Why Do Nurses Need Math?
by Marijke Durning @ Jul 30, 2010
I keep hearing about math being an important part of nursing school. A few questions: Is this true? And why? After all, what does math have to do with nursing? Do even LPNs need math? My math marks are terrible. Ginnie
Hi Ginnie, thanks for your question.
Although basic arithmetic is used most in nursing, math skills are an important part of nursing for several reasons. Nurses, both registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) must be able to correctly complete tasks such as calculating and adjusting intravenous (IV) drips. Most facilities in the United States have machines that will adjust IV flow, but machines break down, arenât always available, and may not be practical in all situations.
Nurses must also be able to convert and calculate dosages. Sometimes medication orders are written as a certain amount of drug given per pound or kilogram of patient weight. Most of a nurseâs exposure to math needs to be done quickly. Calculators help the number accuracy, but nurses still need to know how to apply the math. They need to understand ratios, percentages, and various other functions.
If math is not your strong point, you could take extra math courses or, perhaps, work with a tutor to get your math ability up to the level needed to get into a nursing program.