, ,

Much of the clinical work we do includes documenting assessment, I&O (intake & output), vitals (BP, temp, etc.), drug side effects, and evaluating labs.  It takes practice and repetition to memorize labs and the meaning behind them.  For instance, you may memorize that normal potassium levels are 3.5-5.0 and your patient’s K is 2.5.  You know it’s low but that’s only the first part of the puzzle.  You have to know how to intervene and figure out why it’s low.

This site breaks down complete blood count lab values.  CBC involves numerous components, measures multiple values and indicates a variety of potential problems.  In other words, it’s important to understand.  I used it as a guideline on a regular basis while filling out my preclinical work and found it very useful.