Mastery of math skills plays an important role in most nursing programs.
Since this is the case, you may wonder how much math you need to know and if you can use calculators to carry out your work.
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about calculators and math for nursing.
Nurses can use calculators to ensure their calculations are correct. This is particularly true when calculating dosages for patients.
While there may not be calculators available at your hospital or clinic, you can carry and access your own calculator during your shifts. This will allow you to safeguard your patients and avoid dosage issues.
By using a calculator, you may cut down on mathematical errors, ensure greater precision with numbers and decimals and convert measurements with ease.
Additionally, advanced calculators may be extremely helpful with carrying out more complex equations, requiring multiple steps in advanced nursing studies and jobs.
Many students studying in nursing programs cannot use calculators while they are learning and training, under the rationale that calculators may not be available in hospitals and clinical settings.
Additionally, nursing schools may administer exams ensuring you can perform conversions and dose calculations by hand.
Even if you do end up using a calculator in your nursing career, it is advantageous to know how to do certain types of calculations yourself.
If there are any power or equipment failures while you are working, you may not be able to rely on your calculator.
Additionally, it is important to know what a reasonable result would look like theoretically even if you are using a calculator.
In this way, if your calculator’s result doesn’t appear to be accurate, you can recalculate.
You need to know how to properly calculate dosages and perform calculations related to patient care.
You should know how to do these equations, with and without a calculator.
If you do prefer to use a calculator, you should take great care to learn how to compute and read calculations properly.
Some studies show that nurses commonly make errors with math, by hand and on the calculator.
These mistakes can lead to severe consequences for patient health and safety.
Since this is the case, nurses also need to understand the fundamentals of math so that they can catch errors when they make them.
Read more: Do Nurses Take Work Home?
In most cases, nurses need to know basic arithmetic, algebra, and statistics.
They should know how to add, subtract, multiply, convert decimals and percentages, and do fractions and ratios.
As a nurse, you may use math nearly every day to measure and record vitals and patient information.
You may also calculate medicine doses, liquid intakes, and outputs, blood glucose levels, IV drip rates, and other important measures.
Nurses need to understand algebra to enroll in and complete nursing school.
In most cases, you will take algebra in high school and nursing school has a refresher course.
Algebra for nursing may focus more on algebraic expressions and polynomial fractions as these are commonly used in medication dosage and measurement conversions.
In most nursing programs, you do not need to take a calculus course.
However, you may need to take calculus in some nursing specializations if you pursue concentrations or higher degrees in nursing.
Usually, doctors and other advanced medical professionals need to take calculus courses because they determine rates of change, understand how medications metabolize, analyze medical images, and analyze how injuries may affect movements in the body, amongst other things.
Many potential students worry they will perform poorly in their math courses in nursing school.
Studying for most nursing positions involves prerequisites of high-school math and college-level math courses (algebra, statistics, or pre-calculus) for graduation.
Keep in mind that college-level math may be very different from a high-school experience.
Your professors, teaching assistants, and peer support groups may be more helpful than in your high school.
However, if you truly detest math but still wish to pursue a job in the medical field, you may consider becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
CNA study requires basic math prerequisites but does not require additional math while attending school.
What To Look For When Buying a Calculator for Nursing
You may wonder what to look for when browsing and selecting a calculator for your nursing program.
The most important aspect is to look for a scientific calculator.
Programs typically require you to have a non-programmable scientific calculator.
Your calculator should also have a large, easy-to-read screen.
In some cases, scientific calculators have dim or small screens which can cause misreadings.
Likewise, the buttons should be clearly marked and non-sensitive.
You do not want to press the wrong key or accidentally add extra digits when calculating.
Furthermore, your calculator should have excellent reviews indicating it is a reliable product.
If you’re looking for the best calculators for nursing, check out these top-rated calculators:
The Casio FX115ESPLUS2 may be the best choice for nursing students and nurses. With a large display, you can view up to 4 lines of equations.
You can backtrack through all your calculations to make sure they are accurate. You can even edit expressions and recalculate the answer.
It also has over 40 metric conversions which are perfect for converting any measurement.
One of the best features of Texas Instruments TI-30XS is that you can view fractions and decimals in different forms using a toggle key.
This is one of the common procedures you may do as a nursing student or nurse. It also has an easy-to-read screen and clear buttons.
You may know the Sharp brand well for maxing exceptional calculators, and the EL-531 WHBK is no exception.
With a two-line display, clear buttons, and an affordable price, it is easily one of the best calculators for nursing students and nurses alike.
Math doesn’t need to be the reason you do not pursue a career path you love and enjoy.
Pick up one of the best calculators for nursing, (We love the Casio FX115ESPLUS2!) and you’ll be smooth sailing through your math courses and any calculations you need to do on your shifts.