Healthcare Math: Converting Measurements & Calculating Dosage per Body Weight

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1 Healthcare Math: Converting Measurements & Calculating Dosage per Body Weight Industry: Healthcare Content Area: Mathematics Core Topics: Using the metric system, converting units of measurement using ratios and proportions and formulas, solving multi-step problems, rounding decimals Objective: Students will be able to use proportions and formulas to convert measurements and solve multi-step problems to calculate dosage based on body weight. Materials included: Instructor s notes Scenario: Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Student worksheets Handouts Quiz Answer Keys Industry Overview: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the healthcare industry is expected to generate over 20% of all new jobs created in the U.S. economy between 2012 and 2022.* The healthcare industry is comprised of a vast array of jobs, ranging from nursing assistants to physicians. Mathematics and literacy skills are essential for students who plan to pursue a career in this field. The metric system is the primary measurement system used in the medical field. Healthcare professionals, including licensed practical nurses (LPNs), must have the ability to convert units of measurement between and within the US customary system and the metric system. They must also be able to solve multi-step healthcare math problems, such as calculating proper medication dosage based on patient weight. * Source: 1

2 Instructor s notes: The purpose of this module is to help students develop and apply math skills in a healthcare workplace setting. The activities were designed to be incorporated throughout multiple instructional periods as math concepts are taught in a healthcare context. After completing the module, students should be able to: o Use ratios and proportions to convert units of measurement o Use formulas to convert between Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures o Perform multi-step calculations to determine medication dosage based on body weight Setting the stage: Provide students with background information about the typical responsibilities of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). You may want to have students use the occupational outlook handbook, O*NET and/or other relevant websites to research the job responsibilities, educational/training requirements, salary, etc. for this position. In addition, you could have students view a YouTube video depicting the typical responsibilities of a LPN (See links below). Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Occupational Information Network (O*NET) A Day in the Life of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) For Activity 1: Provide students with examples of using the metric system and unit conversions in different healthcare contexts. As a class, work examples of converting body weight in pounds to kilograms and body height in inches to centimeters. One sample is included in the scenario. Have students complete Worksheet 1. For Activity 2: Explain the formulas for converting between Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures and work examples with the students. Two sample problems have been given in the scenario, but you may want to provide additional examples. Have students work independently to convert the five medically significant Fahrenheit temperatures to Celsius. The answers are: 95 0 F = 35 0 C 90 0 F = C F = C F = C F = 40 0 C Have students complete Worksheet 2. For Activity 3: Work the scenario examples with the class. Have students work the last example independently, then go over the answers with them. The answers are: patient weight 68.2 kg minimum dose: mg maximum dose: 682 mg range: 545.5mg to 682 mg Yes, the dose of 650 mg ordered by the doctor is safe because it falls within the acceptable range. Have students complete Worksheet 3. Assessment: Quiz Conversions & Calculating Dosage per Body Weight 2

4 Worksheet 1: Converting Body Measurements Name On Tuesday morning, the clinic is very busy. You weigh and measure every patient that comes in for care. After recording these numbers on each patient s chart, you use a proportion to convert their weight in pounds into kilograms (kg) and their height in inches into centimeters (cm). Round your answer to the nearest tenths place, if necessary. Complete the chart for each patient. Patient name Weight in lbs. Weight in kg Height in inches Height in cm J. James 15 lb. 24 in. F. Garza 180 lb. 70 in. J. Hamilton 135 lb. 61 in. R. Hargrave 52 lb. 46 in. M. Sherman 196 lb. 69 in. D. Hagopian 238 lb. 73 in. L. Wolf 78 lb. 55 in. V. Graham 162 lb. 60 in. D. Mendez 140 lb. 67 in. R. Smith 38 lb. 39 in. M. Abdul 172 lb. 57 in. P. Baker 128 lb. 65 in. 4

5 Activity 2: Converting Fahrenheit and Celsius Temperature In addition to measuring weight and height, you also take and record each patient s temperature. You usually use a Fahrenheit thermometer, but the clinic recently purchased a Celsius thermometer. While the doctors prefer the Celsius reading, most patients are more familiar with the Fahrenheit temperature reading. Regardless of which thermometer you use, the doctors at the clinic have instructed you to always record both readings on the patient s chart. The formula for converting from Fahrenheit (F) to Celsius (C) is: ( 0 F 32) 1.8 = 0 C The formula for converting from Celsius (C) to Fahrenheit (F) is: ( 0 C x 1.8) + 32 = 0 F Practice converting the following temperatures: The weather forecast for today is 84 0 F. Use the appropriate formula and convert this temperature to Celsius. Write the formula and substitute 84 for the F. Subtract 32 from 84. Divide the result by 1.8 and round to the nearest tenths place. Your answer should be C = (F 32) 1.8 C = (84 32) 1.8 C = F = C Imagine that you are on vacation in France and the forecast for today is 30 0 C. Convert this temperature to Fahrenheit. Write the formula and substitute 30 for C. Next, multiply 30 x 1.8. The result is 54. Add Your answer should be 86. F = (C x 1.8) + 32 F = (30 x 1.8) + 32 F = C = 86 0 F Since you have worked at the clinic for a few years, you know the following temperatures have important medical significance. Use the appropriate conversion formula and convert each Fahrenheit temperature to Celsius. Mild Hypothermia: 95 0 F = 0 C Moderate to severe hypothermia: 90 0 F = 0 C Mild Fever: F = 0 C Moderate Fever: F = 0 C Severe Fever: F = 0 C 5

6 Worksheet 2: Converting Temperature Readings Name You took the temperature of each patient who came into the clinic on Tuesday morning. Depending on which thermometer you used, some of the patients temperatures were taken in Fahrenheit degrees, and others in Celsius degrees. For each given temperature reading on the chart, use the appropriate formula to convert to the other system. Round your answer to the nearest tenths place, if necessary. Patient name Fahrenheit temperature reading Celsius temperature reading J. James F F. Garza 37 0 C J. Hamilton F R. Hargrave F M. Sherman F D. Hagopian C L. Wolf 39 0 C V. Graham 99 0 F D. Mendez C R. Smith F M. Abdul F P. Baker C After completing the chart, answer the following questions. 1. According to your calculations, how many patients have a fever? 2. Which patient has the highest temperature? 3. What is the temperature in Celsius for this patient? 4. What is the medically significant classification of this temperature? 6

7 Activity 3: Calculating dosage based on patient weight Another job you have at the clinic is to calculate the correct dosage of medication and shots for patients. Many medications have a recommended dosage based on body weight. For example, suppose the recommended dose of a medicine is 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (5mg/kg). What is the correct dose for a person weighing 120 kilograms? One method to calculate the dosage per kilogram is to use a proportion. 5 mg 1 kg = X mg 120 kg Cross multiply: (1)x = (5)120 Multiply to solve for x: x = 600 mg. Some dosage calculations require multiple steps. The doctor ordered 20 mg/kg of medication divided into 2 equal doses for a child who weighs 60 lb. What is the correct amount of medication you will give this child in each dose? Remember, when you calculate weight conversions or dosage using a proportion, the units of measurement must be the same. Use labels to avoid errors. Step1: Convert the child s weight to kilograms (kg). 2.2 lb 1 kg = 60 lb X kg 2.2x = 60 x = Divide to solve for x: x = 27.3kg. Step 2: Calculate the total dosage for this child: 20 mg 1 kg X mg =. The total dosage is 546 mg kg Step 3: Since the doctor ordered the total amount of medication to be given in 2 equal doses. The last step would be to divide the total dose by = 273 Each dose will be 273 mg. Work the following example. Round your answers to the nearest tenths place, if necessary. At times, you have to calculate the dosage range of a medication based on patient weight in order to determine if the dose prescribed is safe. One of the clinic doctors ordered 650 mg of medicine for a patient weighing 150 lb. The recommended dosage for the medication is 8-10 mg/kg of body weight. Is the dosage ordered by the doctor safe for this patient? Convert the patient s weight to kilograms. The patient weighs kg. Calculate the minimum dosage for this patient (8mg/kg). The minimum dosage recommended for this patient is mg. Calculate the maximum dosage for this patient (10mg/kg). The maximum dosage allowed for this patient is mg. The dosage range for this drug is to mg. If the dose ordered by the doctor falls within this range, it is safe for the patient. 7

8 Worksheet 3: Calculating dosage based on patient weight Name Tuesday is a busy day at the clinic. Several patients need medications or shots. You will have to calculate the dosage of medicine based on body weight for some of these patients. Round your answers to the nearest tenths place, if necessary. M. Garcia is to be given medication with a recommended dose of 4 mg/kg of body weight. She weighs 64 kg. How much medicine will you give Ms. Garcia? J. Smith weighs 205 lb. The doctor orders 15 mg/kg of medication. Convert the patient s weight into kilograms. Mr. Smith weighs kg. What is the correct dose of medication for Mr. Smith? mg. The doctor orders a shot of 0.1 cc/kg medication for a 40 lb. child. Convert the child s weight into kilograms. The child weighs kg. The correct dose for this child s shot is cc. The doctor orders 1500 mg of medication for D. Cameron who weighs185 lb. The label on the medication states the recommended dosage for the medication is mg/kg of body weight. Is the dose prescribed by the doctor safe for this patient? Convert the patient s weight into kilograms. The patient weighs kg. Calculate the dosage range: Minimum dose to Maximum dose Is the dose prescribed safe for this patient? Yes or No The doctor prescribed 50 mg/kg divided into 3 equal doses for a toddler who weighs 25 lbs. The toddler weighs kg. The total dosage to be given is mg. Each individual dose will be mg. 8

9 Quiz: Measurement Conversions & Dosage per Body Weight Name: Convert each of the following weights into kilograms (kg) and heights into centimeters (cm) lb. = kg inches = cm lb. = kg inches = cm lb. = kg inches = cm lb. = kg inches = cm lb. = kg inches = cm Convert each of the temperatures to Fahrenheit or Celsius as indicated. 11. An infant has a body temperature of F 0 C 12. Store the vaccine serum at 8 0 C 0 F 13. Do not expose the medication to temperatures greater than 75 0 F 0 C 14. Mr. Doe s temperature is greater than F 0 C Convert each patient s weight to kilograms (kg) and calculate the medication dosage 15. Dr. Patel orders 40 mg/kg of medication for a patient weighing 150 lb. Patient weighs kg Dosage: mg 16. A patient weighing 300 lb. is prescribed medication of 25 mg/kg of body weight. Patient weighs kg Dosage: mg 17. Dr. Jones orders 5mg/kg of medication for a patient weighing 75 lb. Patient weighs kg Dosage: mg 18. A doctor orders 2500 mg of medication for a patient weighing 125 lb. The recommended dosage for this drug is mg/kg. Determine if the dosage is safe for this patient. Patient weighs kg Dosage range: Minimum to Maximum Is the dosage ordered safe for this patient? Yes or No 9

10 Worksheet 1: Converting Body Measurements Answer Key On Tuesday morning, the clinic is very busy. You weight and measure every patient that comes in for care. After recording these numbers on each patient s chart, you use a proportion to convert their weight in pounds into kilograms (kg) and their height in inches into centimeters (cm). Round your answer to the nearest tenths place, if necessary. Patient name Weight in lbs. Weight in kg Height in inches Height in cm J. James 15 lb. 6.8 kg 24 in. 60 cm F. Garza 180 lb kg 70 in. 175 cm J. Hamilton 135 lb kg 61 in cm R. Hargrave 52 lb kg 46 in. 115 cm M. Sherman 196 lb kg 69 in cm D. Hagopian 238 lb kg 73 in cm L. Wolf 78 lb kg 55 in cm V. Graham 162 lb kg 60 in. 150 cm D. Mendez 140 lb kg 67 in cm R. Smith 38 lb kg 39 in cm M. Abdul 172 lb kg 57 in cm P. Baker 128 lb kg 65 in cm 10

11 Worksheet 2: Converting Temperature Readings Answer Key You took the temperature of each patient who came into the clinic on Tuesday morning. Depending on which thermometer you used, some of the patients temperatures were taken in Fahrenheit degrees, and others in Celsius degrees. For each given temperature reading, use the appropriate formula to convert to the other system. Round your answer to the nearest tenths place, if necessary. Patient name Fahrenheit temperature reading Celsius temperature reading J. James F C F. Garza F 37 0 C J. Hamilton F C R. Hargrave F 37 0 F M. Sherman F F D. Hagopian F C L. Wolf F 39 0 C V. Graham 99 0 F C D. Mendez F C R. Smith F C M. Abdul F C P. Baker F C After completing the chart, answer the following questions. 1. According to your calculations, how many patients have a fever? 4 2. Which patient has the highest temperature? L. Wolf 3. What is the temperature in Celsius for this patient? 39 0 C 4. What is the medically significant classification of this temperature? Moderate fever 11

12 Worksheet 3: Calculating dosage based on patient weight Answer Key Tuesday is a busy day at the clinic. Several patients need medications or shots. You will have to calculate the dosage of medicine based on body weight for some of these patients. Round your answers to the nearest tenths place, if necessary. M. Garcia is to be given medication with a recommended dose of 4 mg/kg of body weight. She weighs 64 kg. How much medicine will you give Ms. Garcia? 256 mg J. Smith weighs 205 lb. The doctor orders 15 mg/kg of medication. Convert the patient s weight into kilograms. Mr. Smith weighs 93.2 kg. What is the correct dose of medication for Mr. Smith? 1398 mg. The doctor orders a shot of 0.1 cc/kg medication for a 40 lb. child. Convert the child s weight into kilograms. The child weighs 18.2 kg. The correct dose for this child s shot is 1.8 cc. The doctor orders 1500 mg of medication for D. Cameron who weighs185 lb. The label on the medication states the recommended dosage for the medication is mg/kg of body weight. Is the dose prescribed by the doctor safe for this patient? Convert the patient s weight into kilograms. The patient weighs 84.1 kg. Calculate the dosage range: Minimum dose kg to kg Maximum dose Is the dose prescribed safe for this patient? Yes The doctor prescribed 50 mg/kg divided into 3 equal doses for a toddler who weighs 25 lb. The toddler weighs 11.4 kg. The total dosage to be given is 570 mg. Each individual dose will be 190 mg. 12

13 Quiz: Measurement Conversions & Dosage per Body Weight Answer Key Convert each of the following weights into kilograms (kg) and heights into centimeters (cm) lb = 25 kg_ inches = cm lb = 45.5 kg_ inches = 145 cm lb = 70.5 kg_ inches = 165 cm lb = kg_ inches = cm lb = 10 kg_ inches = 70 cm Convert each of the temperatures to Fahrenheit or Celsius as indicated. 11. An infant has a body temperature of F C 12. Store the vaccine serum at 8 0 C F 13. Do not expose the medication to temperatures greater than 75 0 F C 14. Mr. Doe s temperature is greater than F C Convert each patient s weight to kilograms (kg) and calculate the medication dosage as directed. 15. Dr. Patel orders 40 mg/kg of medication for a patient weighing 150 lb. Patient weighs _68.2 kg_ Dosage: _2728 mg_ 16. A patient weighing 300 lb. is prescribed medication of 25 mg/kg of body weight. Patient weighs _136.4 kg_ Dosage: _3410 mg_ 17. Dr. Jones orders 5mg/kg of medication for a patient weighing 75 lb. Patient weighs _34.1 kg_ Dosage: _170.5 mg_ 18. A doctor orders 2500 mg of medication for a patient weighing 125 lb. The recommended dosage for this drug is mg/kg. Determine if the dosage is safe for this patient. Patient weighs _56.8 kg_ Dosage range: Minimum _1704 mg_ to _2272 mg_ Maximum Is the dosage ordered safe for this patient? No (2500 mg exceeds the maximum dose allowed) 13

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