Our last post talked apps for lab interpretation. While apps are convenient and take up only virtual storage space, we totally side with nurse practitioners who prefer more tangible clinical resources. If you’re a book-loving NP, there are a number of helpful references out there to guide you in ordering and interpreting lab studies. Which pack the most punch in the clinical setting?

We checked out several written lab interpretation resources, and selected those most practical for practicing nurse practitioners. If you’re an NP who could use some lab selection and interpretation guidance, consider purchasing these written references. 


1. Bakerman’s ABC’s of Interpretive Laboratory Data 

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This pocket sized manual receives rave reviews from both students and practicing clinicians alike. The descriptions of each lab study are clearly laid out along with the study’s value in arriving at a diagnosis. Labs are indexed in alphabetical order making them easy to find. Each is accompanied by a description, reference ranges for adults and pediatrics, and followed by the significance of high or low lab values. A must have for the nurse practitioner with a pocket guide fetish. 


2. Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests

While Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests is more textbook than pocket guide, nurse practitioners will find it worthwhile to make space for this resource on their shelves. Perhaps the most helpful aspect of Mosby’s manual is that related tests are grouped into chapters by diagnosis or symptom, such as those for diabetes, and those for coagulation disorders, so NPs can read up on all relevant testing related to the diagnosis or symptom for the patient at hand. 


3. Oxford Handbook for Clinical and Laboratory Investigation

The Oxford Handbook is an invaluable guide to the diagnostic process. The handbook gives an overview of available diagnostic tests organized by specialty. Information regarding which tests are of value, and those that are unlikely to be helpful, assists nurse practitioners as they order diagnostic testing to help reach a diagnosis.  


4. LabNotes: Guide to Lab and Diagnostic Tests

Complete with wipe-off pages, LabNotes is designed with practicality in mind. The resource covers essentials for more than 400 lab and diagnostic tests. LabNotes is also created with the patient in mind, and can be used as a tool to for explaining, preparing, and caring for patients receiving diagnostic testing. While LabNotes is a valuable resource, nurse practitioners may not find the guide as robust as our prior two picks given that the resource is created more for the nursing role, rather than for diagnosing clinicians. 

Which written resources do you find helpful for interpretation of lab studies?


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2 thoughts on “4 Written Resources for Lab Interpretation”

  1. As always, super helpful information! Anyone have a good resource where can we find up to date local resistance rates? I’ve checked the CDC but no luck.
    Thanks! ~ Chris, Phila PA

  2. Check with your local hospital – even small hospitals generally create a local antibiogram every 2 years, larger ones annually.

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