Can I become a nurse if I'm not great at math?

3 In the future, I hope to be a nurse but right now I'm finishing a nine month medical assistant program. The math is fairly easy because there's no algebra. One of my instructors is a doctor and he said I better become great at math otherwise there's no chance of me ever becoming a nurse. I'm great at anatomy/physiology, science, and anything not involving math. Whenver I'm being taught math, I just can't understand it no matter how many times people teach me. This makes me feel very sad because all my life, all I've ever wanted was to become a nurse but the reality is that if I don't become proficient then it will never happen. Does anyone have any advice for me?


3Feb 1, '13 by TheCommuter, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorI'm still not good at math, and I'm currently working as a nurse.
You'll need to learn dosage calculations and 'med math' for nursing school, which requires proficiency in 6th to 8th grade level math, although I'm cognizant that many adults in America struggle with the most basic mathematics that should have been mastered during the elementary school years.
If you feel that your math skills are rusty, I suggest enrolling in a remedial or developmental math course at your local community college to become better at this subject. Good luck to you. 
1Feb 1, '13 by ADN2BTake a math placement test at your college. They will tell you what level that you need to remediate at and what is required for nursing school. I only needed one college level course for nursing school, but I took the two lower level courses I lacked performance in to make sure I was proficient enough to succeed. It was the best decision that I ever made. I made it through college Algebra, Chemistry and Meddose with A's.FuturePedRN2016 likes this.

0Feb 1, '13 by BSNbeDONE, BSN, RNQuote from dolphincatchI dropped college algebra off and on for 7 years and final passed it when I began an RNBSN program.......that was 2 years ago...been nursing 27 years this year. I think your instructor was just really trying to motivate you by hitting you where it hurts. Hey, good lesson: don't let anyone know your weaknesses. They will surely try to uses them against you. But there will be some math in pharmacology. I had to retake a test for work just yesterday because I score 75 and they wanted 80. Got 95 on the retake...of course, the retake was an easier version but was still moderately difficult.Don't let him shake you.In the future, I hope to be a nurse but right now I'm finishing a nine month medical assistant program. The math is fairly easy because there's no algebra. One of my instructors is a doctor and he said I better become great at math otherwise there's no chance of me ever becoming a nurse. I'm great at anatomy/physiology, science, and anything not involving math. Whenver I'm being taught math, I just can't understand it no matter how many times people teach me. This makes me feel very sad because all my life, all I've ever wanted was to become a nurse but the reality is that if I don't become proficient then it will never happen. Does anyone have any advice for me?

0Feb 1, '13 by LadyFree28, BSN, RNI used to be horrible at math. Still a competent nurse!!
My issue was to tackle how to do a problem, and the end result is to make sure when you solve for x, that it makes sense. I found that when I did equations in Chemistry, that my math improved, because the way they do equations are based on ratio and proportion and dimensional analysis. You can always get a nursing math book and improve on conversion factors, as well as learn how to do nursing math. My school used dimensional analysis, and I only had to take a nursing math test ONCE, and that was because I got anxious on a reconstituted med problem. When I got the second exam, and I got TWO, I got BOTH of them right!!!
ALL things are possible...even tackling math. 
0Feb 1, '13 by Boxer Mama, BSN, RNPractice, practice, practice! I always thought that I was not good in math, just took the minimum I needed in high school. But, now I am applying for an ABSN program, and I am in college algebra this semester and I am actually enjoying it! Maybe I think differently now that I am older, but there is a sense of satisfaction when I solve the problem and it is correct! I spend a lot of time on my algebra class. I take notes of equations and spend time completing problems until I understand exactly how the problem is solved  and then I do it again with different numbers until I get it right! I agree to start with the lower level math courses and get tutors if you need them. You just have to change how you think about math!

0Feb 1, '13 by mommyof2TeesPractice Practice Practice....thats what worked for me. As I typed this I just glanced to the previous poster! LOL! We have the same comment about practicing. It really does work!

0Feb 1, '13 by mandilee428It has been my experience that it's really more about science than math, but completion of Algebra I is a requirement for entrance to nursing school. If you don't feel confident in math, you should enroll in math classes at a community college, you will most likely have to take a placement test to see what your skill level is. Once you are taking a class, practice, practice, practice! Math is a skill and the only way to improve your math skills is to do as much drill work as you can. I was never good at math until I took a basic math class at my college; when I registered for the class I told myself that I was not going to rush through it and I was going to take the time to actually learn and retain things. I did that and got an A and I have much more confidence than ever before. Now I am taking Algebra and so far, so good. Best of luck to you getting into nursing school is tough but if you're determined and focused you should do fine!
Quote from dolphincatchIn the future, I hope to be a nurse but right now I'm finishing a nine month medical assistant program. The math is fairly easy because there's no algebra. One of my instructors is a doctor and he said I better become great at math otherwise there's no chance of me ever becoming a nurse. I'm great at anatomy/physiology, science, and anything not involving math. Whenver I'm being taught math, I just can't understand it no matter how many times people teach me. This makes me feel very sad because all my life, all I've ever wanted was to become a nurse but the reality is that if I don't become proficient then it will never happen. Does anyone have any advice for me? 
0Feb 1, '13 by TheCommuter, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorQuote from mandilee428I live in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. and at least half of the nursing programs around here do not require any math classes as a prerequisite or corequisite course. Of course, these are associate degree programs. My nursing program did not require the completion of Algebra I (or any math course for that matter).It has been my experience that it's really more about science than math, but completion of Algebra I is a requirement for entrance to nursing school.

0Feb 1, '13 by danielle5454Definitely!!!a lot of my classmates in nursing school confessed that they chose nursing school because they thought that math is not going to be a problem, however, they were wrong! But still, we all survived nursing school...all things can be learned for sure! One of my fears too, are math subjects, as I view it as one of my weakness, I am not good at numbers! but when I actually focused on math and took time to learn about it ( by myself..I read..I practice, I solve math problems on my own), I found out that it's actually an easy subject! You just have to put your heart in what you're doing for you to be good at it!If math is you weakness, make ways to strengthen it! study hard and ask help from other (tutor) good luck and hoping all the best for you!

0Feb 1, '13 by marycarneyJust because you are not 'good at math' NOW does not mean you never will be. You can learn anything you set your mind to learn.
Pretend for a minute you were 'not good at knitting'. What would happen if you spent an hour a day doing nothing but practicing your knitting? You'd get better, right?
What would happen if you honestly spent an hour per day working on your math skills?
PS Believe it or not, when I went to nursing school, there were NO CALCULATORS! Seriously  the first one I bought for my husband's Christmas gift cost $30 (and I was making $4/ hour as an LPN so it was a major investment. )