Math requirement for RNs? - page 6

I have a question for both practicing RNs and students alike: It's come to my attention recently that some nursing schools are on longer verifying that their students can do basic 4th grade math. ... Read More

  1. by   llg
    Quote from Julius Seizure
    I disagree that "basic math skills" revolves around the ability to divide 425.5 by 18.2 or multiple 1/2 by 1/5 without a calculator. That is not the world that we live in today. Basic math skills means knowing how to use your calculator to do those math problems and understanding the concepts behind them. The dreaded "common core math" is about just that: understanding HOW numbers work is more important than being able to do long division by hand or knowing all your multiplication tables by rote.
    I agree that such content is essential ... but that doesn't mean that basic calculation skills (at the level traditionally taught in 3rd through 5th grade) aren't important also. More than 1 thing can be important at the same time. While calculators are available most of the time, there may be occasions (e.g. natural disaster, military, transport, etc.) when a calculator is not available.
  2. by   llg
    Quote from SummitRN
    Quick handrwitten notes to colleagues are usually done in print, not script.
    The operative word there is "usually." That's not the same as "always." What happens when an important message is written in cursive?

    If your handwriting is illegible, then by all means -- print. But I contend that you should still be able to read cursive that is written with reasonable legibility.
  3. by   Aheffro1
    I just finished up all prerequisite classes and applied to a community college ADN program. In order to apply I had to take pre algebra, algebra and statistics, plus take the teas (scored 93% in math section). There is no way an applicant could get in not knowing how to add/subtract and everything else.
  4. by   llg
    Quote from DoGoodThenGo
    This lowering or removal of math standards for student nurses must be coming from private/for profit schools of nursing.
    Thank you for the throughtful post. I appreciate the effort that you invested in the topic.

    For the record, this was not a for-profit school. It is a state run, Community College ADN program. Though, from the other responses in this thread, the practice of NEVER requiring students to do the calculations themselves is pretty common within a lot of schools.

    As a hospital, we have allowed calculators on our med test "forever" for all the reasons people have stated in this thread. But based on what we are now seeing and hearing about this issue, we are now considering adding a short calculation test (without calculators) to our orientee med test. It concerns us to think that our staff couldn't do it by hand if they had to in an emergency. We also may write some of the directions in cursive to make sure everyone can read it.

    We're just not sure what to do with people who fail at either skill.
  5. by   SummitRN
    Quote from llg
    The operative word there is "usually." That's not the same as "always." What happens when an important message is written in cursive?

    If your handwriting is illegible, then by all means -- print. But I contend that you should still be able to read cursive that is written with reasonable legibility.
    You want to write in cursive?
    If some millenial can't read cursive, they'll ask an old nurse.
    If not everyone can read the way you write, then don't write that way! PRINT!
    Or my case, TYPE and click print.

    Do you think NCLEX should be in a cursive font so that old school folks can keep handwriting cursive notes?

    I just saw a doc 2 finger typing into the EHR. Kids today need typing classes for the future, not cursive classes for backwards compatibility with the old school.
  6. by   Julius Seizure
    Quote from DoGoodThenGo
    If you went to school say prior to the 1980's or 1990's (give or take) it is most likely you learned "ratio and proportion"..... For some students this wasn't a problem...., but for those that just needed to do things their own way (but still get the correct answer), many instructors were having none of that either. Dimensional analysis has proved a God send for many nursing students.

    I'm a dimensional analysis girl! Makes so much more sense to my brain!
  7. by   llg
    Quote from SummitRN
    You want to write in cursive?
    If some millenial can't read cursive, they'll ask an old nurse.
    If not everyone can read the way you write, then don't write that way! PRINT!
    Or my case, TYPE and click print.

    Do you think NCLEX should be in a cursive font so that old school folks can keep handwriting cursive notes?

    I just saw a doc 2 finger typing into the EHR. Kids today need typing classes for the future, not cursive classes for backwards compatibility with the old school.
    It's not about me wanting to write in cursive. It's about me wanting the staff to be able to read cursive in case a patient needs them to be able to read it ... (e.g. reading medical records from past visits ... reading notes from patients who can't talk ... reading notes/letters from patients' families ... etc.)
  8. by   AdobeRN
    Funny how we all learn so differently....in LVN school we were taught dimensional analysis, so confusing to me. During my first clinical rotation an older, experienced nurse showed me ratio-proportion and all of a sudden med calculations were so easy for me.
  9. by   SummitRN
    Quote from llg
    It's not about me wanting to write in cursive. It's about me wanting the staff to be able to read cursive in case a patient needs them to be able to read it ... (e.g. reading medical records from past visits ... reading notes from patients who can't talk ... reading notes/letters from patients' families ... etc.)
    Funny... I've never had a ventilated or nonverbal patient ever write script... only print. (And one could ask the patient to print)

    Also, one need not be able to write cursive to read it, and it isn't that hard to learn... (it is much harder to learn to read doctor scribble whether script or print, and that skill is not taught in nsg school)

    Bottom line:
    If a millennial can't read cursive, someone can help them.
    If I have a patient who writes in French, I'll have someone else translate.

    You just don't have me convinced that cursive in necessary to be a RN, or an adequately educated citizen. The utility of script decreased in direct proportion with the ubiquity of the keyboard. There is only so much time in education and cursive now ranks in importance somewhere between basket weaving and the use of slide rules.

    Hey we should make nsg students learn to use slide rules in case they can't find a calculator!
    (I have two of them... I can teach someone in exchange for basket weaving lessons)
  10. by   debirn918
    I find this discussion to be very interesting. Nurses need to know basic computation in order to provide safe care to patients. I tell my students "I don't care how you get the answer, but I want it to be the correct answer". I have asked them to show their work, not to penalize, but to see where they may have gone wrong in setting up the problem. As someone earlier said: "does it make sense"? I frequently find the errors being made when they add instead of subtract, or multiply instead of divide. If the answer tells you to give more than 3 pills, you may want to reset the problem. What can the repercussions be related to incorrect calculations? We read the stories and see results on the news. Loss of limb, cognitive ability, or even a patient's life. What about the nurse who makes the error? Loss of job, license, criminal charges and in some cases mental health or even suicide can be the result. Isn't it worth it to know how to calculate? Let's not allow common knowledge and skills be forgotten.
  11. by   nfahren05
    I can't remember any time when I had to do drug calculations without a calculator so arithmetic ability is less critical than the ability to do the dimensional analysis needed to set up the mg/kg equation to figure out the missing variable. Nowadays the pharmacy does virtually all the drug math, but every nurse should be able to set up the equations. I have only worked for one hospital, however, that actually tested new nurses during orientation.
  12. by   Gotti_girl
    you should know how to do it in your head, however, your math can be wrong so 100% calc is the best way to prevent errors!
  13. by   smartassmommy
    Quote from brownbook
    I agree even though I am terrible at basic math! I Googled my "problem" once to see if anybody has discovered that people have a learning disability with math, similar to dyslexia. No one has, gosh darn it!

    Yet I got A's in chemistry, balanced equations like a pro! I can easily calculate doctor ordered 250 mg, it comes in 725 mg per ml, or doctor ordered 25 mcg, it comes 50 mcg per ml in a 2 ml vial.

    But if you gave me a basic math test dividing and multiplying decimals and fractions......I think I'd eventually figure it out but it would be painful for me to do and I'm sure painful for you to watch.
    Look up dyscalculia.

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