All students in nursing programs will gain the mathematical knowledge, skills, and attitudes to promote and provide safe, high-quality health care.
Mathematical competency and effective quantitative reasoning skills are essential for safe nursing practice, both in medication administration and in quality improvement. However, research on mathematics education of nurses identifies fundamental disconnects between typical educational practices and the mathematical skills required for safe nursing practice.
For example, nursing programs require students to pass a dosage calculation exam prior to clinical experiences, but research questions the validity of these exams and the extent to which the results predict medication errors in the field. Additionally, many nursing programs place a significant focus on developing their students’ medication calculation skills, although the ability to interpret and analyze both mathematical and statistical information in the contexts of patient data and healthcare administration are equally important for safe nursing practice.
These disconnects raise some important questions:
- What mathematical skills do nurses need to be successful in their careers?
- How can we change nursing education so that instruction and assessment align with both our desired outcomes and best practices in mathematics education?
The Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) are excited to begin a partnership with the nursing community to explore, implement, and continuously improve best practices for the mathematics education of nursing students. In collaboration with Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN), we are bringing together the two fields of mathematics and nursing to improve student success and quality practice.
Read Our Latest "Emerging Solutions" Brief
We examine the gaps between mathematics content and requirements for nursing degrees as compared with the math used by nurses in the field. We then offer solutions for closing those gaps.DOWNLOAD NOW
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Join our High-Quality Mathematics Education for Nurses Task Force
This task force will address how to strengthen the fundamental connections between mathematics curriculum, instruction, assessment, and clinical practice. Activities may be online or in person.Apply Now
Martha Ellis, Director, Higher Education Strategy, Policy, and Services, the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin (Main Contact)
John Clochesy, Professor, Nursing, University of Miami
Suzanne Dorée, Professor, Mathematics, Augsburg University
Doug Ensley, Deputy Executive Director, Mathematical Association of America
Daniel Ozimek, Assistant Professor, Mathematics, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences
Anna Wendel, Nursing Faculty, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences
Over the past decade, both the Charles A. Dana Center and the MAA have shifted our work within the science community from a service discipline to a partner discipline. Rather than dictating the content of mathematics courses that serve as prerequisites, we build mathematics pathways for programs of study in partnership with other disciplines.
This shift in perspective has necessitated the development of interdisciplinary tools and strategies to generate open and iterative conversations that lead to positive and sustainable change. Since 2005, the QSEN project has focused on address the challenge of preparing future nurses with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) necessary to continuously improve the quality and safety of the healthcare systems in which they work.
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