Nurses uses math in their everyday job in everything they do. They use math to calculate how much medicine to give, based on the dose and how much the patient needs. Nurses administer medications and each dosage much be customized to patient. Math formulas are used to determine how much to administer by IV drip, injection or other methods. Nurses use math to make sure the medication amount is appropriate and that patients do not receive too little or two much. Nurses give medications and each dosage must be the right amount for the patient. Math formulas are used to determine how much to give by IV, injection or other methods. Nurses use math to make sure the medication amount is correct and that patients do not receive too little or too much. A guess or is not good enough when someone’s life is on the line. Nurses are responsible for making sure that patients receive the right dosage of medicine they need. The physician’s order will generally require a dosage of medicine that the hospital’s pharmacy doesn’t bring.

That’s when the nurse comes and gives the patient the right dosage of medicine. Doctors must consider how long the medicine will stay in the patient’s body. This will determine how often the patient needs to take their medication in order to keep a sufficient amount of the medicine in the body. Nursing involves doing math calculations commonly used in the field. Nurses use math calculations to regulate fluids, convert measurements, and calculate drug dosages. While programs, pumps, and calculators actually do the math, nurses must be able to calculate without using them. These items may not always be available, such as in a natural disaster when there is no electricity. Most importantly, nurses must be able to do calculations without errors to ensure the safety of their patients. Concentrating on a few essential math skills allow nurses to be proficient. Physicians diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. They examine patients; take medical histories; prescribe medications; and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare. Physicians work in one or more of several specialties, including anesthesiology, family and general medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and surgery. When is math used? Doctors and nurses use math when they write prescriptions or administer medication. They also use math when doing things such as producing statistical graphs of epidemics or success rates of treatments. Numbers provide an abundance of information for medical professionals.

Knowing that doctors and nurses have been properly trained by studying mathematics and its uses for medicine reassures the public of the safety when visiting a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital. The required maths for nursing are college algebra, trigonometry, and calculus I and II. One of a nurse’s job is to measure and record a patient’s vital signs. Nurses use stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and a variety of thermometers, ranging from rectal thermometers to digital versions that are inserted in the ear. A stethoscope is an instrument used for listening to sounds produced by the body. Using a stethoscope, the listener can hear normal and abnormal respiratory, cardiac, pleural, arterial, venous, uterine, fetal and intestinal sounds while measuring how many beats per minute the heart is doing. A watch with a visible dial and second hand is also a valuable tool when checking a patient’s pulse. The old-school method of reading a pulse requires touching the radial pulse and counting the number of beats for a few seconds and with using this method a nurse must know how to read a watch and calculate the seconds or minutes that are used. A nurse must then calculate the heart beat per minute based on that number. A nurse sometimes administer injections or secure blood samples. This is when the syringes also known as needles come in. Lancets are used to make heel sticks or fingertip pricks to get few drops of blood for testing. Nurses may need to put catheters in bed-ridden or unconscious patients. Both doctors and nurses use math when providing care for patients at hospitals and clinics. Math is used when doctors and nurses write prescriptions and administer medicine. Numbers are used in statistics and graphs when giving out dosages for medicine to patients. An extended amount of math is required for this skill such as Linear Algebra, Statistics and Probability, along with addition math used in med school for all nurses and doctors.

A different dosage of medicine is needed for every prescription. While programs, pumps and calculators actually do the math, nurses must be able to calculate without using them. These items may not always be available, such as when there is no electricity. Nurses must be able to do calculations without errors to ensure the safety of patients. Concentrating on a few essential math skills allows nurses to be successful in giving the right amount of medicine to patient’s. Conversions are essential and nurses should know how to do them, particularly those involving the metric system. Metric is the measurement system used in medical settings. Nurses need to be able to convert from one system of measurement to another, such as from the metric system to the English system and vice versa. All of nursing math consists of a few basic skills. Nurses must be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide decimals, fractions and whole numbers. Other important basic math skills for nurses include converting decimals to percentages, percents to decimals, fractions as well as knowing how to solve ratio and proportion problems. Decimal placement is very important in drug dosage calculations. Wrong placement could result in an overdose 10 times the normal dosage. Understanding Roman numerals and knowing how to convert them to regular numbers is also essential. Nurses need to do dosage calculations when a drug is in tablets, but the order is in milligrams (mg). A drug could also be only available in a certain amount, but ordered in a different one. The nurse must be able to calculate the right amount to give to the patient in this case, four tablets. Sometimes nurses must calculate drug dosages according to body weight when administering medication to children. Nurses need a solid understanding of basic math concepts in order to safely calculate medication dosages before administering medicine to their patients. In many cases, nurses are also responsible for instructing patients and their families on how to measure medications that will be taken at home. Whether calculating medication dosages and IV infusion drip rates, measuring intake and output of fluids or converting weights to metric units, a nurse must demonstrate the ability to use algebraic concepts.

These concepts include knowledge of ratios, proportions and percents. A broad understanding of the metric system is also needed to calculate the correct amount of medicine to give a patient. To calculate the correct dose of medication, a nurse must consider both the prescribed dosage and drug label information. Correctly calculating dosage strengths is necessary when orally administering tablets, capsules or liquid medications. It’s also needed when administering medications by injection. Giving a patient too little medication usually proves to be ineffective. Administering too much medication can make the patient suffer an overdose. When it comes to administering medications, flow rates, infusion times and infusion volumes must all be considered. Calculation of infusion rates is based on the concentration of a specific drug and volume per unit of time or body weight per unit of time. A nurse may choose to use the ratio and proportion method of calculation or the formula method when calculating the proper dose of a drug to be administered at one time. Dimensional analysis is another calculation method that some nurses find easier to use. The equation is set up beginning with the known factor the dosage of medication to be administered written as a fraction.

Multiply this number by the conversion factor, the number of milligrams contained in each tablet, capsule or milliliter of liquid medicine. This number, too, must be expressed in the form of a fraction. Once the formula is set up, cancel out and reduce any numerators and denominators that can be canceled out and reduced. Multiply any remaining fractions. Divide to get final answer. The answer equals the number of tablets, capsules or milliliters of liquid medication that should be given to the patient. While the equations may be more complex, this same formula format can be used to calculate correct dosages for intramuscular and subcutaneous injections. It’s also helpful for intravenous flow rates. When using the dimensional analysis method, all problems are set up and solved in the same way. Safety concerns, including a nurse’s proven competency in administering the proper dosages of medication, remain a key issue in preventing medication errors. For this reason, it is important for a nurse to have strong math skills in multiple areas. A patient’s weight must be converted to kilograms. Drug doses are often measured in milligrams of medicine to be given per kilogram of body weight. Basing drug dosages on body weight is usually a special concern for pediatric and geriatric patients. Adult dosages are rounded to the nearest tenth, but pediatric dosages are rounded to the nearest hundredth. Other common conversions involve the concentration or strength of a medication. This is based on the number of milligrams per milliliter of the drug. Sometimes the dosage of a drug prescribed by a doctor does not exactly match the amount of the drug contained in one pill or a standard liquid measure. In these cases, the pharmacy technician must perform precise calculations so he can tell patients how to make sure they take the proper dosage.

Pharmacy technician math calculations are simple to understand when you know the elements of the equations. Regardless of the hospital the nurse decides to be employed, he or she must handle inventory of some sort. Hospital floor nurses who are accountable for major patient care also handle the inventory of their patients’ medicines. Operating room nurse practitioners are accountable for inventory of working room supplies, and wound treatment nurses are accountable for stock of wound care items. The math necessary in these situations is comparable to that of fundamental accounting. It’s not possible for a nurse not to use math everyday. Certain drugs are titrated, meaning that the dose varies according to parameters set by the physician or protocol. In the intensive care unit, a patient may need a varying amount of intravenous drug that is calculated by factoring in his or her urinary output per hour. For example, insulin may be titrated depending on the patient’s ever changing blood glucose reading. Drug titration requires the nurses full concentration on mathematical skills and is often limited to nurses with special training or experience. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness.

BMI can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems but it is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual. In terms of medicine and health, a person’s Body Mass Index is a useful measure. Your BMI is equal to your weight in pounds, times 704.7, divided by the square of your height in inches. This method is not always accurate for people with very high muscle mass because the weight of muscle is greater than the weight of fat. In this case, the calculated BMI measurement may be misleading. There are special machines that find a person’s BMI. An IV drip rate is defined as the rate of application of a liquid drug required to provide a certain dosage per minute. If you know the solution concentration, you can easily calculate how many ml of the drug should you provide every minute. The flow rate is very similar to the drip rate. Large bags of IV fluids contain 1,000 cc or cubic centimeters, also known as milliliters. An order may read “Give 1000 cc every 8 hours,” necessitating a calculation of the proper drip rate. A small bag of antibiotic medicine may have an instruction to give”Give 500mg over 30 minutes .” When IV medicine must be given without an electric pump, the nurse must calculate the correct number of drops per minute to administer. Regularly, doctors write prescriptions to their patients for various ailments. Prescriptions indicate a specific medication and dosage amount. Most medications have guidelines for dosage amounts in milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg). Doctors need to figure out how many milligrams of medication each patient will need, depending on their weight. If the weight of a patient is only known in pounds, doctors need to convert that measurement to kilograms and then find the amount of milligrams for the prescription. There is a very big difference between mg/kg and mg/lbs, so it is imperative that doctors understand how to accurately convert weight measurements. Doctors must also determine how long a prescription will last. For example, if a patient needs to take their medication, say one pill, three times a day.

Then one month of pills is approximately 90 pills. However, most patients prefer two or three month prescriptions for convenience and insurance purposes. Doctors must be able to do these calculations mentally with speed and accuracy. Doctors must also consider how long the medicine will stay in the patient’s body. This will determine how often the patient needs to take their medication in order to keep a sufficient amount of the medicine in the body. For example, a patient takes a pill in the morning that has 50mg of a particular medicine. When the patient wakes up the next day, their body has washed out 40% of the medication. This means that 20mg have been washed out and only 30mg remain in the body. The patient continues to take their 50mg pill each morning. This means that on the morning of day two, the patient has the 30mg left over from day one, as well as another 50mg from the morning of day two, which is a total of 80mg. As this continues, doctors must determine how often a patient needs to take their medication, and for how long, in order to keep enough medicine in the patient’s body to work effectively, but without overdosing.

The amount of medicine in the body after taking a medication decreases by a certain percentage in a certain time (perhaps 10% each hour, for example). This percentage decrease can be expressed as a rational number, 1/10. Hence in each hour, if the amount at the end of the hour decreases by 1/10 then the amount remaining is 9/10 of the amount at the beginning of the hour. This constant rational decrease creates a geometric sequence. So, if a patient takes a pill that has 200mg of a certain drug, the decrease of medication in their body each hour can be seen in the following table. The Start column contains the number of mg of the drug remaining in the system at the start of the hour and the End column contains the number of mg of the drug remaining in the system at the end of the hour.

1 200 9/10 x 200 = 180

2 180 9/10 x 180 = 162

3 162 9/10 x 162 = 145.8

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Works Cited

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