Search for school

Nursing Info: Common Lab Values

Although a nurse is not expected to have the same knowledge as a physician, there is some basic knowledge that could be pertinent in determining whether or not a nurse should be concerned about one of her patients. Knowing information, such as vital signs, common lab values, and signs and symptoms of an illness are extremely important pieces of information for a nurse. This will guide her, in her assessment of the patient that she is caring for.

When a patient has their blood drawn, urine specimen tested, or some other procedure requiring laboratory testing, the lab will send back a report regarding it. On the report will be a listing of the various lab tests that were done, the common lab values for that test, and the patient’s results.

Here is a list of some of the laboratory tests, what they measure, and the common lab values for that test:

Nursing: Common Lab Values

Red Blood Cells

This oxygen carrying cell will let the nurse or physician know if a patient is getting enough oxygen in the body. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, the oxygen carrier.

Normal value: 4.2-6.2 million/mm3.

Leukocytes

Leukocyte count or white blood cell count will diagnose infection in the body. It will determine the number of WBCs that are in the body.

Normal value: 5000-10,000/mm3.

Hematocrit

This test the volume percentage of red blood cells in the blood. It can alert medical professionals to possible problems, such as COPD, bone marrow abnormalities, dehydration, anemia, and more.

Normal value: 38%-54%.

Hemoglobin

A person with diabetes will need to have this performed several times a year. The values of this test will determine the diabetic patient’s course of treatment.

Normal value: 12-18 g/dL.

Platelets

Platelets help the blood to clot. This will determine the number of platelets that are in the body. This count could also play in part of the treatment for other conditions, such as in bone marrow or chemotherapy.

Normal value: 150,000-450,000/mm3.

Uric Acid

This test will determine the levels any heightened level of uric acid. This test is important in cases of radiation, chemotherapy, and gout.

Normal value: 2.7-8.5 mg/dL.

Prothrombin Time

Prothrombin time or PT results will determine the effectiveness of blood thinning agents (anticoagulants). The results will determine the dosage given to the patient, which could change weekly. A PT can also determine a bleeding problem.

Normal value: 9.5-11.8 sec.

Partial Thromboplastin Time

This lab test will alert the nurse or physician of how long it takes for a patient’s blood to clot. This test is performed on those with a bleeding disorder.

Normal value: 30-45 sec.

Sedimentation Rate

The ESR or sedimentation rate signals inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis.

Normal value: C20-C30 mm/hr.

Potassium

This measures the electrolyte and mineral in the blood, which can signal problems with the nerves, muscles, kidneys, and more. This test will also determine dehydration, a common condition.

Normal value: 3.5-5.0 mEq/L.

BUN

A BUN or blood urea nitrogen test is a lab test that checks the functioning of the kidneys.

Normal value: 6-20 mg/dL.

Creatinine

This lab test is done to see how well your kidneys are functioning. Kidneys remove the creatinine from the body. If creatinine levels are high, the kidneys are not doing their job.

Normal value: 0.5-1.3 mg/dL.

Laboratory testing can be affected by several factors, such as medication, stress, food, and more. It is important that the patient follow the directions prior to having lab work. This could include fasting or not taking a particular medication before the lab work is completed. The results could be the difference in normal lab values or abnormal lab values.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association
Thank you for sharing your preferences.
You can find other options through our sponsored listings below!
Quick Fact
In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs:

  • Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
  • M.Div: Homiletics
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
  • And more...

UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs:

  • HVAC Technician (11-month diploma program)
  • Business Office Administration (10-Month Diploma Program)
  • Criminal Justice (11-Month Diploma Program)
  • And more...

Northcentral University

Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.

Programs:

  • International Business - D.B.A.
  • Leadership in Higher Education - EdS
  • MS Organizational Leadership - Nonprofit Management
  • And more...

Southern Technical College

Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment.

Programs:

  • Diploma - Veterinary Assisting
  • Diploma - Medical Assistant
  • Diploma - Electrical Technology
  • And more...

Ross Medical Education Centers

Get allied health training with Ross Medical Education Center.

Programs:

  • Medical Assistant
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant - Associate of Applied Science
  • Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration

Florida Career College

Train for the real-world skills that help you launch a successful technology or healthcare career with a degree, or diploma from Florida Career College.

Programs:

  • Computer and Network Technician (11-month diploma program)
  • Medical Assistant Technician (10-Month diploma program)
  • Patient Care Technician (10-month diploma program)
  • And more...

Milan Institute

Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.

Programs:

  • Cosmetology
  • Esthetician
  • Medical Assisting
  • And more...

Florida Technical College

After 35 years of serving Florida’s educational needs, Florida-Technical College has merged with National University College (NUC), which until now had been a sister Institution. 

Programs:

  • Culinary Arts - Diploma
  • Medical Assistant Technician - Diploma
  • Allied Health Management - Bachelor's Degree
  • And more...

Keiser University Campus

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Programs:

  • Associate of Science in Medical Administrative Billing and Coding
  • Master of Arts in Homeland Security
  • Associate of Science in Graphic Arts and Design
  • And more...

Colorado Technical University

CTU® degree programs are ranked on eight Best Degree Program lists by U.S. News & World Report in 2020, including Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for the sixth year in a row.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to: www.coloradotech.edu/disclosures

Programs:

  • Denver - Master of Business Administration - Marketing
  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Security:Computer Systems Security
  • Denver - Bachelor of Science - Project Management
  • And more...

Related Post

How to Obtain a Career in Correctional Nursing

Choosing to become a corrections nurse is a decision that should not be taken lightly. A corrections nurse is responsible for attending to inmates at correctional facilities across the country.

Why Taking a NCLEX Refresher Course is Important

Every licensed nurse in the United States has gone through the grueling experience of taking the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, and most likely every nurse can verify that an NCLEX