The Use of Mathematics in the Medical Field Essay

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The medical field is a very interesting career field. There are hundreds of different occupations within this field, including anything from saving a fragile newborn baby’s life to prescribing antibiotics to a relatively healthy adult. No two occupations are exactly alike, but each one is equally important. Although there are several job variations in medicine, they all have at least one thing in common. Every occupation within the medical field relies heavily on mathematics. Elementary mathematics, geometry and algebra are all obviously crucial to advancing in new technology, saving lives and curing diseases. However, most people do not realize the importance math has on simpler tasks performed every day by doctors, nurses, x-ray…show more content…
Similarly to doctors and pharmacists, nurses also rely on the metric system and are required to convert measurements quickly. Many nurses deal with this daily through calculating IV drip rates. Most IV bags contain one thousand cubic centimeters of fluid. A doctor may order his/her nurse to administer one thousand cubic centimeters every 8 hours. This may not seem too difficult, but in order to do this a nurse has to precisely calculate the drip rate of the machine so that the patient gets the required amount of medication in the time frame the doctor suggests. In contrast, a smaller bag of IV fluid may require instruction to give a patient five hundred milligrams every thirty minutes (Boyd). Before calculating the drip rate of the small bag, a nurse would have to convert the original cubic centimeters to milligrams. Just as important as conversions, ratios and proportions also play a huge role in the medical field. Nurses use ratios and proportions when giving medication based on their patient’s weight and height. A doctor may give the order 25 mcg/kg/min. If a patient weighs 114 pounds, how many milligrams of medication should he/she be given per hour? To figure this, his/her nurse would begin by changing micrograms into milligrams. If one microgram is equal to 0.001 milligrams, the nurse can find the amount of milligrams in twenty-five micrograms by setting up a
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