One of the biggest areas my students tend to struggle with (besides care plans & concept maps) are evaluating labs. So, I am always on the hunt for some helpful tips and this week a stumbled upon some great stuff on Pinterest (of course!). Here’s some helpful lab tips for students and practicing nurses too!
Evaluating labs as a student is no easy task. Them to be so complicated and often are a challenge to decipher and apply to your patient. I wish there was some easy solution, but like most thing we do for our patients, we just have to invest some time & effort.
I happened to stumble across some great little handy tips and reminder pictures on Pinterest recently and they really clicked with me – so I knew my students would love them too. The website is called The Nurses Notes and they are really geared toward NCLEX prep, but also have a lot of other helpful info, including these awesome labs memes/pins. If you are a student, they are super helpful and even for experienced nurses, they are a great refresher.
There are some really cleaver mnemonics and also they show you right were all the labs go in the fish bones pictures. If you are a visual learner – this is a gold mine score!
Here’s a few of my helpful lab tips also:
- Remember, one of the keys in evaluating labs is to look at them in context with the patients condition. Lots of things can affect lab values, so knowing your whole patients picture is key!
- Track and trend the labs – no number should be looked at in isolation.
- Fluid status and recent fluid resuscitation can really paint a “false” picture, so again, know your patient and look at the labs in context of recent events.
- We can learn a lot about the patient from their labs, but it is just a piece of the puzzle and tool to better take care of our patients.
- BUN & Cr are friends – you can not look at one without the other – they are very loyal.
Just like all our skills, looking at your patient’s lab values and making sense of them will take time & practice. But, don’t give up and ask questions when you see something interesting.
Hope it helps! Until next time, take care, be safe and wash your hands!