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From The CriticsReviewer: Cherie G. Howk, PhD, FNP-BC(Indiana State University)
Description: This spiral bound, pocket-sized book is intended as a quick reference to laboratory facts. The pages are designed to be written on with a ball point pen and erased with an alcohol wipe.
Purpose: The purpose appears to be to provide an abbreviated reference with lab values and specimen collection information for blood and urine tests and cultures. The value of an abbreviated reference is questionable.
Audience: Although there is no stated audience, it appears to be intended for anyone who works with patients who have had or will have diagnostic testing. A note states that the information is based on research and consultation with nursing, medical, and legal authorities, but there are no references.
Features: The first of the book's seven sections starts with the basics, which generally covers specimen collection. A section covers blood tests, urine tests, and cultures. The tests, listed alphabetically, generally refer to the normal levels, what to collect, and the purpose. On occasion, an explanation for elevated and decreased levels is briefly noted. An interesting section not normally seen in diagnostic books covers imaging. This section also briefly reviews normal findings, "normal functioning and size of valves and heart chambers" with an echocardiography, abnormal findings, and purpose of the exam. The last two sections cover miscellaneous topics and resources. The attempt at brevity seems to have watered down the value of each section.
Assessment: This small reference has limited value as a bedside resource. Practicing nurses will find a more complete reference for diagnostic tests in A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th edition, Fischbach and Dunning (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009). Although the Fischbach book is not pocket-sized, nor can you write on the pages and erase them, it provides much more complete information.