Need help with labs

  1. I'm having a very hard time with labs. We just started corelating our labs in with our daily care and it is so hard for me to put labs together with a dx. Can anyone help? Are there any books that help with what labs are most vital for certain dx? There are so many labs!! I don't understand what is what!!! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
    •  
  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   nurse4theplanet
    My med surg textbook was really good about including what labs would be most pertinent r/t certain diagnoses. For example; with acute renal failure you pay close attention to BUN, CR, K+, etc. because you are looking at the levels of waste products in the blood and potassium can only be excreted by the kidneys so as it rises it will cause cardiac probs in your pt. For pts with any potential for bleeding, for example if they are on coumadin or heparin you want to monitor bleeding times (aptt, pt and inr respectively). Also hct/hgb if disease/condition has caused bleeding. Respiratory probs you want to look at ABGs. That's all I can think of right now...but you see where I am going. Best thing. Look it up in a Diseases and Disorders textbook, then look at your pt's values and compare them to norms, then use your lab manual to help gain some insight into why your labs may be abnormal.
  4. by   decartes
    I guess your old med-surg books offers some explanation.

    Look at labs as part of the s/s of the presenting problem, ie. elevated WBC usually indicates infection, low Hgb and Hct suggest anemia or blood loss, elevated electrolytes suggest dehydration, etc.
  5. by   dragonflyRN
    K and Mg levels....
  6. by   Daytonite
    nurse jen. . .i'm assuming you are talking about matching labs with medical diagnoses, not nursing diagnoses. if i am interpreting this incorrectly, please tell me. a few years ago, i purchased a book titled mosby's diagnostic and laboratory test reference, 4th edition, by kathleen d. pagana and timothy j. pagana. in it is an alphabetic listing of x-rays, ultrasounds, nuclear scans, blood tests, urines tests, sputum tests and microscopic exams of tissues. each test is explained, normal findings listed, indications for the test given, you are told how the test is performed, what diseases it will show, complications of the test or procedure, and any important patient care you need to know related to the test. one of the best features of this book is at the very end of each test listed is a listing of abnormal findings. with the lab tests there will be a list of medical diseases listed under the increased levels and under the decreased levels of the lab results. that, i think is probably the information you are looking for?

    i do not know if this book is still in publication. perhaps you might find a copy of it in your school library. you can find some of this information on line, although not as thoroughly presented at some of these websites:

    lab tests online http://www.labtestsonline.org/
    web md index list of tests http://www.webmd.com/a_to_z_guide/medical_tests.htm

    now, if you are talking about linking lab test results with nursing diagnoses--this is quite another issue.
  7. by   Nurse2b Jen
    I have a lab and diagnostic book. The problem is that I don't even know where to begin to look. Like say if someone has CHF our instructors would ask what are your main labs you would be looking at? I don't even know where to begin. It's really tough to go through the lab book test for test and try to decide which labs are most pertinent when there are so many and I don't have the time to look at them all. I hope that helps clear up my thinking......our med surg book doesn't tell what labs go with what.
  8. by   Daytonite
    nurse2b jen. . .the kind of information about lab tests for specific medical diseases that you might need to find is possible. you just need to know where to look for it. two weblinks to find this kind of information by medical conditions are:
    for the example you posed, you can find a list of the labs and other tests that would be ordered at webmd's site for their a to z list of medical conditions. here is a link to the page that links you into the tests and exams that would be ordered for congestive heart failure on this site:
    http://www.webmd.com/hw/heart_failure/tp17541.asp

    you should also be able to find this kind of information in a pathophysiology book used for a course such as survey of disease.
  9. by   Nurse2b Jen
    Thanks for all the help!
  10. by   Jules A
    Quote from Nurse2b Jen
    I have a lab and diagnostic book. The problem is that I don't even know where to begin to look. Like say if someone has CHF our instructors would ask what are your main labs you would be looking at? I don't even know where to begin. It's really tough to go through the lab book test for test and try to decide which labs are most pertinent when there are so many and I don't have the time to look at them all. I hope that helps clear up my thinking......our med surg book doesn't tell what labs go with what.

    I also have the Mosby's book and love it. The night before clinicals we went to the facility to meet the patient, review their chart and copy the pts bloodwork results so then I used the book to help interpret possible reasons why something was high or low. In the beginning, that was a good starting point for me in recognizing the abnormalities that seemed likely to show up with the different dxs.

close