Numeracy skills of undergraduate entry level nurse, midwife and pharmacy students

Sharon Arkell, Paul M. Rutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability of healthcare professionals to perform basic numeracy and therefore dose calculations competently is without question. Research has primarily focused on nurses, and to a lesser extent doctors, ability to perform this function with findings highlighting poor aptitude. Studies involving pharmacists are few but findings are more positive than other healthcare staff.

To determine first year nursing, midwifery and pharmacy students ability to perform basic numeracy calculations.

All new undergraduate entrants to nursing, midwifery and pharmacy sat a formative numeracy test within the first two weeks of their first year of study.

Test results showed that pharmacy students significantly outperformed midwifery and nursing students on all questions. In turn midwifery students outperformed nurses, although this did not achieve significance. When looking at each cohorts general attitude towards mathematics, pharmacy students were more positive and confident compared to midwifery and nursing students.

Pharmacy students expressed greater levels of enjoyment and confidence in performing mathematics and correspondingly showed the greatest proficiency. In contrast nurse, and to a lesser extent midwifery students showed poor performance and low confidence levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-203
JournalNurse Education In Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Numeracy skills of undergraduate entry level nurse, midwife and pharmacy students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this