# Dimensional Analysis for Meds

Pre-Nursing   (1,389 Views | 9 Replies)

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I've been browsing for some refreshers on Algebra to help with the shock of going to college after being out of school for 27 years and I came across this site about Dimensional Analysis.

It seems it is different than what I have seen so far. Anyone have any opinions on the subject. Is it a strong method or should I steer clear?

Jeff

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1,871 Posts; 22,946 Profile Views

I've been browsing for some refreshers on Algebra to help with the shock of going to college after being out of school for 27 years and I came across this site about Dimensional Analysis.

It seems it is different than what I have seen so far. Anyone have any opinions on the subject. Is it a strong method or should I steer clear?

Jeff

Dimensional analysis is used in Chemistry as a basis to convert or find moles, grams etc.

It's useful and accurate for solving med problems although its slower if you know short cuts.

Yes, its a strong method for many who need that step by step help with a high level of accuracy.

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LoriRNCM has 3 years experience as a ADN, ASN, RN and specializes in Hospice.

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I prefer the ratio proportion for solving med math problems but we have to know dimensional analysis for my nursing program. We haven't tested on it yet so I am dreading it. Math is not my strong suit but I got an A in my math for allied health class so somehow I got through dimensional analysis. I would advise you study it since my program insists on us using it.

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NICU Guy has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

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We were taught dimensional math during our Pharm. class. For me my brain works differently and dimensional math is slower than what I can do with shortcuts. For classmates that struggle with math, it is very good.

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ayla2004 has 5 years experience as a ASN, RN.

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oh i was taught this for college chemistry and call it cross multiply . i still use it for med calculations i found the nursing formula harder to use.

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We were taught dimensional math during our Pharm. class. For me my brain works differently and dimensional math is slower than what I can do with shortcuts. For classmates that struggle with math, it is very good.

Can you explain some of these shortcuts?

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Esme12 has 40 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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If anyone is struggling with dimensional analysis (or any math concepts really) Kahn academy has a lot of videos that go step by step and explain it. It really helped when I was taking Chem.

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I second the Khan Academy. It's a great website and they just revamped it starting with the Math section. They actually test you now to see areas where you need help and they suggest videos to watch if you're struggling. Or you can just search through the videos. Very helpful website!

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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I have many years of experience teaching new graduate nurses in orientation to jobs in the clinical setting. Based on that experience, I have a "so-so" opinion of dimensional analysis (DA). It works well for certain types of medication math problems, but not for others. I have found that people who know ONLY how to use DA often struggle to adapt to the real world of nursing because not every type of problem encountered in the real world is well-suited for DA. The people who use the "old fashioned" ratio/proportion approach tend to do better in the hospital because that approach works for all types of situations.

However, DA works well for the types of problems most nursing schools use on tests -- and some schools use that method exclusively. If you go to one of those schools, you will be at a disadvantage if you don't use DA.

So ... my recommendation to any student is to learn the method used by your school. That way, you will be using the method they use for teaching/testing and the resources you have there (teachers, books, etc.) will emphasize that method. However, if you go to a school that emphasizes DA, you should also learn the ratio/proportion method so that you will be able to use it later in real-life practice situations for which DA is not a good fit.