Use of Calculators, open to all RNs

  1. Hello to all! First off, I am new to this site and this is my first post! So this is partially to say hello and partly to ask a question to the RN's out there..

    As a nursing student I have discovered theres quite a few formulas and numerical things to remember, I was wondering if use of calculators is looked down upon, or actually encouraged? Also, I was wondering if there are any useful study tips that anyone has use getting through nursing school? Cause I feel like I am drowning! Please Respond Soon!!

    Thanks, Adrienne
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   JessicRN
    Doing it in your head is looked down on in my hospital. Too much margin for error
  4. by   henryross
    Hi! im a nursing student and music (soothing ones) while reading has worked for me...^^
  5. by   henryross
    oh and one more thing, dont put the volume too high, put it in a volume that you can hear the music but still can understand what you're reading..^^
  6. by   Ohmygosh
    i am not a nurse yet... but i did stay at a holiday inn express last night....just kidding, i am a second year nursing student and each semester we have a dosages and calculations test which we are required to obtain a certain score on. each semester the score requirement is higher. anyway... during the first year we were not allowed to use calculators at all. i think that this was beneficial to learn to calculate without one in the case of some massive disaster in which there is little or no electricity, etc. as far as being looked down upon for using a calculator--i can't see that being a problem. as jessicrn said it without calculator there is too much margin for error.

    as far as study tips... it depends on what type of learning style you have. i have found that staying very organized helps me. always anticipate what is coming next. set aside a very specific amount of time to complete your assignments (careful not to cut yourself short). take frequent breaks during study time - gives you a chance to sort of digest what concepts you just read... and may clarify some things in your mind. if you find yourself spending too much time re-reading because you don't understand something. re-read it once then make yourself a note "look up so-and-so" then move on. it may become clearer further on in the text. for those things that you make notes on...try looking them up in a taber's medical dictionary. and if that doesn't work and you still don't understand --ask someone in your class to explain it to you -or- when you have all the little questions you are still not clear on-- take your list of questions and stop by to see your instructor, email the instructor, or call the instructor - whatever your schools particular policy is. it has been my experience that instructor are willing to help. and lastly... i just love webmd. the site is easy to use and easy reading.

    good luck!
    Last edit by Ohmygosh on Dec 10, '06 : Reason: grammatical error
  7. by   AuntieRN
    We were always encouraged to use a calculator. Doing in on paper or in your head can result in huge errors sometimes, especially when doing calculations with big numbers like heparin.
    I used NCLEX review books to also study from the whole time I was in school. They seemed to help me out. Not only do they explain things kinda short and simple there are lots of practice questions in there. Good luck to all you students. I feel for ya.
  8. by   TiffyRN
    Just to give you a clue; nurses in our unit look for the cheap calculators ($1 each), buy a bunch and pass them around off and on. Calculators are essential in most any nursing job; especially ICU's where you are calculating mg/kg/min, ml/kg/hr.

    nursing school has so little to do with actual practice (sorry, really deep scars from nursing school).
  9. by   Pepper The Cat
    Study tip:I used to make myself flash cards - for example, on one side I would put a question, like What is the Automoatic Nervous System? And on the other side, the answer. I would carry these everywhere, and anytime I was stuck waiting for something - Bus, Waiting in line to buy something, I would take them out and review them.
    I also found that writing out the material in my own words helped me understand it better.
  10. by   MIA-RN1
    we were encouraged to use calculators in nursing school but they had to be a specific type--plain and nothing could be stored in them. They were very much similar to the one provided on the NCLEX and the school said that since NCLEX allows the calculator, they will too. (I guess apparently they didn't used to allow calculators at my school)
    In practice, always use a calculator. Too much chance for mistake otherwise. In fact, I have formulas and drop rates all written down in my notebook at work already so that I am not floundering.
  11. by   TazziRN
    Quote from CoopergrrlRN
    the school said that since NCLEX allows the calculator, they will too
    Consider yourselves lucky.....calculators were expressly verboten when I took my boards in the dinosaur days.

    As everyone else has already said, calc use is encouraged.
  12. by   colleennurse
    I use a calculator at work all the time. Like others said too much room for error. I bought myself a little keychain one at Staples for .99 cents. I attached it to my work badge thing that clips on my shirt. It is perfect for this, just has the basic functions and it doesn't waste room in my pocket with all the other junk I carry around

    As far as studying for nursing school....different things work for different people. My school provided us with the objectives for each unit we covered. I got myself a spiral notebook and I hand wrote out each and every objective, it took time to do it, but it made me look up every one and the I would just keep re-reading them before the test. I also bought a comprehensive nclex review book and the one I had came with a CD, you could pick the questions by topic (cardiac, respiratory) and I would do as many questions as I could for the topic we were learning. That helped a lot to reinforce what i had learned and to practice answering critical thinking type questions. Good luck!
  13. by   nurse4theplanet
    At school, we have ALWAYS been allowed to use calculators. It decreases the chance of error.

    At work, the IV pumps we have have dosage calculation programs built in, but if someone wants to check the dosage the first thing they do is whip out a cell phone, pda, or handheld calculator and start plugging away. I've never seen anyone do math by hand unless it was so simple that it would be quicker to just work it out than use a calculator. And then they get someone to check behind them.
  14. by   celticqueen
    Quote from SoontobeAdrienneRN
    Hello to all! First off, I am new to this site and this is my first post! So this is partially to say hello and partly to ask a question to the RN's out there..

    As a nursing student I have discovered theres quite a few formulas and numerical things to remember, I was wondering if use of calculators is looked down upon, or actually encouraged? Also, I was wondering if there are any useful study tips that anyone has use getting through nursing school? Cause I feel like I am drowning! Please Respond Soon!!

    Thanks, Adrienne

    hello Adrienne.

    i think using a calculator a good idea, and i don't think that using one should be lookked down apon. i also carry a little note book in my uniform pocket with drug formulations written in there for easy reference (just in case i don't have a calculator to hand!!!!). i'm not naturally good at mathes, and i find this particularly handy.

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