The Relevance of 'O' Level Mathematics in Nursing : A Survey of Practicing Nurses’ Experiences in Zimbabwe
Chinamasa, Emmanuel .
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relevance of 'O'-Level mathematics in nursing practice. It was motivated by the observation that the nurse recruitment policy and advertisements for nurse training are silent on 'O'- Level mathematics as a requirement for nurse training although nursing practice involves numerical calculations. A descriptive survey was used to collect data from a cluster sample of 145 qualified nurses from 5 hospitals. Self- administered questionnaires and personal experience reports were used. The study revealed that, the majority of nurses (68%) did not pass 'O'-Level mathematics. They reported experiencing problems with calculating drug dosages, controlling intravenous fluid flows, assisting with fracture traction settings and were not confident to apply for degree studies in which mathematics courses are compulsory. Lack of 'O'-Level mathematics limited nurses' upward academic mobility as well as their utility value. The majority reported that 'O'-Level mathematics is necessary for nursing and called for it to be considered as one of the requirements for nurse training recruitment. A Chi- square test at 5% level of significance confirmed that, nurses' evaluation of the relevance of mathematics to nursing practice was not associated with their “O'-Level mathematics results hence objective. The study recommends a nation wide survey and consideration of 'O'-Level mathematics as a requirement for nurse training. Schools of nursing can also consider introducing special 'O'-level mathematics bridging courses to cover the gap with current trainees