Nursing Clinical Skills

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Here are important nursing skills videos for you to watch.

Blood Transfusion

CVAD Dressing Change

Replacing a Closed Chest Drainage

Chest Tube Dressing Change

Head-to-Toe Assessment

Vital Signs Assessment

Medication Validation Administration

NG Tube Placement

Nasogastric Tube Medication Administration

Nasogastric Tube Removal

Urinary Catheter Insertion

Wound Care Dressing Change

IV Insertion

Sterile Technique

CVAD Blood Draw

CVAD Device Access

Personal Protective Equipment

How to Place and Remove a Bedpan

Patient Turning and Transfers

Bed to stretcher patient transfer

Cane and Crutch Walking

IV Maintenance

Foley Catheter Insertion, Female

Foley Catheter Removal, Female

Foley Catheter Insertion, Male

Male Condom Catheter

Straight Catheterization

Drawing Up Medication from an Ampule

Insulin Administration using an Insulin Pen

Reconstitution of a Powdered Medication

Tracheostomy Suctioning

Tracheostomy Care

Wound Irrigation & Culture and Wet-to-Dry Dressing

Central Lines and IV Push & Piggyback Medications

Central Line Dressing Change

Lung sounds

Heart sounds

Bowel sounds

12-Lead EKG  

Labs | Diagnostic Tests

The NCLEX is no longer testing students on the ranges of labs, as the exam is focused on how the student can interpret the abnormal labs. Study this table to understand the indication and interpretation of your patient’s labs.

Lab/Diagnostic TestNormal RangeIndicationMeaning of High ResultMeaning of Low Result
Vital Signs
Heart Rate (HR)60-100 bpmAssessing cardiac functionHigh HR: Tachycardia (may indicate stress, fever, or heart disease)Low HR: Bradycardia (may indicate heart block or certain medications)
Blood Pressure (BP)90/60 to 120/80 mm HgAssessing cardiovascular healthHigh BP: Hypertension (increased risk of cardiovascular disease)Low BP: Hypotension (may lead to insufficient blood flow to organs)
Respiratory Rate (RR)12 to 20 breaths per minuteAssessing respiratory functionHigh RR: Tachypnea (may indicate respiratory distress or fever)Low RR: Bradypnea (may indicate respiratory depression or neurological issues)
Temperature (Temp)36.5 to 37.2°C (97.8-99°F)Monitoring body temperatureHigh Temp: Fever (infection or inflammation)Low Temp: Hypothermia (body can't maintain normal temperature)
Blood Gas
pH7.35-7.45Assessing acid-base balanceHigh pH: Alkalosis (respiratory or metabolic)Low pH: Acidosis (respiratory or metabolic)
PaO2 (Partial Pressure of Oxygen)80-100 mm HgEvaluating oxygenationHigh PaO2: Oxygen excess (may indicate overventilation)Low PaO2: Hypoxemia (inadequate oxygen in the blood)
PaCO2 (Partial Pressure of Carbon Dioxide)35-45 mm HgAssessing ventilationHigh PaCO2: Hypercapnia (respiratory issue)Low PaCO2: Hypocapnia (hyperventilation or metabolic issue)
HCO3 (Bicarbonate)22-26 mEq/LEvaluating metabolic statusHigh HCO3: Metabolic alkalosisLow HCO3: Metabolic acidosis
SaO2 (Oxygen Saturation)> 95%Assessing oxygen saturationHigh SaO2: Oxygen saturation above normal (rare)Low SaO2: Hypoxemia (oxygen saturation below normal)
Lipoproteins & Triglycerides
Total Cholesterol< 200 mg/dLAssessing cardiovascular riskHigh Cholesterol: Hypercholesterolemia (risk of atherosclerosis)Low Cholesterol: Uncommon, but can affect lipid metabolism
Triglycerides< 150 mg/dLAssessing lipid metabolismHigh Triglycerides: Hypertriglyceridemia (associated with cardiovascular risk)Low Triglycerides: Generally not concerning
HDL Cholesterol> 60 mg/dLEvaluating "good" cholesterolHigh HDL: Lower risk of cardiovascular diseaseLow HDL: Increased cardiovascular risk
LDL Cholesterol< 70 mg/dLAssessing "bad" cholesterolHigh LDL: High cardiovascular riskLow LDL: Generally considered better
Hematology
Hematocrit (HCT)Female: 37-47% Male: 42-52%Assessing red blood cell volumeHigh HCT: Polycythemia (increased red blood cells)Low HCT: Anemia (decreased red blood cells)
Hemoglobin (HGB)Female: 12-16 g/dL Male: 14-18 g/dLMeasuring oxygen-carrying capacityHigh HGB: Polycythemia (increased oxygen-carrying capacity)Low HGB: Anemia (reduced oxygen-carrying capacity)
White Blood Cell (WBC) Count5,000-10,000 /uLEvaluating immune functionHigh WBC: Leukocytosis (infection or inflammation)Low WBC: Leukopenia (immune system suppression)
Platelet Count150,000-400,000 mm3Assessing clotting functionHigh Platelets: Thrombocytosis (risk of clotting)Low Platelets: Thrombocytopenia (bleeding risk)
Prothrombin Time (PT)11-12.5 secondsMonitoring clotting timeHigh PT: Prolonged clotting time (coagulation disorder)-
Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT)30-40 secondsAssessing clotting factorsHigh aPTT: Prolonged clotting time (coagulation disorder)-
International Normalized Ratio (INR)On Warfarin: 2-3 Not on Warfarin: 0.8-1.1Monitoring Warfarin therapyHigh INR: Increased risk of bleeding-
Cardiac Markers
Troponin< 0.01 ng/mLEvaluating myocardial injuryHigh Troponin: Myocardial damage (heart attack)-
C-reactive Protein≤ 0.8 mg/dLAssessing inflammationHigh CRP: Inflammation or infection-
CD40 Ligand1.51-5.35 mg/LMeasuring platelet activationHigh CD40 Ligand: Increased platelet activation-
Creatinine Kinase (CK)0-3 mcg/LAssessing muscle damageHigh CK: Muscle injury or disease-
Serum Electrolytes
Sodium (Na)135-145 mEq/LEvaluating electrolyte balanceHigh Sodium: Hypernatremia (dehydration or kidney issues)Low Sodium: Hyponatremia (water excess or adrenal issues)
Potassium (K)3.5-5 mEq/LAssessing potassium levelsHigh Potassium: Hyperkalemia (heart arrhythmias)Low Potassium: Hypokalemia (muscle weakness, arrhythmias)
Chloride (Cl)98-106 mEq/LMonitoring chloride levelsHigh Chloride: Hyperchloremia (dehydration or metabolic issues)Low Chloride: Hypochloremia (vomiting or metabolic alkalosis)
Calcium (Ca)9-10.5 mEq/LAssessing calcium levelsHigh Calcium: Hypercalcemia (kidney or parathyroid
Lab/Diagnostic TestNormal RangeIndicationMeaning of High ResultMeaning of Low Result
Serum Electrolytes
Magnesium (Mg)1.3-2.1 mEq/L (therapeutic range) 4-7 mEq/L if on magnesiumEvaluating magnesium statusHigh Magnesium: Hypermagnesemia (renal dysfunction or excessive intake)Low Magnesium: Hypomagnesemia (muscle cramps, arrhythmias)
Phosphorus (PO4)3.5-4.5 mEq/LAssessing phosphate levelsHigh Phosphorus: Hyperphosphatemia (renal dysfunction or metabolic issues)Low Phosphorus: Hypophosphatemia (muscle weakness, bone issues)
Chemistry
Amylase56-90 IU/LAssessing pancreatic functionHigh Amylase: Pancreatic inflammation or injury (pancreatitis)Low Amylase: Uncommon, but may indicate pancreatic insufficiency
Lipase0-110 units/LMonitoring pancreatic enzymesHigh Lipase: Pancreatic inflammation or injury (pancreatitis)-
Total Bilirubin0-1 mg/dLEvaluating liver functionHigh Bilirubin: Liver dysfunction or obstruction (jaundice)-
Albumin3.5-5 g/dLAssessing liver and kidney functionHigh Albumin: Uncommon, may indicate dehydrationLow Albumin: Liver or kidney disease, malnutrition
Alfa-fetoprotein (AFP)< 10 ng/mL (normal for adults) > 500 could indicate liver tumorsScreening for liver tumorsHigh AFP: Possible liver tumor or certain cancers-
Ammonia15-110 mg/dLAssessing liver functionHigh Ammonia: Liver dysfunction (hepatic encephalopathy)-
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)10-20 mg/dLEvaluating kidney functionHigh BUN: Kidney dysfunction, dehydration, or high protein intakeLow BUN: Rare, may indicate liver disease or malnutrition
Serum Creatinine0.6-1.2 mg/dLAssessing kidney functionHigh Creatinine: Kidney dysfunction or reduced kidney filtrationLow Creatinine: Uncommon, may indicate low muscle mass or certain conditions
Lab/Diagnostic TestNormal RangeIndicationMeaning of High ResultMeaning of Low Result
Thyroid Function
Total T3 (Triiodothyronine)70-205 ng/dLAssessing thyroid functionHigh Total T3: Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)Low Total T3: Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
T4 (Thyroxine)4-12 mcg/dLEvaluating thyroid hormone levelsHigh T4: HyperthyroidismLow T4: Hypothyroidism
TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone)0.4-0.6 microunits/mLMonitoring thyroid functionHigh TSH: HypothyroidismLow TSH: Hyperthyroidism
Urinalysis
Urine Specific Gravity1.003-1.030Assessing urine concentrationHigh Specific Gravity: DehydrationLow Specific Gravity: Overhydration or kidney dysfunction
Urine Volume1-2 L/dayMonitoring daily urine outputHigh Urine Volume: Polyuria (excessive urination)Low Urine Volume: Oliguria (decreased urination)
Urine pH4.5-8Evaluating urine acidityHigh Urine pH: Alkaline urine (metabolic alkalosis)Low Urine pH: Acidic urine (metabolic acidosis)
Glucose in Urine< 130 mg/dLDetecting hyperglycemiaHigh Glucose: Hyperglycemia (diabetes or stress)-
Red Blood Cells (RBCs) in Urine≤ 3 RBCsEvaluating kidney or urinary tract issuesHigh RBCs: Hematuria (kidney stones, infection)-
White Blood Cells (WBCs) in Urine≤ 2-5 WBCs/hpfDetecting urinary tract infectionHigh WBCs: Pyuria (infection or inflammation)-
Protein in Urine≤ 150 mg/dLAssessing kidney functionHigh Protein: Proteinuria (kidney disease or injury)-
Bacteria in UrineNoneDetecting urinary tract infectionHigh Bacteria: UTI (urinary tract infection)-
Ketones in UrineNoneEvaluating for diabetic ketoacidosisHigh Ketones: Diabetic ketoacidosis (uncontrolled diabetes)-
Nitrites in UrineNegativeDetecting UTI (urinary tract infection)High Nitrites: UTI (urinary tract infection)-
Diagnostic ProcedureOrgan SystemIndicationMeaning of Abnormality
X-RayVariousImaging for bones and tissuesAbnormal findings may include fractures, tumors, or infections.
CT Scan (Computed Tomography)VariousDetailed cross-sectional imagingAbnormalities can range from organ lesions to structural abnormalities.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)VariousImaging soft tissues, brain, spinal cordAbnormalities may include tumors, strokes, or multiple sclerosis.
UltrasoundVariousImaging for organs, blood vessels, fetusAbnormalities can include cysts, tumors, or fetal anomalies.
EndoscopyGastrointestinal, RespiratoryVisual inspection of internal organsAbnormalities may include ulcers, polyps, or tumors.
ColonoscopyGastrointestinalExamination of the colonAbnormalities can include colorectal polyps or cancer.
BronchoscopyRespiratoryInspection of airwaysAbnormalities may include lung tumors or infections.
EchocardiogramCardiovascularImaging the heart and blood flowAbnormalities can include valve defects or heart wall abnormalities.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)CardiovascularRecording heart's electrical activityAbnormalities may indicate arrhythmias or heart disease.
Pulmonary Function TestsRespiratoryAssess lung functionAbnormal results may indicate lung disease or obstructive disorders.
Bone Densitometry (DEXA)MusculoskeletalAssess bone densityAbnormalities can indicate osteoporosis or bone fractures.
MammographyBreastBreast cancer screeningAbnormalities may include breast masses or calcifications.
Pap SmearGynecologicalCervical cancer screeningAbnormalities can indicate cervical dysplasia or cancer.
BiopsyVariousTissue sample collectionAbnormal results may reveal malignancies or infections.
Lumbar PunctureNervous SystemCerebrospinal fluid analysisAbnormalities can indicate infections or neurological conditions.
Electroencephalogram (EEG)Nervous SystemRecording brain activityAbnormalities may indicate epilepsy or other neurological disorders.
ColonoscopyGastrointestinalExamination of the colonAbnormalities can include colorectal polyps or cancer.
ArthroscopyMusculoskeletalJoint examinationAbnormalities may include cartilage tears or joint inflammation.
Doppler UltrasoundCardiovascularAssess blood flowAbnormalities may indicate vascular blockages or aneurysms.
Liver BiopsyHepatobiliaryLiver tissue sampleAbnormalities can reveal liver diseases or cirrhosis.
Thyroid Function TestsEndocrineAssess thyroid hormonesAbnormalities may indicate hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Diagnostic ProcedureOrgan SystemIndicationMeaning of Abnormality
SpirometryRespiratoryAssess lung functionAbnormalities may indicate obstructive lung diseases like asthma or COPD.
Cardiac CatheterizationCardiovascularVisualizing heart vesselsAbnormalities can reveal coronary artery disease or blockages.
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)CardiovascularImaging blood vesselsAbnormalities may indicate aneurysms or vascular diseases.
CystoscopyUrinaryBladder examinationAbnormalities can include bladder tumors or inflammation.
SigmoidoscopyGastrointestinalLower bowel examinationAbnormalities may indicate colorectal polyps or disease.
Electromyography (EMG)MusculoskeletalAssess muscle and nerve functionAbnormalities can indicate neuromuscular disorders.
HysteroscopyGynecologicalUterine cavity inspectionAbnormalities can include uterine polyps or fibroids.
Nuclear Medicine ScansVariousAssess organ functionAbnormal findings may indicate tumors, infections, or functional issues.
FluoroscopyVariousReal-time X-ray imagingAbnormalities can reveal movement or blockages in organs.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)VariousFunctional imagingAbnormalities may indicate cancer, neurological conditions, or infections.
Thallium Stress TestCardiovascularAssess heart function under stressAbnormalities may indicate coronary artery disease or reduced blood flow to the heart.
Hemodynamic MonitoringCardiovascularMeasure heart and blood pressureAbnormalities can indicate heart failure or circulatory issues.
Nasogastric Tube PlacementGastrointestinalVerify tube placementAbnormal placement can lead to complications like aspiration.
Skin BiopsyIntegumentarySkin tissue samplingAbnormalities can reveal skin cancer or dermatological conditions.
Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPEP)HematologicalAssess blood proteinsAbnormalities can indicate multiple myeloma or other blood disorders.
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)GastrointestinalDetect hidden blood in stoolAbnormal results may suggest gastrointestinal bleeding or cancer.
Sputum CultureRespiratoryIdentify respiratory infectionsAbnormalities can indicate bacterial or fungal infections.
Treadmill Stress TestCardiovascularAssess heart function during exerciseAbnormalities may indicate heart disease or arrhythmias.
LaryngoscopyRespiratoryExamination of the larynxAbnormalities can include vocal cord disorders or tumors.
Transvaginal UltrasoundGynecologicalImaging pelvic organsAbnormalities may reveal ovarian cysts or uterine abnormalities.
Dobutamine Stress EchocardiogramCardiovascularAssess heart function with dobutamineAbnormalities can indicate coronary artery disease or heart muscle problems.
Remember that interpretation of test results should always consider the patient's clinical history, symptoms, and other relevant factors.
Hemodynamic LabOrgan SystemIndicationMeaning of Abnormality
Cardiac Output (CO)CardiovascularAssess heart performanceHigh CO: May indicate heart failure or hyperthyroidism. Low CO: Heart failure, shock, or severe dehydration.
Stroke Volume (SV)CardiovascularMeasure blood ejected per heartbeatHigh SV: Can occur in athletes or heart conditions. Low SV: Heart failure or valve disorders.
Heart Rate (HR)CardiovascularEvaluate heart rhythmHigh HR: May indicate fever, anxiety, or arrhythmias. Low HR: Bradycardia (slow heart rate) or heart block.
Blood Pressure (BP)CardiovascularAssess vascular functionHigh BP: Hypertension or stress. Low BP: Hypotension or shock.
Central Venous Pressure (CVP)CardiovascularEvaluate right heart functionHigh CVP: Right heart failure or fluid overload. Low CVP: Dehydration or blood loss.
Pulmonary Artery Pressure (PAP)CardiovascularAssess pulmonary circulationHigh PAP: Pulmonary hypertension or lung disease. Low PAP: May indicate hypovolemia or reduced cardiac output.
Pulmonary Capillary Wedge Pressure (PCWP)CardiovascularAssess left heart functionHigh PCWP: Left heart failure or valve disorders. Low PCWP: Hypovolemia or reduced cardiac output.
Systemic Vascular Resistance (SVR)CardiovascularMeasure resistance in systemic vesselsHigh SVR: May indicate hypertension. Low SVR: Vasodilation or sepsis.
Pulmonary Vascular Resistance (PVR)CardiovascularMeasure resistance in pulmonary vesselsHigh PVR: Pulmonary hypertension or lung disease. Low PVR: Vasodilation or reduced blood flow.