Everyday maths for Health and Social Care and Education Support 1
Everyday maths for Health and Social Care and Education Support 1

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Everyday maths for Health and Social Care and Education Support 1

1.4 A note on the four operations

The four operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. You will already be using these in your daily life (whether you realise it or not!). Working within Health & Social Care requires us to carry out maths all the time – for example, working out how many staff need to be on duty for a night shift in a hospital, calculating how many times a patient needs to take their medication each day or supporting a family with planning a weekly budget.

Everyday maths 1 allows the use of a calculator throughout, so you do not need to be able to work out these calculations by hand – but you do need to understand what each operation does and when to use it.

  • Addition (+) is used when you want to find the total, or sum, of two or more amounts.
  • Subtraction (−) is used when you want to find the difference between two amounts or how much of something you have left after a quantity is used. For example, calculating a patient’s weight loss.
  • Multiplication (×) is also used for totals and sums, but when there is more than one of the same number. For example, if you bought five packs of disposable gloves that cost £1.20 each, to find out the total amount of money you would spend the sum would be 5 × £1.20.
  • Division (÷) is used when sharing or grouping items. For example, if there are 35 patients on a ward and 7 staff nurses, you would work out 35 ÷ 7 to find out how many patients each nurse would need to look after.


In this section you have:

  • learned how to read, write, order and compare positive numbers
  • looked at different ways of using negative numbers in everyday life
  • learned about the four operations.

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