Most people dread math and are not good at it. I am one of those people. In high school, I remember being required to take Geometry and Algebra I & II and I hated it with a passion. I was always struggling to get a good grade. So I was really nervous about the math I would be required to take in nursing school.
In this article, I am going to talk about the type of math you may encounter in nursing school. If you would like to watch a video with me talking about the math in nursing school, here is a video:
Math in Nursing School
Most nursing programs require students to take a pre-requisite math course known as Probability and Statistics or something of the equivalent. I had to take this course before I entered into the nursing program. I was very much dreading it, but it was nothing like the other types of math classes I have encountered in the past. It was mainly analyzing statistics and probability of outcomes.
You mainly had to know how to read graphs, add, multiple, divide, and subtract (of course you could use a calculator). If you have to take this class I really recommend you select a professor with a good reputation because if you have a bad teacher you will probably get a bad grade. I advise you ask other students who have already taken the class or visit the website RateMyProfessors.com and see what other students are saying about them. It is an excellent website!
The next time I encountered math in nursing school was when I had to take an entrance nursing school exam called the HESI A2. This exam tested my knowledge on conversions, fractions, and math word problems. If my memory serves me correctly it did not have algebra on it. Later on in nursing school, I was required to learn dosage and calculation of drugs.
Again, this just required me to know how to read a problem and extract the information I needed in order to calculate how much of a drug I would administer to a patient. Then to solve the problem you just had to add, multiple, divide or subtract. It is very easy once you learn the way of solving the problems.
Dosage and Calculation Problems in Nursing School
Drug problems in nursing school are complicated at first because you feel overwhelmed with having to learn the metric table. When I say metric table I am talking about converting kilograms (kg) to grams (G) or micrograms (mcg) to milligrams (mg) and so on. I found that the best way to learn how to solve these problems is using a method called dimensional analysis. It takes time to learn how to read the problems and extract what information you need to learn how to solve the problem. Practicing problems over and over are the key to being successful with these problems.
Later on I plan on creating a video series on how to solve dosage and calculation problems. If you would like to practice these problems here are some free dosage and calculation quizzes.
Should I not go to Nursing School since I am bad at Math?
I get this question a lot! My response is no way! The math is nursing school is so basic that it should never hold anyone back from pursuing a nursing career. So definitely don’t let math hold you back from pursuing your dream of being a nurse!