# Calculator at work? - page 3

by 1Luv_xo 4,245 Views | 43 Comments

Can nurses carry a calculator on the job to calculate dosages? I'm terrible at math when it comes to solving problems in my head. It's like my brain gets scrambled. Due to this I'm getting discouraged about becoming an LPN.... Read More

- 4Jun 11, '13 by
*GrnTea*You can make the same errors with a calculator as with pen and paper if you don't know how to set up your problem, which is why people still pick the wrong distractors in med math tests even though they can use calculators. Other than that, having an easily-accessible calculator in your pocket (literal or figurative) can be a boon to the calculating-impaired. When we used to have to calculate drip rates for mcg/kg/min in the ICU in the 70s we all had little light-powered ones; I still have mine. - 0Jun 11, '13 by JenElizabethRNEven with a calculator, knowing the basic way to get your answer is key.

And if you need ever need a guide to calculate drip titration: Amazon.com: Medication Math Drip Titration Horizontal Badge ID Card Pocket Reference Guide: Health & Personal Care

- 1Jun 11, '13 by Aussierules1985Took calculus in 10th grade, mistakes are mistakes, I think I'm pretty good at math, but I always check anyways.

It's all about safety, you and your patients are worth it, if anyone makes fun of you, no biggie. No ones perfect.poppycat likes this. - 1Jun 11, '13 by DoGoodThenGoQuote from GrnTeaYou can make the same errors with a calculator as with pen and paper if you don't know how to set up your problem, which is why people still pick the wrong distractors in med math tests even though they can use calculators. Other than that, having an easily-accessible calculator in your pocket (literal or figurative) can be a boon to the calculating-impaired. When we used to have to calculate drip rates for mcg/kg/min in the ICU in the 70s we all had little light-powered ones; I still have mine.

Try doing these examples both ways, that is with pen and paper and with calculator. If you get the correct answers either way .... The nurse's quick guide to I.V. drug calculations : Nursing made Incredibly EasyLossea likes this. - 1Jun 11, '13 by DoGoodThenGoThink what throws many is hearing the words "nursing math", when in actuality it really is just math. Yes, there are drug names given and one often needs to know that bit, but the rest is simple straight up math. These are no different in terms of setting up and solving than those "Jane leaves New York At 3PM....." solving for "X" questions we all had to endure as part of high school algebra.

If a person cannot grasp what is being asked of them to solve any algebraic word question, then all the calculators in the world probably aren't going to do much good.poppycat likes this. - 2Jun 12, '13 by applewhiternI have worked in many different hospitals in my 25 years of nursing. Some of the smaller hospitals do not have a full-time, 24/7 pharmacist, and do not have fancy IV pumps that calculate drip rates for you. The hospital I work in now does not. We still figure many mcg/kg/min, etc., type drips by hand. You can carry a calculator, but you do need to learn math.Working2beRN2014 and poppycat like this.
- 1Jun 12, '13 by Working2beRN2014I am not sure about LPN or LVN schools but I know in our RN school, we are taught how to write out by hand our dosage calculations, of course on the standardized tests we take through HESI and ATI and even the school's exams, we are given a calculator in the test software to use. I agree that it is best to be careful. Math is important, but not all of us are blessed with the ability to do it in our heads. When it doubt have someone double check your math. As my instructor told us, "you need to know how to do this math because you never know when you may be in a situation like a hurricane, a pen and paper could be your best friend."

I also just wanted to say I actually have a learning disability in Math and yet dosage calculations are not too bad at all. I find that once I understand how to set up the equations on paper, and know where to plug in the numbers, I am golden.Last edit by Working2beRN2014 on Jun 12, '13 :**Reason**: typopoppycat likes this.