Unfair Math Policy  page 2
:angryfire I need to vent! Our Program has been Honored by our State for success because we have had a 99% pass rate for 6 years now. Our school is very hard to get into. You must have a 3.5 GPA or... Read More

Feb 21, '05i agree that its a little unfair. i dont think its unfair to have to score 100% on the test, but i do think its unfair not to be able to use a calculator. when in this world are you ever going to do the math without a calculator, and then just go ahead and give the meds? i know that i will always be checking my math with a calculator. it also seems a little unfair that she had to repeat every class for doing badly on the math test...will sitting through EVERYTHING again really improve any math skills? i agree that on the first day she could have been given the opportunity to retake the test using a calculator and possibly move on then instead of waiting a whole semester.

Feb 21, '05Quote from hangnonharsh. how many people have you lost d/t this?we are given 1 chance to pass and it has to be at 100%. i agree with other posters, a math error is a med error and it's too important to let slide. we of course are allowed to use calculators for our tests, just as we would in a clinical setting. my only advice is check, check and check your calculations again and again!

Feb 21, '05Quote from moonbunnieAgreed, she got a raw deal.i agree that its a little unfair. i dont think its unfair to have to score 100% on the test, but i do think its unfair not to be able to use a calculator. when in this world are you ever going to do the math without a calculator, and then just go ahead and give the meds? i know that i will always be checking my math with a calculator. it also seems a little unfair that she had to repeat every class for doing badly on the math test...will sitting through EVERYTHING again really improve any math skills? i agree that on the first day she could have been given the opportunity to retake the test using a calculator and possibly move on then instead of waiting a whole semester.

Feb 21, '05Quote from moonbunnieSorry, but I disagree.i agree that its a little unfair. i dont think its unfair to have to score 100% on the test, but i do think its unfair not to be able to use a calculator. when in this world are you ever going to do the math without a calculator, and then just go ahead and give the meds? i know that i will always be checking my math with a calculator.
Calculators should be used to check your work, after you have done it by hand.
If you cannot do the math required of Nurses without a calculator, then you have no business being passed on math. The math required of us is not that difficult.
And if you think that you will always have a calculator nearby, you are going to be sadly disappointed by the real world.
There are also calculations that all of us are expected to know "on the spot". Sad, and scary but true. About the time your patient is coding, and you need to set up a dopamine or nitro drip, while pushing drugs and starting an IV line, you will recognize this skill as necessary.
It would be lovely to always have a calculator handy, and IV pumps that tabulate everything for you, but they are merely props and only as good as the operator.
You need to be able to do the math....not operate a calculator. And nursing school is the place to do it.
Personaaly, I believe that the school should have stuck with the original "no calculator" policy. I work with too many nurses that have poor math skills...and, no, they rarely have a calculator with them. 
Feb 21, '05In my nursing school there were 900 applicants for 100 spots. We have to have at least a GPA of 2.5 but the lowest GPA accepted was a 3.7. Each semester we have to take a math test also. We have to get a 90% to pass. We get 3 chances to take it. If we don't pass by the third time, we have to drop out of the class and take it the next semester and try again. It's just how things work. If you knew the policy of your nursing school and didn't pass it by the third time, you should have been really making sure on the 4th time to check and recheck your math knowing that was the reason that you weren't passing. I think it is so unfair that you did not get to use calculators. But I don't think the math is hard enough to really require a calculator but at least you would have been able to check your work. At least you passed it this time with a 100%. That shows that you know what you're doing.

Feb 21, '05I absolutely agree that nurses should know how to do calculations, and I agree that there should be strict rules for passing calculation tests with a 100%. I think you should be required to show your calculation set up, to show that you understand the concept.
I don't agree that a nurse shouldn't depend on a calculator. If I'm doing 2 place long division and/or figuring infusion rates to the second decimal place, I absolutely WILL NOT trust my answer and will ALWAYS figure it on a calculator. The margin for error is too great, and as has been said already, an error can kill a pt. I do trust myself that I know how to set the calculation up right, and divide and multiply in the right places. A nurse WILL have to know how to set the calculation up.
Caroladybelle, I must respectfully disagree that "you will be sadly disappointed by the real world" when you think that there will always be a calculator around. That's absolutely not the case. If your unit doesn't have one lying around, bring your own. Calculators are so ridiculously cheap that everyone can and should have one. 
Feb 21, '05Quote from mariedoreenWe usually have about 510 math Q's on our quarter finals. Not sure how many students we've lost actually due to those or just plain failing the class.Harsh. How many people have you lost d/t this?
I agree you should always have a calculator. They are cheap and easy to carry in your pocket, but they do you absolutely no good if you can't set up the calculation right to begin with. 
Feb 21, '05Quote from caroladybelleThere are also calculations that all of us are expected to know "on the spot". Sad, and scary but true. About the time your patient is coding, and you need to set up a dopamine or nitro drip, while pushing drugs and starting an IV line, you will recognize this skill as necessary.
Thank you, excellent point that as a student had not yet occurred to me. I get it now. 
Feb 21, '05well, i personally plan to have a few dollar store calculators at home, and stick one in my pocket on my way to work everyday, the way i do with my name tag and pen. and if my patient is coding, i will not only probably be able to do the work faster with a calculator, but i will be more confident that i am giving the right dose. i do know how to do the math, and i am sure i COULD do all of it without a calculator, but i would have to either write it out on paper, taking longer, or do it in my head, where i would not always be confident that i didnt make any mistakes. i think calculators are just one of the many ways that technology has changed, and there is no reason to go back to the stone age and not use them.

Feb 24, '05We had to pass ours 100%. Our GPA requirement is 3.5, but they only take the highest 80 they get out of alll the applicants [over 1000] so everyone has at least a 3.7 or 3.8 to get in. It sucks, but it can be done.

Feb 24, '05Quote from *PICURN*Our school allows you as many chances as it takes to pass the test (97%) by the end of the semester. As they explained it  they're not trying to fail us, they're trying to get us to excel. And we're allowed to use the calculator that comes on Windows.I am suprised you get 5 chances....I have never heard of a school offering that many attempts....and our school has NEVER allowed calculators (which doesn't really make sense because in the real world you WILL have access to calculators even if you don't have a coworker available)