3


A child has prescribed 240 mg paracetamol (dose). Paracetamol suspension is available as a solution of 120 mg/5 ml.(strength of preparation)


The volume of paracetamol required=240/120 ×5=10 ml