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Old 08-06-2006, 05:02 PM   #1
Gents82
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Math for ALS


BLS here with a question in regard to the math expectancies of a paramedic. I want to go to a paramedic program as prepared as possible to make the studies run a hair smoother so I'm thinking of taking a few math courses to help me prepare. I hear that paramedics use math for medicine calculations and such. Maybe more? I don't have a clue. Can anyone tell me what kind of math classes would be best to take? I'd greatly appreciate it.


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Old 08-06-2006, 08:17 PM   #2
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You need to know basic arithmetic. Being proficient at the basic algebra level might help a little but really isn't necessary.
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Old 08-06-2006, 08:23 PM   #3
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Know your fractions, that is important, for example, finding lowest common denominators, multiplying fractions, etc. Also, basic algebra is a good thing, because a lot of drug math is taking what you have and comparing it to what you need to figure out how much to give.
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Old 08-06-2006, 08:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rescuecpt
Know your fractions, that is important, for example, finding lowest common denominators, multiplying fractions, etc. Also, basic algebra is a good thing, because a lot of drug math is taking what you have and comparing it to what you need to figure out how much to give.
good point
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:20 PM   #5
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Most math for pharmacology is actually performed at a Algebra equation. For example to set a Dopamine drip one must first perform weight conversion, concentration mixture, then figure drip chamber to get drops per minute, then if they are really profient, number of micro drops per 15 seconds.

As my Paramedic professor always taught us, it does not matter how you get the equation, as long it is right every time... this is what you are putting in your patent's vein.. yes, a mess up can kill some one .

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Old 08-07-2006, 12:56 AM   #6
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Rids right as usual. I just want to make one last point. EMTs and others ask me about ems math all the time because they're afraid of it. To anyone reading this, please don't let your math anxiety forestall your aspiration of becoming a paramedic. The math we use isn't as hard as you think. If you can learn a couple of simple formulas and then plug in the numbers and do the arithmetic (add, subtract, multiply, and divide), you'll be fine. If your still worried about it, google it (ems math) and see for yourself. If your wondering what math classes to take as prerequisites, I would recommend having a good grasp of all the pre-algebra concepts. Although not necessary, if you have time, take a basic algebra class because overkill in this case couldn't hurt.
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Old 09-02-2006, 10:55 AM   #7
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Dopamine is simple -
dose (mcg) x weight(kg) x drip set (60gtts)
_____________________________________
Total concentration (1600mcg)

Total concentration pre-hospital is normally always 1600mcg as 400mg Dopamine in 250cc NSS = 1600mcg. Memorize!

Or be smarter yet and use a chart! All those conversions are essential for written tests but you dont have time to calculate all that in the field... keep it as intuitive and simple as possible.

Lidocaine is simpler yet - 1-4mg/min based on a clock using a 60gtts set.
15gtts - 1mg/min
30gtts - 2mg/min
45gtts - 3mg/min
60gtts - 4mg/min

Again, usually always 2g in 500cc which is 4mg/ml.

To many ppl want to make it harder then it has to be.
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Old 09-02-2006, 02:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ResTech View Post
Dopamine is simple -
dose (mcg) x weight(kg) x drip set (60gtts)
_____________________________________
Total concentration (1600mcg)

Total concentration pre-hospital is normally always 1600mcg as 400mg Dopamine in 250cc NSS = 1600mcg. Memorize!

Or be smarter yet and use a chart! All those conversions are essential for written tests but you dont have time to calculate all that in the field... keep it as intuitive and simple as possible.

Lidocaine is simpler yet - 1-4mg/min based on a clock using a 60gtts set.
15gtts - 1mg/min
30gtts - 2mg/min
45gtts - 3mg/min
60gtts - 4mg/min

Again, usually always 2g in 500cc which is 4mg/ml.

To many ppl want to make it harder then it has to be.
I agree... but the problem is NOT ALL CONCENTRATIONS ARE THE SAME... the above calculations is based upon local protocol concentrations. Many, do not use the 1600 mcg/ml concentrations Dopamine nor the 4mg/ml Lidocaine concentration... So do not presume or assume all medications are mixed alike... That is why having a fully and understandable math for pharmacology is essential for anyone allowed providing care using medications.

True, not harder just know how to perform the job ...
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Last edited by Ridryder911; 09-02-2006 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 06-09-2008, 02:53 PM   #9
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Question Medic Math

So math has never really been my forté ...and I am going on beyond Basic so I would like to know in the medic (and for an RNs out there) setting, what kind of math is involved and is it very difficult?

A calculator is the last thing I want to have strapped to my belt! Just kidding. I'm not really that bad but would like to know what kind of math I'm getting into.

Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:02 PM   #10
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Multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. basic algebra for drug doses. Conversion of weights and volumes and decimal conversion to fractions are essential. A calculator no but your field guide will help you out immensely.

Just one decimal point can mean the difference between life and death, between helping and hurting.
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