Why Is Math Important to Nursing?

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Students obtaining their nursing degree are required to be proficient in math to ensure safe administration of medications and intravenous fluids to patients.

Common Measurement Systems

  • There are three common measurement systems used in health care--metric, household, and apothecary systems. Nurses must be able to convert each of these systems to the other for proper medication administration through several methods. Desired dosage is a prescribed dose, and is calculated according to the available dose, volume and quantity.

Oral Dosages

  • Oral dosages can be administered in solid or liquid and are typically calculated in milligrams or milliliters.

Injectable Dosages

  • Injectable dosages are commonly administered through a syringe in fluid or liquid, and are also typically calculated in milligrams or milliliters.

Intravenous Dosages

  • Intravenous dosages are administered electronically or manually in patients. These require calculating flow rates, duration, drip rates, and volume of dosage.

Body Surface Area Dosages

  • Topical medications are administered on patients, and dosages are calculated for the height and weight of a patient.

Multiple Mathemathical Calculations

  • All medical dosages require several different mathematical calculations and can include using basic math, fractions, ratios and several different measurement systems. These calculations are used by nurses on a daily basis.

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