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Confusion on Rounding in Nursing Math. PLease Help!!!


Hi I have a question I am very confused with rounding in nursing math. Do you round to the tenths or to the hundreaths when the question doesn't tell you where to round. Please guys I really need some examples. Please, Please have been really struggling with this. Thank you all very much!!!

For instance: 16.88

Should the answer be 16.9 or 17. Thanks.


Specializes in LTC/Rehab,Med/Surg, OB/GYN, Ortho, Neuro.

This might sound generic, but ask your instructor(s) what they want you to round to. When I was in school, had 1 instructor that wanted them rounded to the tenth, and another that wanted rounded to the hundredth. Made tests difficult until we learned how they wanted it done.

Usually the question will tell u, or ask the instructor. In that problem u are rounding 2 the nearest tenth becuz there r only 2 numbers after the decimal point, if there were 3 numbers after the decimal u would b rounding to the nearest hundredth, so that answer is 17. Hope this helps

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

Your NS should have a set of rounding rules, and you should ask for them. Almost all the math you will do in NS will deal with drug calcuations, and those amounts need to be fairly precise because when you're giving drugs, being a fraction off can make a world of difference.

For example, my NS would make you round numbers to the nearest tenth if the number is greater 1 (so 16.88 would be 16.9). If the number was less than 1, then it would be rounded to the nearest hundreth (so 0.542 would be 0.54).

Consult with your nursing handbook which should have clear definitions on rounding. Also ask the instructor, as each one can be different. At my school we round all drop questions to the nearest whole number. (Obviously you can't administer a tenth of a drop etc.) Any mL is to the nearest tenth.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

You follow the same rules of math rounding. The only time it gets different is when you are dealing with things like IV drops and teaspoons of liquid medicines. Drops and teaspoons must be whole numbers. You can't give 1.2 drops or teaspoons of something. That makes no sense and just can't be done. Syringes have 0.1 mL markings on them as well, so answers such as 1.57 mL of a liquid to be given by syringe aren't very practical either. However, you really should discuss this with your instructors since they ultimately grade the answers you will be giving.

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