Does Nursing Involve Math?

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When it comes to math, it seems like most people either love it or hate it. You might fall under one of those two extremes, especially if you’re asking, “does nursing involve math?” Regardless of your opinion on math, you will need to use it regularly during nursing school and throughout your career as a nurse.

Whether you enjoy math or find it challenging, at Northeastern University, we’ll give you the support you need to get through the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Though the 16-month program is rigorous and involves some math skills, it allows you to start your nursing career quickly.

We’ll go over exactly how math relates to nursing, share the prerequisites and nursing courses that involve math, and list a few nursing specialties for the math fans.

Why Nurses Need Math Skills

Aside from knowing the math skills that make you a well-rounded student and individual, having a certain level of math skills needed for nursing will be crucial for your success in a nursing program and in your career. Most of the math you can expect to do in your day-to-day will likely be related to appropriate doses of medication for your patients. Doing these calculations is crucial, as it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

While this can sound intimidating, especially if math isn’t your strong suit, not to worry. Northeastern University’s ABSN program is designed to prepare you for success in your career.

Northeastern University ABSN students

Math Prerequisite Requirements

Almost all ABSN programs require at least one math prerequisite course. Northeastern is no exception. Along with all of our other prerequisite courses, we require all of our incoming students to have completed statistics with a grade of C or higher. Brushing up on your math skills before starting our rigorous program will help set you up for success in your more advanced coursework. And even though it’s not a prerequisite, be sure to review some basic algebra skills, as you will use them frequently.

Math in Your Nursing Curriculum

While you won’t see any math-specific courses in our nursing curriculum, you will do calculations related to specific nursing topics throughout your time in the program. While statistics may be unlike a lot of other math that you’ve done in the past, it’s relevant to nursing and healthcare research. Most of the other math you will be doing during your nursing curriculum will be algebra. Additionally, you may have to hone your problem-solving skills, as you’ll apply basic math principles to real-world, and sometimes complex, scenarios.

Even if math isn’t your strong suit, if you put in the time to practice and study, the math required in the curriculum should be manageable.

Math on the NCLEX

Once you’ve graduated and earned your BSN, you’re not quite done with being tested on your math skills. While math certainly isn’t a main focus on the NCLEX, you will likely have to do a few calculations while taking the exam. Don’t be too worried about it, though. Your coursework and study time will prepare you well for the exam.

Using Math in the Real World

Once you pass the NCLEX and become an RN, it’s time to start looking for a nursing career. While you will be using math daily in almost any specialty you choose, there are some specialties that are a little more math intensive. If you are a math lover, you may want to consider becoming a critical care nurse, nurse administrator, or a NICU nurse.

Critical Care Nurse

If you choose to be a critical care nurse, you will need to be quick-thinking and reliable, as this is one of the most demanding nursing positions involving math. Nurses in this field work with critically ill patients who face life-threatening problems. You’ll work closely with patients, assessing their condition, treating their wounds, monitoring medical equipment, and administering fluids and medications.

As the primary point of contact for your patients, you will need to calculate the correct dosages for medications, which are usually based off a patient’s weight. You’ll also need to convert measurements, which are generally based on the metric system. Some drugs are titrated, meaning the dosages vary based on ever-changing factors, such as glucose levels. Drug titration is typically only done by specially trained nurses, so be sure to pursue this path if you enjoy the math involved.

critical care nurse checking on patient in hospital bed

Nurse Administrator

For those who are interested in a managerial role, becoming a nurse administrator is a good choice. Nurse administrators have quite an array of duties. While you will still care for patients, you’ll have other responsibilities. Nurse administrators are in charge of ensuring successful communication with the staff, running team-building exercises, and managing the budget and schedule.

Budgeting is one of the behind-the-scenes aspects that is crucial to a successful hospital, clinic, or other healthcare organization. Nurse administrators oversee the budget, control costs, and report any important financial data. Nurses who enjoy accounting would be perfect in nursing administrator roles.

NICU Nurses

Neonatal ICU nurses have plenty of duties to keep them busy, and many of them involve math. They are charged with monitoring the conditions of infant patients, recording any changes, and administering any medicine the baby may need. Because some babies in the NICU may not even weigh a full pound, calculating the correct dosages of medication is crucial.

NICU nurses monitor every ounce of medication an infant receives, how much breast milk or formula they drink, and how much fluid they output. Because of the drastic differences in each baby’s weight, accurately calculate dosages can make a huge difference in a patient’s care.

Ready to Crunch Those Numbers?

Now that your question, “does nursing involve math,” has been answered, and you are aware of the math skills needed for nursing, it’s time to get started. Even if math isn’t your strong suit, the faculty at Northeastern University is here to help you hone those essential skills and prepare you to provide invaluable care to others. Contact our ABSN admissions counselors to begin your journey to a nursing career today.

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