Was anyone else terrible at math? Dosages?

  1. Hi all,

    I am soooo interested in a health career but the only thing holding me back is my lack of aptitude in math. Was anyone else terrible at math, but somehow managed to learn dosage calcs? Whenever I see a math problem, especially a word problem, my brain immediately freezes up! I can do simple math fine, but I was looking at some example dosage problems and was immediately terrified.

    If you were poor in math, did you find yourself struggling through you ADN or LPN program, or did math start to become natural to you after a while? Did you take a dosage prep course? Did it help?

    Math, eeek!!


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    Joined: Oct '07; Posts: 64; Likes: 6
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  3. by   SuesquatchRN
    Rhonda, "math" is an overstaement of what you need as a nurse. You need arithmetic. Really.

    Word problem:

    Mary has been prescribed 650 mg of Tlenol. You have 325 mg on hand. How may pills will Mary get?

    Mary has been prescribed 500 mg of Tylenol. You have 1 gm pills on hand. How many will Mary get?

    See? Know your measurements - grams, ounces, etc - and simple arithmetic.

  4. by   ohmeowzer RN
    nursing math is easy. i had math phobia but did very well in nursing school. it's easy .. you can do it
  5. by   Esther2007
    I used to hear alot of horror stories about the dosage calculation test. After taking the dosage calculation exam last year, I realized a six grader could have pass the test. The drug calculation is basically adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying. Nothing too difficult for anyone who completed high school. I think most people failed because of anxiety. I passed with a 98%, and I lost two points because I misread one question. After, I got my result, I knew the answer before the instructor went over the result.
  6. by   Heatherp77
    Wow this post made me SO happy! I'm about to start nursing school and I am TERRIBLE at math!
  7. by   TheCommuter
    I was terribly weak at math during my growing-up years (and I still am).

    However, I know enough to safely administer medications to my patients, and that's what is important.
  8. by   ebear
    I SUCK at math too, but nursing math is not at all difficult. You will be taught the formulas early on and will be using metric. Don't be afraid of it! You'll be fine,girl! Just basic memorization and arithmetic.
  9. by   traumaRUs
    When I went back to school for my BSN, I had to take two algebra classes. My teacher thought I was the dumbest thing in the world - kept asking me if I was SURE I was an RN??? (I think I scared him - lol).

    However, I can honestly say I am very dense when it comes to math knowledge. Like above posters said, however, it is very basic. You know what you have on hand and then you use ratio and proportion to figure out the rest. I have always used a calculator and have always always always double checked myself. I also make it a rule that if the dosage ordered seems like a large amount: ie more than I have every given, I double check it again with someone else.

    That said, yes, I've made med errors too. However, none have been related to my math skills.

    Good luck - you will do fine.
  10. by   Lorie P.
    Nursing math is the basics, I was horrible at math years ago, still am.
    But I made an A in dosage calculations. You will get a review on basic math then buld from there. Once you are given the formulas it will all come together.
  11. by   dawn30
    I too was terrible at math my whole life. Dosage calcs scared me to death. I was so scared that when I started the class, I psyched myself out so much that I failed the first few tests!! So I bought the book dosage calculations made incredibly easy from the nursing made incredibly easy series. I sat at home and used that book every night and did my home work with it and it helped more than I could have imagined. After reading the book, the formula just clicked in my head and I realized how easy this math was. Don't psych yourself out. If I can do math... anyone can!
  12. by   DTCC PreRN
    I thought I sucked at math too but later realized I really wasn't stupid. It was my learning style. Once I had a teacher who taught according to my learning style, I began to love "math".

    Take a look at "Math for Meds" on Amazon.com. I recently bought it b/c I've heard the horror stories about dosages etc. I LOVE this book.
  13. by   swee2000
    Quote from DTCC PreRN
    Take a look at "Math for Meds" on Amazon.com. I recently bought it b/c I've heard the horror stories about dosages etc. I LOVE this book.
    This is the same book I used for my pharmecology course in nursing school.
  14. by   SuesquatchRN
    Now, you're going to get word questions like,

    Mary has been prescribed 1000 mg of Tylenol QID PO. Her b/p is stable. She is also on NS 0.9% and Cardizem for her a-fib. You have 0.5 g Tylenol tabs. How many Tylenol does she get?

    See? Two Tylenol. Filter out the stuff that is there specifically to confuse you.