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08062006, 05:02 PM  #1 
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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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.

08062006, 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.

08062006, 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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I have 360 joules worth of 'bite me' slung over my shoulder and I say otherwise... 
08062006, 08:34 PM  #4  
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08062006, 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 . R/r 911
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08072006, 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 prealgebra concepts. Although not necessary, if you have time, take a basic algebra class because overkill in this case couldn't hurt.

09022006, 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 prehospital 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  14mg/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. 
09022006, 02:14 PM  #8  
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Quote:
True, not harder just know how to perform the job ...
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Knowledge is a powerful tool! R.N.,BSN, CCRN,CEN,CCEMT/P Last edited by Ridryder911; 09022006 at 02:16 PM. 

06092008, 02:53 PM  #9 
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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! 
06092008, 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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There is nothing wrong with Gallow's humor...unless your in front of a patients family. Last edited by mikeylikesit; 06092008 at 03:05 PM. 
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