Converting Hours to Minutes: A Real-Life Example (from Nursing)

Nurses do indeed need math! Certain mathematical skills are crucial for nurses, such as converting between hours and minutes. This article illustrates the importance of converting hours into minutes for dosage calculations.

300 ml of Fluid in 2.5 Hours: Example from Nursing Practice


Nursing is a noble profession that demands empathy, patience, and, surprisingly, some math skills too. Among the crucial applications of math in nursing is the conversion of time, weight, volume, and other units for dosage calculations. Let’s have a look at a practical example.

Example: 300 ml to Drops and 2.5 Hours to Minutes

Imagine a scenario where a nurse needs to administer an intravenous infusion of 300mL of fluid over 2.5 hours. The task at hand involves calculating the optimal flow rate, measured in drops per minute.

Animated picture of a drip chamber with falling drops

Assume 1 mL equals 20 drops1, the total drops for 300ml would be:

300 × 20 = 6000 (drops).

These drops must be delivered into the patient’s vein over 2.5 hours. Knowing that 1 hour consists of 60 minutes, we find that 2.5 hours equals:

2.5 × 60 = 150 (minutes).

To deliver 6000 drops in 150 minutes, the nurse needs to set the IV bag at:

\( \frac{6000}{150} = 40 \) (drops per minute).

1 Depending on drip chamber type, there can be different amount of drops in 1ml, e.g. 10, 12, 15, 20 or 60 drops per mL.


Mastering the conversion of time units, especially from hours to minutes, is a crucial skill for every nurse. Additionally, many other professions require proficiency in converting units of length, volume, time, weight, and more. This knowledge is imparted during your math and science lessons, proving its significance not just in academics but also in real-life applications.

Check the facts!

For preparing this article we used information from the book:

In addition to that, you are welcome to have a look at the video issued by a US-licensed nurse. In this video, a very similar example (infusion of 1500 ml over 12 hours with 15 drops per minute) is shown.

Video version:

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Further Reading:

Interested in learning more about how math is used in other medical and health-related professions? We have more articles for you.

First, in the article:

we demonstrate an example of how the Cartesian coordinate plane is used to analyze survival rates among smoking and non-smoking patients.

Furthermore, in the following two articles:

we illustrate how piecewise linear functions and quadratic functions are used to predict the number of people who will require assistance from public health services.

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