Hi all,

I know there is math involved in every day med dosage etc. As a College Algebra student, I was wondering what the most critical algorithms are, like the ones you *really* don't want to forget, and have to double check. Such as an algorithm you'd need to know in response to a coding patient, etc.

Just trying to bring a sense of reality to my algebra studies. Thanks

Jul 21, '11

You will use some pretty basic math for dosage/dilution calculations, but we're talking pre-algebra level. Like the previous poster said, algorithms for critical situations (as found in courses like ACLS) won't really involve math in the adult, as those are set doses. Even for the complex post-resuscitation stuff, like hanging IV medication drips, you're going to usually utilize "smart pump" technology or a standardized cheat sheet.

In pediatrics, tons of medications are weight-based, but the factoring or graphing you learn in college algebra still doesn't come into play. For example, in a baby with a very slow heart rate, you'll give epinephrine 0.01 mg/kg and you estimate that the baby weighs 10 kg. It's not exactly high level stuff. Even at the graduate level, nurses involved in statistical calculations don't truly utilize algebra.

The biggest benefit to college algebra may just be that you increase your comfort level in working with numbers. While the math in nursing is more basic than what you are learning now, you'll often be expected to perform that basic math very rapidly.

Last edit by EricJRN on Jul 30, '11