Dosage calc/math for meds question

Hiya!
Just curious , since one can't use a calculator on the preNLN entrance exam, which I recently took.
. . . I knew in advance and was prepared to test without one, but it surprised me nonetheless . . . most higher level assessments are more interested in the ability to apply concepts, rather than how quickly/accurately you can perform the calculations.
Is "no calculator" a nursing school thang?
Are you allowed to use calculators in your classes and when being tested in nursing school? 
About JudithL_in_NH
Joined: Dec '02; Posts: 364; Likes: 17
RN
Specialty: School, Camp, Hospice, Critical Care 

Jan 9, '03We couldn't use calculators on the entrance test, but can for the dosage and solutions tests. I have noticed that our instructors just do it in their heads. I guess eventually you sort of get used to it.

Jan 9, '03We can't in school either, but are allowed to for clinicals. I bought one of those clipboards with all the info on it and calculator. Helps me keep organized.
Kristy 
Jan 9, '03I remember one professor would not allow them, but all the others didn't care. When you take the NCLEX, you will be allowed to access the computers' calculator.
My hardest subject has always been math, algebra, statistics...you get the picture? I actually believe I have a learning disorder in that department. I am the only nurse I know who never shows up for work without a calculator in my pocket.
Take a deep breath.......relax......and memorize those formulas.
Total # of ml / total # of minutes X the drip factor = drip rate
You can do it!!! 
Jan 9, '03I ALWAYS have a calculator in my grubby little pocket! I am the worst of the math impaired in my school, I think!
We can use them for tests and etc. in school. They warned us not to come to class without them.
I've never heard anyone say we couldn't use them.
M 

Jan 9, '03We can use nonprogrammable calculators for any test or clinical. Our "nursing program handbook" even spells it out and points out that the correct process to solving the problem is essential. Basically, we have to show our work.

Jan 9, '03We are allowed and even encouraged to use calculators... drip rates for some drugs can get pretty hairy... even with calculators and I've seen ICU nurses double check themselves all the time. I would rather verify a calculation than risk a patient's safety trying to figure it out in my head...
I think knowing HOW to figure it is the key.
JMHO,
Paula 
Jan 10, '03Thanks, all!
There seems to be a bit of variety in the policies at different schools.
I'd agree that the most important things are to understand the underlying process, rather than the math of the calculation itself, and to safeguard patient safety. I'm willing to work under whatever restrictions my school sets forth in testing situations, but you can bet I'll have a calculator with me any time I work with a patient, so I can verify my calcs!
Thanks for the feebdack! 
Jan 10, '03We could not use them on the dosage calculations test, but we could use them on the unit tests in the Basic Pharmacology class

Jan 10, '03We were never allowed to use them. They did catch one student with one in clinicals and she got read the riot act. Now I can do it all in my head I have even caught myself calculating the drip factor on the coffee machine. It becomes second nature.
Zoe 
Jan 10, '03We started out not being able to use them...we went through a HUGE reveiw of basic math...but now that we are doing dosages we are allowed to use them...BUT...if we use them in class we are supposed to use them in clinicals. One of my strongest subjects is math actually but I know that I tend to make stupid little mistakes, especially when I'm in a hurry, so I chose to use mine just for comfort so to speak, untill it's second nature to me.
Claire