Describe the importance of nurses understanding the different types of white blood cells.
Each of the blood's components perform specific vital functions . Therefore nurses need to understand the roles these components play in order to assess, and identify normal, and abnormal lab values as well as their function when providing care and thus saving patients’ lives.
In the clinical area where I practice, nurses have to monitor critical lab values results. The communication is timed and the results must be communicated to the ordering physician within 30 minutes of the time the results are known in order to meet national patient safety and compliance standards.
White blood cells (WBC) or leukocytes are whole cells with normal levels being 5000 - 10000/µl. They protect the body against harmful bacteria and infection. They increase for example not only in acute infection but trauma, and malignant diseases. They decrease, for example in immunosuppression , in anemia and diabetes mellitus. An elevated white blood count (leukocytosis ) above 10000/µl can indicate inflammation or infection. It is a normal protective response to stresses such as invading microbes ( Tortora & Derrickson, 2006, p 677 ) . When white blood count is low ( leukopenia ), below 5000/µl, causes may be from systemic shock, radiation therapy, and chemotherapeutic agents. With a abnormal low neutrophil count (neutropenia ) the patient may be at risk for infection and have potential to get septecemia. In my clinical area of practice the patient is placed on neutropenic precautions where reverse isolation is done to protect the patient from others. Blood, urine, sputum, and wound cultures are ordered and specimens sent to the lab by nurses. After specimens are collected the patient is started on gram negative and gram positive antibiotic until culture and sensitivity results are available.
White blood cells...