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QSEN Task Force on High Quality Mathematical Preparation for Nurses

The QSEN Task Force on High Quality Mathematical Preparation for Nurses is moving forward with three initiatives. This fall we are launching a national-scope, group concept mapping study using a statistical web-based software package from CS Global Max with the express purpose of “identifying the knowledge, skills, and competencies related to mathematics and quantitative reasoning needed by professional nurses in a variety of roles”; we are firing up the QSEN Math Task Force – Initiating a special interest group (SIG) for teaching dosing; and finally we are working with HHMI or NSF to fund a networking convening between the mathematic and nursing communities to identify actions and leaders needed to move forward with our strategic plan. For more information please contact Rebecca Hartzler at

Information about the article below.


High-Quality Mathematical Preparation and Quantitative Reasoning for Nurses

Mathematical competency and effective quantitative reasoning skills are essential for safe nursing practice, both in medication administration and in quality improvement. However, research on mathematics education of nurses identifies fundamental disconnects between typical educational practices and the mathematical skills required for safe nursing practice.

For example, nursing programs require students to pass a dosage calculation exam prior to clinical experiences, but research questions the validity of these exams and the extent to which the results predict medication errors in the field.

Additionally, many nursing programs place a significant focus on developing their students’ medication calculation skills, although the ability to interpret and analyze both mathematical and statistical information in the contexts of patient data and healthcare administration are equally important for safe nursing practice.

Project Leadership

Rebecca Hartzler, Manager for Advocacy and Professional Learning, Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin (Main Contact) Email: Phone: 206.972.0329 John Clochesy, Professor, Nursing, University of South Florida Suzanne Dorée, Professor, Mathematics, Augsburg University Doug Ensley, Deputy Executive Director, Mathematical Association of America Daniel Ozimek, Assistant Professor, Mathematics, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Anna Wendel, Nursing Faculty, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences


Over the past decade, both the Charles A. Dana Center and the MAA have shifted our work within the science community from a service discipline to a partner discipline. Rather than dictating the content of mathematics courses that serve as prerequisites, we build mathematics pathways for programs of study in partnership with other disciplines.

This shift in perspective has necessitated the development of interdisciplinary tools and strategies to generate open and iterative conversations that lead to positive and sustainable change. Since 2005, the QSEN project has focused on address the challenge of preparing future nurses with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) necessary to continuously improve the quality and safety of the healthcare systems in which they work.


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