Thursday, August 29, 2013

TIPS FOR STUDENT NURSES: THE POWER OF ELECTROLYTES


clinical nursing practice

Nurses sometime underestimate the power of electrolytes. Although we learn about electrolytes is nursing school, we typically don’t carve out a lot of time for them like we do with the cardiac or respiratory system. Yet electrolytes are involved in every single muscle contraction, digestive process, and brain impulse!!
Understanding the role of electrolytes can help you understand every body system and chemical reaction needed to survive. It can also help you anticipate and prevent patient complications and provide high quality care.
As a student or new nurse, you MUST master electrolytes!
THE BASICS
Basically, you have the same amount of electrolytes INSIDE the cell as you do OUTSIDE. However, when we draw blood from patients, we can only measure what’s outside.
Consider Potassium. Normal serum potassium is 3.5 – 5.0 meq/L. Not very much. However, if you could measure how much potassium was INSIDE the cell you find around 145 meq/L.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Nurses spend a lot of time monitoring and replacing electrolytes. The speed in which you replace some electrolytes is critical!! Too fast and you can cause the patient to go into cardiac arrest!
General rule of thumb
If you have more of that electrolyte INSIDE the cell than OUTSIDE, replace slowly. For example – potassium and magnesium. You would never want to push potassium – I would consider that a lethal injection!!
Before giving any electrolyte, always think…
·      Why am I giving this electrolyte replacement?
·      How can I administer this electrolyte safely?
·      How will the body respond?
·      How will I know the replacement was effective?
Remember, ignorance is NOT a defense. Know your electrolytes!
Thanks for reading and for choosing to become a nurse. I’m cheering for your success!
Renee
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5 comments:

  1. Good Work Renee Thompson, Thanks for giving out excellent information. Your article is interesting and I have forwarded it to some of my links.
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    1. Thanks Daisy!! Thanks for sharing too :-)

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  2. Renee Thompson please accept my thanks and congratulations on the success of your recent work. I think your article is a great motivator for many students who need a little extra push. Our schools are doing a good job with limited resources, and they appreciate all the help we can give them. Thanks again for such uplifting coverage.
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  3. Thanks so much for commenting Tegan. Glad to help!! I haven't created any new content for this blog because I'm focusing on my other one - blog.rtconnections.com. Good resources there too but focuses more on professional practice.
    Your students are lucky to have you!
    Renee

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