Any tricks to remembering normal lab values?

About scm0890
Joined: Jun '12; Posts: 41; Likes: 7
Psychiatric RN
Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience in Psychiatric/Mental Health 
Jun 21, '12Either flash cards or writing them over and over.. Once I memorized them I wrote them once when I woke up and before I went to bed the week before taking my exam. Another one is writing the name of the value on one card and the actual value on another and trying to match them up, that's a fun way to memorize stuff.. I do that one with meds and s/e..

Jun 21, '12I recorded it using my voice, put it in my iPod and listened to it over and over again. On the train, while cooking, walking, gardening etc. Repetition is the key.



Jun 21, '12Definitely memorization.
I also found that some labs have the decimal point with another number at the end (ex: 2.3); I found that while taking practice exams, when a lab value was asked or in the stem of the question, it didn't have the .5 or .6, etc behind the number and it was just a single number lab value. My suggestion would be to not worry about memorizing those extra decimal point numbers and if there is any of the "4.66.2" lab values to remember, just remember it as 46, etc.
Also, group similar lab numbers together. For me personally, names are easier than numbers. So ex: Dig level and lithium levels are very similar, a long with Cr level (dig is about .052, lithium is .061.3, Cr 0.51.3). I grouped similar lab values together but remembered them by the actual names to help me remember.
Some lab values have "men's normal is this number and women's normal is this number". In these situation, I remember the lowest of the two and the highest of the two, to help me remember one set of number for both the men and women. Ex: Cr normal for men is: 0.61.3 and Cr normal for women is: 0.51.0. I then put those numbers together to remember Cr normal as: 0.51.3 would be the normal. Hardly do they ever ask normal for men or normal for woman. I just took NCLEX today so I would know they didn't ask any of that.
My lab values here might be different from yours (I used Hurst for these) but what ever number you are using, I hope my strategies help.
Quote from scm0890Hello Everyone,
I am having difficulty remembering all the normal lab values. Does anyone know of any helpful tricks they used to remember them? All input is much appreciated Thank you! 
Jun 22, '12this is a trick our kaplan nclex instructor told us.
PH 7.357.45
CO2 35  45
Na 135 145
K 3.5 5
albumin 3.55.5
i tried lining them up but can't get the spacing to say.
this one i did because i was always confused
BUN is big lettersthe lab values are 'big' numbers1020
creat is small lettersthe lab values are 'small numbers  0.61.2
i think the best way to remember labs is to constantly review them. i found repetition to be the best for me.Last edit by abiklags on Jun 22, '12 : Reason: fix spacing 

Jun 22, '12hi there will anybody help me do the calculation for this problem pleeeeeeease!
A client with type 1 diabetes mellitus is admitted to the hospital with diabetic ketoacidos and a serum glucose level of 789 mg/dl. The physician prescribes 10 units of regular insulin by intravenous (IV) bolus, followed by a continues insulin infusion at a rate of 5 units/hr. The pharmacy sends 500 ml of normal saline solution containing 50 units of regular insulin. After administering the IV bolus of 10 units of regular insulin, the nurse sets the flow rate of the normal saline solution to infuse at how many milliliters per hour to deliver 5 units/hr?
Thank you very much in advance and will appreciate all the help you can give! 
Jun 22, '12You need to work out how many units per ml. 50iu in 500mls , 5iu in 50 mls.
50/500 = 0.1iu per ml
5(being the amount you require) / 0.1 = 50
So I would say run at 50 mls an hour ( these does seem a lot to me). I am in the uk and we prob make up differently. 

Jun 22, '12@myprideandjoy.
you can use dimensional analysis: ml/hr= 500 ml/50 units x 5 units/hr
ml/hr= 50 ml/hr
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in this example, units cancel out and your answer should reflect what the problem ask: ml/hr.
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dimensional analysis is an orderly and systematic mathematical process that results in consistent accuracy, provided the equation is set up correctly. 
Jun 22, '12Quote from scm0890Look at them like 600 times.Hello Everyone,
I am having difficulty remembering all the normal lab values. Does anyone know of any helpful tricks they used to remember them? All input is much appreciated Thank you!
They only really stuck for me after reviewing patient labs over and over again.