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memory aids

jclark76 jclark76 (New) New

any helpful aids in memorizing normal lab values? the ranges keep slipping from memory. Thanks in advance

I am not sure if there are any helpful aids, however, what was helpful for me was constantly exposing myself to those numbers. I would make flashcards and in my down time or while waiting somewhere I would pull them out and read through them. Also, during clinical I would always look at what the normal lab values were. Also, when writing up your clinical paper work always look at the norms.

Soon enough, they will be engrained in your brain. Just keep reading over them and familiarizing yourself with them whenever you can.

Hope this helps. There might be other threads on this topic that you can search for to assist you.


Has 2 years experience.

I'm not sure if memory aids will help with learning the numbers for lab values. How I learned them is I started with 5 lab values and I just every day wrote them down on a piece of paper. Each one I got wrong I wrote 3 times each. Once I learned 5 I added 5 more (and kept doing the 5 I already knew) and continued with this until I learned them all. It only took a couple minutes a day and some days I didn't do it, but I tried not to skip doing it more than 2 days in a row. It honestly didn't take me long to learn them all and I wasn't overwhelmed doing it just for a few minutes a day.

Bedside_Life RN

Specializes in Surgical Intensive Care. Has 3 years experience.

For tests, memorize the values in whatever text is being used. All facilities have different ranges for what they believe is normal. If it is for a test, remember, that most of the time, lab values will be presented to you as a "critical" value; either really high or really low. But also remember that the parameters are the parameters. Don't let your mind sway you into choosing the wrong answer. for example, electrolyte protocols will have exact values to follow. If the parameter value for a certain lab is 5-20 *no change, and you get a lab result of 20, DONT CHANGE IT. It is kind of like the sliding scale with insulin administration, if that helps you understand.

In memorizing these values, know what range you are expected to know. Sometimes simply asking the instructor what ranges they will be using is a quick and easy way to save you time and stress. Once you know this, do what previous posters have recommended and make flash cards. Go over these until you know them for a test, and find out little ways to remember them (this will usually come up when you are reviewing them with another student) and for example the way I remembered BUN was to think about it as the pant size for women; and your "buns" go in pants so your BUN(s) go in 8-20 size pants.

Regardless, repetition of lab values is the best way to remember them. Do this throughout nursing school, being tested or not, and it will help you in the real world.

Good luck to you!

Okay lab values ... Makeup a story such as this one Little Maggie is 1.5-2.5 years old (Mg +). She ate 3.5-5 bananas( K+) and drank 8.5-10.5 ounces of milk (Ca+), then she took a 135-145 hour nap after swimming in the ocean...

I can't take credit for this I found it online sometime back and saved it.

hope this helps