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Paramedic math!


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28 replies to this topic

#6 JakeEMTP

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 02:55 AM

How about using the metric system since all meds are calculated using it.

Oh and vs-eh, 12
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#7 spenac

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 02:56 AM

I would keep some basic addition and subtraction that if missed your automatically kicked out. Why you ask? I have met paramedics and basics that could not do 2+2. If not trained to pass the test they would not even be allowed to make burgers at the golden arches.
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#8 JPINFV

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 04:52 AM

2+2=5 should be an acceptable answer though.
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#9 Timmy

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 05:39 AM

Take my calculator away and I’d be no help at all! Seriously, I couldn’t tell you something as easy as a 6th grade math question… Just in case you think I’m joking, I’m not… I can do basic math like adding and subtracting but anymore than 3 numbers it’s becoming difficult!

This is because my states education system is up S#%t creek without a paddle. Calculators were used in EVERY math class and it was suggested that you take a calculator to exams (because without it the teachers know we’d all fail and they’d look bad and maybe get a pay cut). There was no need to work it out in your head.

I’ve got a mate who’s going into a 2nd year accounting degree, at football he uses a calculator to work out change from someone buying a pie at the canteen! Yet he got top marks in Advanced Math because he had a calculator…

Teachers just assume all kids have a sound knowledge of basic math, which is the biggest load of crap! Most people I know would be able to draw you up a Linear graph or work out a Pythagoras theorem but wouldn’t have the first clue when it came to basic multiplication, division, fractions ect… Every year I did Math in high school, without a doubt we’d spend the first few weeks going through the ‘introduction to calculators’ chapter.

I’d say keep the basic stuff in there! I know it’s going to take a lot of work to bring my math skills to an acceptable level! :lol:
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#10 Dustdevil

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 06:41 AM

How about using the metric system since all meds are calculated using it.

That's an excellent suggestion. Metric equivalents, like mls in a litre, ccs in an ml, cms in a metre, kgs per pound, etc... I dunno if they are teaching this in public schools these days (I would hope so), but this is something they need to know before class, or else you'll either bog down trying to teach them, or have an unreasonable failure rate.

Also, I applaud you for making it more difficult for the right reasons. There is a real tendency to make things hard just to give their students another hoop to jump through, without really doing anything to achieve the primary goal, which is to either evaluate your students' preparation and potential for paramedic success, or to educate them.

Because you are keeping your eye on that primary goal, I suggest a practical and pragmatic approach. Obviously, drug calculations are not something they need to have already studied or learned. However, drug calculations are just basic algebra, which is nothing more than solving for x. I would go heavy on those kinds of equations, but utilising common, everyday commodities as your variables, instead of medications and milligrams. Apples and oranges types of word problems that allow the candidate to utilise his ingenuity to solve a problem, rather than numerical problems that require a specific formula. Again, if they can solve the problem, I don't really care what technique or formula they use to do it with, so don't get anal about showing "proper" steps to solve the problem. There are many ways to skin the cat, and if you start dictating how they do it, you suppress their creativity, which is an asset. Also, mix it up by covering a wide range of scenarios, such as length, weight, volume, concentration, etc...

Of course, you're not the first to consider this problem. Almost every nursing school in the country has such a pre-test. Contact a few and see what they have to say. Trying to reinvent the wheels that other health professions have been rolling on for decades is one of the things that is holding EMS back. Benefit from their experience. Not only will it save you a lot of time, research, and effort, it will help improve our image in their eyes to see us actively looking to elevate to their level.

I'm very interested in what you come up with, so I hope you will share the results. Good luck!
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