Math skills are a basic requirement for nurses to offer perfect clinical service to their clients. In nursing, the ability to solve problems encountered while on duty is imparted by competency in arithmetic computations while addressing the patients’ needs (Wendel 19). Safety in the process of giving medical treatments against illnesses is a critical factor for consideration by nurses as healthcare professionals. Thus, calculations involving metrics and conversion of units of measurements should be mastered by nurses while quantifying doses for patients (Boyer 9). Nursing numeracy is not only instrumental in determining the right dose for administration but also useful in balancing body fluids, nutritional requirements, and calculating patients’ body mass index (Wendel 19). This paper discusses mathematics in nursing with a focus on basic arithmetic skills, their applications, and their significance in healthcare practices.
The math skills commonly applied in nursing encompass basic arithmetic for computing drug dosages. The labels on bottles and sachets from drug manufacturers usually have indications of ingredients expressed as a proportion of the other. The measurement of the medicine components is expressed as percentages, fractions, or decimal values of the drug formulation (Boyer 10). Obtaining the exact quantity of medicine to administer in treating a patient is always a problem for nursing practitioners to solve. Mathematical concepts involving calculation using fractions, decimals, and algebraic expressions are instrumental in determining the right dosage (Wendel 10). Therefore, it is a requirement for nurses to understand basic math skills involving ratios and proportions for patients’ safety during treatment.
Nursing practice requires knowledge of the measurement systems for quantifying parameters while taking care of patients. Metric, apothecary, and household are the systems utilized as units of quantifying substances. The metric system is frequently used for prescribing drugs because of the level of accuracy achieved with it as compared to household and apothecary (Boyer 101). It is recognized all over the world and referred to as the International System of Units (SI Units). The measurements are in proportions expressed as decimals in the multiples of ten. Its major units of quantification are volume, length, and weight expressed as liter, meter, and gram, respectively. Nursing practitioners apply the metric system in determining the number of drugs, fluids, and body mass indices while treating and monitoring the healing progress of patients (Boyer 104). Thus, an in-depth understanding of the systems of measurement is a basic skill that nurses engaged in clinical care should master.
Math skills are essential for the interpretation of information about drugs on the packages. A nursing practitioner should be able to accurately read the drug label and interpret key mathematical information presented therein. The basic constituents of labels on the packaging material are drug name, the dosage which includes the strength of active medicinal components, formulation, precautions, and route of administration. Meeting the desired outcome of treatment necessitates that a nurse is competent in interpreting the prescription guidelines (Robabi et al. 227). Most labels indicate the quantity of medicine to be administered for the specific category of individuals according to age group. Calculating doses for various routes of administration follows formulas that involve arithmetic computations while determining the correct quantity of drug to be given at a time (Boyer 149). Thus, math skills in nursing practice are essential for ensuring proper drug administration.
Math skills in nursing enhance the positive outcome of treatments given to patients during clinical care. Medication is associated with two possible impacts on the health status of an individual, which are alleviating the clinical symptoms or inducing adverse reactions. Healing progress is associated with the administration of the correct dose of the drug which is effective in eliminating the symptoms and their causes (Galligan et al. 2017). On the other hand, under-or overdosing bears negative treatment outcomes which can claim the life of a patient. The outcome of medication, either positive or negative, depends on the ability of nursing practitioners to compute the right dose for a given health condition. Proper use of numbers diminishes the chances of malpractices in the healthcare system, making nurses properly understand measurement scales on equipment in the hospital. As a result, a good mastery of tools and efficiency is achieved through competencies in numeracy (Wendel 10). Thus, proper clinical practice for better results from the healthcare services necessitates high proficiency in mathematics by nursing practitioners.
In a nutshell, math and nursing are disciplines that bear a significant output on the healthcare system. The skills obtained from mathematics are instrumental for nursing practitioners in giving the correct doses of drugs. It depends on the ability of personnel to accurately quantify medicine. Moreover, proficiency in mathematics allows nurses to read and calibrate medical equipment, thereby, eliminating error and tragedy in the hospital. In the nursing profession, basic math skills are essential for practitioners to successfully perform their duties. It entails operating with whole numbers, ratios, and proportions to quantify dosage from the prescriptions given by the manufacturer. Interpretation of information given in the labels also depends on the ability of nurses to apply the concept of ratios and proportions in mathematics. Thus, math is a discipline essential for all nursing practitioners to master for perfect work output in the healthcare system.
Boyer, Mary. Math for Nurses: A Pocket Guide to Dosage Calculation and Drug Preparation. Wolters Kluwer Health, 2020.
Galligan, Linda, et al. “Nursing Students’ Readiness for the Numeracy Needs of their Program: Students’ Perspective.” Adults Learning Mathematics: An International Journal, vol. 12, no. 1, 2017, pp. 27-38.
Robabi, Hassan, et al. “Drug Calculation Skills in Nursing Students of Zahedan University of Medical Sciences.” Drug Invention Today, vol. 12, no. 2, 2019, pp. 227-230.
Wendel, Anna. An Exploration of the Numeracy Skills Required for Safe, Quality Nursing Practice. Dissertation, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2020.