I have two questions:
Can RN's give patients lab results, or is it the Dr's job to give that information?
Is it a RN's job to immediately contact Dr's regarding critical lab values, or do Dr's already have that information?
Please let me know what you all think, thank you!
Aug 8, '10
Regarding critical values, anytime I wasn't sure if the doctor knew I would call them. Ideally if someone tells you a critical value you would then ask them if the doctor has been notified (and get that persons name). If you just happen upon it in a chart you could call the lab and ask if they have any reporting system or log book showing a doctor has been notified (again get that persons name). If it is a critical value and no new orders were written I would call the doctor, (if it is the middle of the night ask a charge nurse).
I don't know legally if a nurse can tell a patient lab results. But use common sense! I do tell my diabetic patients their glucose results, I will tell patients their CBC results. Again depends on the patient. A patient who has had some bleeding and is knowledgeble about Hgb and Hct levels I will tell them. Assess their level of knowledge about their disease? A dialysis patient I will tell their chemistry levels.
A newly diagnosed patient with some abnormal values I would not tell and refer them to their doctor.
Aug 9, '10
Different protocols will be in place at different facilities. A critical lab value would be reported to the Dr within 30 minutes at my facility.
The Dr would also be in charge of giving the patient the lab results, especially if they are critical. It will vary though based on facility.