Calculator at work? - page 4

by 1Luv_xo 4,257 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


  1. 0
    I'm one of the most math-proficient people that I know and can solve any problem without the use of a calculator.

    And yet...

    I nearly always use a calculator because it's so much quicker.

    About the only thing that I do in my head are simple drip rates (e.g. 100 mL over 30 min = 200 mL/hr)

    And calculators are ubiquitous these days... every cell phone, any Google-connected device, and most EMR packages have some sort of calculator available.

    Never forget, however, the adage "garbage in, garbage out" and don't mistake the precision of the calculator for accuracy of the solution.
  2. 0
    You could always get one of those nifty old school watches with calculators...I have one. I use it sometimes.
  3. 1
    I work on Peds/PICU and I always carry a calculator in my pocket. I can't do math well in my head and don't feel any obligation to "know" calculations other than how to get to the right answer. Mostly I use mine to verify "solving for X" type calculations. As the nurse, you are responsible for making sure dose is correct for patient before you give a med. I work in a teaching hospital and I have come across incorrect orders written by residents and supposedly "checked" by pharmacist before being dispensed up to floor to give to patient. You are the last line of defense to keep patient safe, so I say by all means have this tool handy during your work day.
    applewhitern likes this.
  4. 1
    Just carry a calculator if it makes your job better. It is doubtful that you will have to use it these days. Where and what do you do where you need a calculator? There ought to be on on the electronic computer and one on your cell phone too. I have been a nurse very long and I remember the days when we had to calculate. So grateful for pharmacy and IV machines that do 99%.
    Fiona59 likes this.
  5. 0
    Why not? But like a computer, garbage in=garbage out...make sure the initial entry is correct and you should have the correct dose.
  6. 0
    Quote from 1Luv_xo
    I dont know really.. lol. I read online some nurses saying you shouldnt have to use a calculator, you should just know your calculations. I also read that some of the more experienced nurses look down upon those who have to use a calculator.. but I'd rather be safe than sorry!
    How nice that they think they are God's gift to nursing, but I want to be the safe nurse who double check anything I'm unsure of
  7. 0
    I am TERRIBLE at math, thank God for Math 126 because I learned ratio/proprotions for dosage calculations, so they are easy to do. It's my biggest fear about being a nurse. I'm still in school, actually start in August for RN, but I will NEVER be w/o a little cheapo calculator on the floor.
  8. 0
    I am intrigued by your question. Why wouldn't it be allowed? Do they expect to reinvent the wheel? Not everyone is a math-genius. Hospitals would much rather that you use a calculator than make an error. Like someone has replied to you, have someone double-check your work.
  9. 0
    I've probably got three calculators in my bag, we have them at all our pyxises (pyxi? haha) and outside most rooms, and for anything i'm not sure about I double check with someone else. This is peds and a decimal point could kill, no pride here.
  10. 0
    Quote from needshaldol
    Just carry a calculator if it makes your job better. It is doubtful that you will have to use it these days. Where and what do you do where you need a calculator? There ought to be on on the electronic computer and one on your cell phone too. I have been a nurse very long and I remember the days when we had to calculate. So grateful for pharmacy and IV machines that do 99%.
    But there is that 1% of times when they send up something wrong and I've seen it too many times for comfort. A bag of what should have been 800mcg/1ml of dopamine instead sent up 3200/1 but with the 800/1 sticker. Always double check everything. Plus I work in an ICU and we draw up many meds from the pyxis, specifically narcs and paralytics and if you're giving your non-intubated infant morphine you want to make sure it's the right dose or you'll be running for the narcan real quick!


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