Maybe you want to be a doctor, nurse, or even a veterinarian. Being good at mathematics may help you in reaching your dreams! Maths plays a crucial role in all healthcare sectors. It can help with the probability or effectiveness of a surgery or medication, assist in prescribing the correct dosage to patients, and help assess disease spread. There’s definitely a lot more maths involved than asking a patient to rate their pain from 1 to 10.
Probability is the chance or likelihood of an event occurring. Medical professionals often use many forms of probability to ensure they choose the best course of action. The key role of probability is to improve decision-making in the face of uncertainties. It helps the decision-making process by using numbers. To find the probability, divide the number of events by the number of possible outcomes. This will show the probability of that particular event occurring. Suppose a surgery or medication has a high probability of helping someone. In that case, it will most likely be how the doctor will want to proceed.
Patient well-being always comes first for healthcare professionals – they really are in the business of helping people. However, minor errors in calculations or incorrect use of metrics could have severe consequences. For instance, weight-based dosing is important before surgeries as correct anaesthesia administration is essential.
Doctors often use the metric system. The idea of the metric system was first introduced in France in the late 1600s (around the time of the French Revolution). Compared to other mathematical theories and tools, this is relatively recent! Interestingly, it is now used all over the globe! The metric system allows easy conversion between units of measurement. The mnemonic for the six most commonly used prefixes from kilo to milli is “King Henry Didn’t Drink Chocolate Milk”, which helps learn the units – kilo, hecto, deca, deci, centi, and milli.
Typically, medicines have the required dosage amounts in milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg). Healthcare workers need to have the ability to determine the number of mg of medicine each patient will require based on their weight. Sometimes the patient’s weight is measured in a different measurement system. For example the imperial system of pounds and ounces is used in the United States. In those circumstances, doctors must first convert the patient’s weight to kilograms which then allows calculation of the number of milligrams required for the prescription.
There’s a big difference between mg/kg and mg/pounds, so it’s vital that the conversion is completed correctly.
If a patient needs surgery, medical professionals checks the individual’s blood pressure, monitors body temperature and even measure their respiratory rate. All of these applications of mathematics help professionals determine if a patient is getting better or not, and helps them in deciding the next treatment steps. Maths helps health professionals to have a good understanding of what’s happening inside the body. It’s amazing how, unbeknown to the patient, maths is right there assisting in the operating room.
Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals worldwide work day and night to saving and improving lives. Their heroic actions have a huge impact on almost all of us, and maths is one of their crucial tools!
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Mathematics is used every day in hospitals, doctors’ offices and in the health alerts we see on the television or online. Keep an ear out and remember, “King Henry Didn’t Drink Chocolate Milk”.