Career Guidance Can you become a doctor without good math skills?

Jan 2018
5
2
Vancouver
My son has a passion for helping people and day in and day out he's asking me questions about medical doctor related stuff (I'm just an electrician) like whats a reflexologist? Are chiropractors just 'fake' healthcare professionals (No offense to anyone) and things of that nature.

To be honest, love his interest and happy he seems to find something that he likes but I'm afraid his math skills are not necessarily the best. Science is fine but Math is a little odd. I'm not sure why he's barely passing it. I hope it's not bullying as he have skip;ped a few classes but we'll see . .

Anyways, my question is do you have to be a math genius or good at math to be a healthcare professional?

If I'm going too broad, I think his main interest is in the human body / sports-related areas (Treating sports injuries / increasing performance, etc).

It seems like Math is only a requirement if you can write prescriptions:

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Source: CareerTrend.com

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Source: work.chron.com

I saw a few more as well . . .

Seems like it's important but do you need a Masters in Math to treat someone's foot injury? Just curious to see how deep I have to go with this.
 

topsquark

Forum Staff
Jan 2006
11,578
3,454
Wellsville, NY
Back when I was TAing at SUNY Binghamton I ended up with a class of Nursing students who had to take Intro (non-Calculus based) Physics. Most important to them was the section on static equilibrium (a subsection of Newton's 2nd law problems) and rotational motion. The rest of the course was decent for an idea of how to continue on but these two topics were of primary importance to them. Since you can't really understand these topics without the rest I'd say a good Intro Physics class would be a good thing to take. Especially if the College offers something like a basic health care curriculum.

If the school doesn't have a program like that your son could mention it to his Physics instructor and see if they have access to any media on healthcare based Physics.

-Dan
 

Plato

MHF Helper
Aug 2006
22,491
8,653
Here is a true story. My late brother was professor in a well established medical school. He served on the admission committee several times. When he told me that he always looked at the calculus grade, I protested that calculus has nothing to do with what doctors do. He agreed but told me that an A or B in calculus shows a definite commitment and ability to study.
 
Jan 2018
5
2
Vancouver
Here is a true story. My late brother was a professor in a well established medical school. He served on the admission committee several times. When he told me that he always looked at the calculus grade, I protested that calculus has nothing to do with what doctors do. He agreed but told me that an A or B in calculus shows a definite commitment and ability to study.
Thanks for sharing this wonderful story, Plato. That actually makes a lot of sense. It's true that math does increase analytical thinking so I can understand why we all pretty much need a decent amount of it.

@topsquark - That's a great idea as well. Appreciate it :)
 
Dec 2013
2,002
757
Colombia
To be a doctor you are going to need some fairly basic (to a mathematician) mathematical skills as mentioned above, but nothing that can't be learned by anyone willing to apply themselves. Bear in mind that the world is only going to become more automated, so such skills will quickly become redundant for anything other than the rather important task of validating/sanity-checking the output from a machine.

On the other hand, a good doctor is going to need good analytical skills in order to diagnose ailments from the symptoms. Strong mathematical/scientific thinking is probably the best way of developing and practicing these.

I don't think I've added much that others haven't said, but that's my thoughts anyway.

Good luck to your son.