Why Is Math Important to Nursing?


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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