Can you share on ways to memorize lab values

  1. hello i had posted this yesterday evening and it was errased. so i decided to ask again. i have trouble remembering lab values. if anyone has any suggestions on how to remember them it would be greatly appreciated. thanks.

    also thanks mauxtav8r for replying they were really good ways to remember them. i'll put it back here so people can read them. it was awesome thanks.

    by mauxtav8r:

    here's a couple.

    ph 7.35-7.45. this is a good one to start with, because a couple of
    others are "35-45". i visualize the litmus paper and remember acid is
    under 7, base is over.

    so then pco2 is 35-45.

    then na++ is 135-145.

    ok, that't it for the 35-45 crew. bicarb is 22-26. a friend told me "i
    couldn't drink bacardi until i was 21" bicarb at 22-26. that was just
    enough to get me to remember it.

    calcium. what do 8 to 10 year olds drink? milk. ca++ is 8-10.

    potassium. what do 3 and a half to 5 year olds eat? bananas. k++ is

    bun. how wide is my rear, 10 inches or 20 (or more)? bun level is

    i hope this helps.
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  3. by   RNfromMN
    there's only one i can think of that i use...probably won't work for others since i made it up my own little head.


    so, you look at your ph & if it's < 7.35, it's acidosis. whenever i hear the word acidosis in my mind, i hear it as a little tiny high-pitched girl voice..."acidosis." i think to myself, teeny tiny number (< 7.35), teeny tiny word..."acidosis." and i picture a sweet little girl, in a pretty pink dressed, sitting in the waiting room of the hospital, breathing very slowly & calmly (hypoventilating). and when you ask her what's wrong, she looks up at you & whispers, "acidosis."

    alkalosis is when the ph is >7.35. it's a big, honkin' number. i picture a big, mean alkalosis monster. grrr! alkalosis! and he's angry & huffing & puffing (hyperventilating).

    so, yeah, that's what i do
  4. by   RN28MD
    WOW Jessica that is a good way of putting it. Thanks a lot. I wish I had a better imagination. I will try harder to do that. Thanks
  5. by   deftonez188
    Lol, I don't think i'll forget that, and I just popped in to read for a sec Damn you Alkalosis monster!!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. by   kukukajoo
    Thank you for sharing!!
  7. by   Pachinko
    I don't have any clever mnemonics for you, but in nursing school I dealt with learning lab values for tests by reviewing them a lot right before the exam. Then, when the exam was passed out, I'd write down everything I remembered on the back of the test and refer to it later. That way, I didn't have to worry about keeping it all in my head. I also did this for the NCLEX--you get a wipeboard before starting the exam, and I wrote all the basic lab values down before starting. It's a binge-and-purge way of learning, but it works in the short run.
  8. by   anne74
    Those are some great tricks to remember lab values. Why couldn't my nursing school instructors give out these helpful tricks? Would have made my life easier.
  9. by   Sunkyst08
    I was about to post the same question... i just scheduled to take my NCLEX here soon.... the PH response was helpful as well as the BUN one too. he he. :chuckleand i understand the 35-45 ones as well. BUT...any helpful way of remembering creatinine, INR, Hgb, hct, wbc's, cd4, platelets, or rbc's?? i mean yea i can just do the memorize them thing... but it'd be great if there was a trick! THANKS!!

    ....i'm so nervous!! :uhoh21:
  10. by   iluvivt
    I love your story Jessica as I thought I was the only crazy one memorizing things in this way. I got through A and P picturing little people moving about the human body doing the different functions and it works. This is how I memorize lab values. The critical ones I just memorize K+ just memorize 3.5 to 5.0. The ones with a lesser range I try to memorize just one number. Like sodium I remember 140. Ca++ I just round it and remember 8-10. The best advice I can give you though is to make a cheat sheet on an index card and keep it with you or buy the little books that all the residents and interns carry with them. They are really portable and can slide into a pocket
  11. by   nghtfltguy
    wow.... you all amaze me!! those are some really cool things to memorize.... i have always sucked w/ lab values...
    you gotta know em to take the NCLEX.... well..
    you should know em......
    just know your basic CBC .... H & H, pt, inr... that crap...
    to be honest....
    when i get a lab back.... i can tell if it is not right....
    there is is an H or L then the normal values.... high or low....
    i know there are a gazillion nurses here that do the same thing....
    the lab tells you what is high and low!!!
    just know your basics by memory...
    trust me.... you don't need to know all of em...

  12. by   nghtfltguy
    when i took the NCLEX.. i did not have a single question about lab values... i did however have a lot of *select all that apply* questions...
    those are WAY W
  13. by   nghtfltguy
    when i took the NCLEX.. i did not have a single question about lab values... i did however have a lot of *select all that apply* questions...
    those are WAY worse!!

    then i gotta write a question for the new NCLEX...
    it did not entail any lab values~~

  14. by   cmarie37206
    These are a few dumb ways I remember some lab values. They, of course, are ridiculous and not at all factual but they stuck in my head for the tests so far. Keep in mind that hospitals and schools vary on the exact values. These are the values I was shown in school.

    BUN- 10-20
    Fast food restaurants switch from biscuits to BUNs at 10:20 in the morning.

    Calcium 8-10
    The organic milk I bought lasted from August (08) to October (10)

    The recovered fossil weighed 2.5 tons and sold for $4.5 million at auction

    Hope this helps a little bit.