HELP! Laboratory values

  1. Hello everyone,
    I need help! I am doing my first care plan. I was going along fine until my instructor gave us lab results to consider. Is there some sort of magic place that tells you what the values mean? I know what the normal ranges are (they are listed in my text), but I don't know for example what a decreased Hct, increased BUN and increased AST are indicating. Any info is most definitely appreciated!! God bless.
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   Spatialized
    In your lab manual (if you are required to have one...) all the values should be listed with possible diagnoses for them. The manual I used had explanations for decreased and increased levels. This is where the critical thinking area of nursing comes in, taking the values and figuring out what is going on.

    So thinking things through, you're looking at decreased Hct...lower RBC volume (how's Hgb?), increased BUN...more waste products in bloodstream (is Cr in flux?), increased AST...somethings happening in the liver (what about ALT, Bili, Alk. Phos....).

    There's also lab values on-line, just google "medical lab values" and you should get some results. Sorry, not going to give you the answer (besides, I can't think of it right now, but I have a few hunches), the learning is in figuring it out yourself. Hope this helps, or at least gives you a push in the right direction.

    Cheers,
    Tom
  4. by   Daytonite
    hi, rivrn!

    one of the websites where you can find information about lab tests and what diseases they might be ordered for is at lab tests online http://www.labtestsonline.org/. another website where you can get information about lab tests is web md index list of tests http://www.webmd.com/a_to_z_guide/medical_tests.htm. you can also check for medical management of a good many medical diseases and conditions at this website, family practice notebook http://www.fpnotebook.com/index.htm which will list labwork to be ordered in the management of the patient. it would also be a good investment to buy a lab reference book. i have a copy of mosby's diagnostic and laboratory test reference here a home that i use. it has not only lab tests, but x-rays, pulmonary and endoscopic procedures in it. it also includes nursing considerations along with descriptions of what these tests are.

    now, for care planning, i often use nursing diagnosis handbook: a guide to planning care, 7th edition, by betty j. ackley and gail b. ladwig which has an index of symptoms, medical diagnoses and clinical states that cross references you to possible nursing diagnoses. i can often find lab results in the index listed by their medical terminology, i.e. hyperglycemia (for elevated blood sugar), hyperkalemia (for elevated potassium) or leukopenia (for low white blood cell count).

    one of the types of nursing interventions that nurses perform is the evaluation action. this includes the monitoring of laboratory results. it is part of the assessment step of the nursing process. the nursing process is never-ending and we re-cycle through its 5 steps continually. so, monitoring labwork is necessary in many situations. experience will help you to make the connections with what labwork is important to keep your eye on with which medical diseases. in some cases you will monitor therapeutic drug levels as part of assuring that the patient is getting correct dosing. in other cases you'll look to the labwork for indicatioins of what is going on with the patient's physiologic body processes.
    welcome to allnurses!

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