Nurses General Nursing

Published Feb 3, 2005

Hi!

I was registered for AP2 this semester. I dropped it because I was having second thoughts about myself being able to make it as a nurse.

Science and math are not my strong suits but I could make it through the science but struggle badly with math.

How much math do you actually use in nursing. I really want to become a nurse but this whole math thing is really brothering me.

My professor this semester explained everything in terms of numbers and math equations. I think that he thought that it was a chem class and not AP.

My professor from AP1 never discussed math when he taught the material.

Thanks

Tracy in NY

CritterLover, BSN, RN

929 Posts

most of the math is in drug calculations, which ranges from fairly simple arithmatic to basic algebra. if i remember right, once i got through the pre-reqs, the only math-related questions on any of my tests were for drug calculations, and maybe some height/weight conversions between pounds/kg and inches/cm. there is also some math involved with hemodynamic calculations, but i have never had to calculate that out myself.

in the real nursing world, i rarely have to do any calculations. pharmacy does the drug calculations for us, our iv pumps will do drip rate calculations, our charting program has a ht/wt converter, and our monitors will do the advanced hemodynamic equations for us.

however, it is very important that you are comfortable doing drug calculations yourself. at some point, you will probably find youself in a situation where a pharmacist is not readily available to do the calcualtion for you, and you need to be able to do it yourself.

i don't think that the routine stuff is that hard, but then i'm pretty good at math. here is an example that happened to me: say you have an order for 55 mg solumedrol. the solumedrol vial you have is 125 mg in 1 ml. how many mls do you draw up? (0.44 mls) that is a relatively hard exmaple. most of the time its more along the lines of wanting to give 25 mg and having a vial of 50mg (give half), something you can do in your head without a calculator.

toadsoak

2 Posts

You shouldn't give up. You can do this. Get the book called Dosage Calculations and study the metric system. You must know it by heart. My nursing school did not offer a class for dosage calc. It was a self study. First semster you had to get a 75 to pass the math, 2nd was 80, 3rd was 85 and the 4th 90%.

tridil2000, MSN, RN

657 Posts

Hi!I was registered for AP2 this semester. I dropped it because I was having second thoughts about myself being able to make it as a nurse.Science and math are not my strong suits but I could make it through the science but struggle badly with math.How much math do you actually use in nursing. I really want to become a nurse but this whole math thing is really brothering me.My professor this semester explained everything in terms of numbers and math equations. I think that he thought that it was a chem class and not AP.My professor from AP1 never discussed math when he taught the material.i think you need about 9th grade level math to do most nursing calculations.

i think you need about 9th grade level math to do most nursing calculations.

geekgolightly, BSN, RN

866 Posts

i'm math blocked (issues with my father, i think, who studied math at berkeley) and i can do the calculations. just do them over and over. once you "see" it you'll never forget it. the drug calcs are easy-peasy to me now. i was seriously concerned before beginning the ADN program.

im going to get my BSN and i am frightened of algebra/statistics. i married a math/programming geek (again with the father issues i think , but my husband is nice :kiss ) who promises to hold my hand during these courses so here's hoping to another dream of mine.

balladin

Omg, i'm taking nursing math too, honestly its not as bad as i thought it would be, but with practice you should be fine, just keep working at it and get all the help you can! Ask alot of questions, team up with classmates to form study groups - this definately works for me.

RachieH

30 Posts

I'm in the nursing math right now...and after 15 years out of school, the first two weeks were really tough, but then I got tutoring, which has made the difference, I think, b/w a C and the A I'm going to make. Tutors rock!

santhony44, MSN, RN, NP

1,703 Posts

I'm math-phobic and my brain doesn't work in numbers.

However, the math you use in nursing has meaning and immediate applicability and I learned to do what I need to do for drug calculations etc.

My original degree was in English with a minor in Psychology. I really wanted to double major but Psych majors had to take statistics and I was afraid to try.

Some years later, I started back for my BSN and had to have statistics.

I took it through a psychology department and, much to my surprise, it made sense to me! I could understand working out a formula that came up with a number that stood for something real, like the numbers of people in a study. I had been out of college 9 years and had to work at it but I got an "A"!

If a math-a-phobe like me can learn what's necessary, you can too!!

(I still don't like math, still don't think in numbers, and still think Algebra is meaningless. My husband has a math degree and argues that but it's still meaningless to me).

Good luck. You can do it!

your husband has a math degree! (oh the irony) opposites do attract! lol

beck_79

57 Posts

I also worried about my ability in math and science with nursing. Math has always been my worse subject. I've always done well in science until it got into the math stuff. I'm borderline "discalculia" (a form of dyslexia in math) I'm a prenursing student right now, and decided to "test the waters" by taking a chemistry course. I figured that a college level chemistry course would determine if I could handle it or not. And I'm actually doing very well- pulling a straight A. But I'm also working very very hard to do this. I study every night, do all the problems in the chapter, plus extra problems from a chemistry help book that I have. It might be a little overkill, but so far it has been working. :)

Over the summer I reviewed the very basics, since I was freaked out about the course. I hadn't taken a real math or science course since high school almost 10 years ago, and I never did very well. (I don't count the math and science I took in art college as a real courses, lol) First I used a Basic Math and Pre-Algebra review book (there are quite a few good ones. I used the one from Cliffs. Love them!) That was a huge help. I couldn't believe how much I had forgotten. Then I used a Chemistry review book, doing the first few chapters so I would have a jump start on understanding the math in chemistry. Another big help.

It's taken lots of review and work, but I'll be able to handle it. For me, the key was all of the reviewing I did over the summer. Also, doing lots of practice problems help keep me from falling behind.If I can do it, so can you. :) I think some community colleges have math courses specifically geared towards nursing students. A few in my area do, and I'm tempted to take one.

angelcharm

62 Posts

i wouldnt be dropping it without trying..

its basic and simple mathematics when ur really working...

although the problem solving examples that profs give are a little confusing.

but im sure you can get over it.

AfloydRN, BSN, RN

341 Posts

I can totally relate. I was always strong @ sciences, but sucked @ math. I found great tutors and spent alot of time in the lab. Basically, after 11 years of nursing it's all done on the pump with a calculator as my second check. Always have a second RN validate your math. Trust me, you can do it.

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