Lab Values for NCLEX PN

Appearing for an NCLEX-PN exam can be a daunting task, and as the dreaded date of examination comes close, the anxiety of the aspirants rises. Cracking NCLEX-PN exam might seem like a big task, but it is far from being impossible. With the help of cram sheets, NCLEX-PN lab value practice questions, and dedicated studying, you can easily score well in this exam.

While you are preparing for your test, don’t underestimate the worth of a cram sheet. It is a repository of all crucial information, theories, steps and common lab values for NCLEX-PN that you can refer to in the hour of need. We suggest that every student must make his/her cram sheet, but we have prepared a sample for you.

To successfully crack the exam, you will need to memorize lab values for NCLEX-PN. While preparing your cram sheet, try to put in as many normal lab values as you can. They will help you solve NCLEX-PN lab value questions quickly.

Below are some of the common lab values to know for the NCLEX PN exam:

Serum Electrolytes

  • Calcium: 8.5-10.9mg/L
  • Chloride: 98-107
  • Magnesium: 1.6-2.6 mg/dL
  • Phosphorus: 2.5-4.5mg/dL
  • Potassium: 3.5-5.1
  • Sodium: 135-145 mEq/L

Hematology Values

  • RBC: 4.5-5.0million
  • WBC: 5,000-10,000
  • Platlets: 200,000-400,000
  • Hemoglobin: 12-16g/dL for women; 14-18g/dL for Men
  • Hematocrit: 37-48% for Women; 45-52% for Men

Arterial Blood Gases (ABGs)

  • pH: 7.35-7.45
  • pCO2: 35-45 mEq/L
  • HCO3: 24-26 mEq/L
  • pO2: 80-100%

Chemistry Values

  • Glucose: 70-110mg/dL
  • Specific gravity: 1.010-1.030
  • BUN: 7-22mg/dL
  • Serum Creatinine: 0.6-1.35mg/dL (< 2 in older adults)
  • LDH: 100-190U/L
  • CPK: 21-232 U/L
  • Uric Acid: 3.5-7.5mg/dL
  • Triglyceride: 40-50 mg/dL
  • Totalcholesterol: 130-200mg/dL
  • Bilirubin: <1.0mg/dL
  • Protein: 6.2-8.1g/dL
  • Albumin: 3.4-5.0g/dL

Lipoproteins & Triglycerides

  • Total: <200mg/dL
  • Triglycerides: <150mg/dL
  • HDL: >60mg/dL
  • LDL: <70mg/dL
  • AST: <40U/L
  • ALT: <40U/L
  • ALP: 42-128U/L


  • HCT Female: 37-47%
  • HCT Male: 42-52%
  • HGB Female: 12-16g/dL
  • HGB Male: 14-18g/dL
  • WBC: 5,000-10,000/uL
  • Platelets: 150,000-400,000mm3
  • PT: 11-12.5 Seconds (1.5-2.5 times this if on warfarin)
  • aPTT: 30-40 Seconds (1.5-2 times this with heparin)
  • INR: 0.8-1.1 (if on warfarin 2-3)


  • Troponin: <0.01ng/mL
  • C-reactive Protein: ≤0.8mg/dL
  • CD40 Ligand: 1.51-5.35mg/L
  • Creatinine Kinase: 0-3mcg/L


  • Amylase: 56-90IU/L
  • Lipase: 0-110units/L
  • Total Bilirubin: 0-1mg/dL
  • Albumin: 3.5-5g/dL
  • Alfa-fetoprotein: <10ng/mL is the adult normal; >500 indicative of liver tumors
  • Ammonia: 15-110mg/dL
  • BUN: 10-20mg/dL
  • Serum Creatinine: 0.6-1.2mg/dL
  • Creatinine Clearance: Females = 80-125mL/min, Males = 90-139mL/min
  • GFR: 125mL/min
  • Fasting Blood Glucose: <100mg/dL
  • HbA1C: Normal = <5.7, Prediabetic = 5.7-6.4, Diabetic if 6.5 or higher on 2 separate tests

Thyroid Function

  • Total T3: 70-205ng/dL
  • T4: 4-12mcg/dL
  • TSH: 0.4-0.6microunits/mL


  • Urine Specific Gravity: 1.003-1.030
  • Volume: 1-2L/day
  • pH: 4.5-8
  • Glucose: <130mg/dL
  • RBC: ≤3RBCs
  • WBCs: ≤2-5WBCs/hpf
  • Protein: ≤150mg/dL
  • Bacteria: none
  • Ketones: none
  • Nitrites: negative

The ABCs

While solving questions on prioritization, you need to always follow the ABCs of priority.

A – Airways:

It is always the top priority. Make sure that the airway is clear before moving on to the next alphabet because if the airway is lodged, then air can’t get into the body, thus obstructing a patient from breathing.

B – Breathing:

The second priority is breathing. If a patient faces difficulty in breathing, then the health hazard is quite apparent and life-threatening. If no oxygen is being supplied to the lungs of a patient, then it cannot be mixed with the blood and circulated across the body.

C – Circulation:

The last step is making sure that the blood is circulating in the patient’s body. If there is no proper circulation of blood in a patient’s body, then the threat of him going into a cardiac arrest or suffering from Hypoxia becomes quite prominent.

This principle is a variation of a little vague theory of ‘look, listen and feel’. It proposes that the first thing a nurse needs to do is looking inside the patient’s mouth to make sure that the airway is not blocked. The second step asks you to listen to the patient’s breathing, and then finally you are required to feel for a pulse to make sure there is circulation of blood in his body.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who came up with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A human, in order to live a healthy life, requires essentials which make sure that he/she is emotionally and physically fit. Maslow came up with a list of these essential things and then arranged them based on the increasing order of their requirement and involvement in a human’s life. The theory is often visualized as a pyramid, with the most significant and basic needs at the bottom, and the least important out of all the fundamental needs at the top.

The theory has five levels:

  • Physiological Needs
  • Safety Needs
  • Social Belonging Needs
  • Self-esteem Needs
  • Self-actualization Needs
    1. Physiological Needs

    The bottom and the most extensive section of this theory is the physiological needs. They denote the basic physical requirements of a human for a happy life. If these basic requirements are not met, then it leads to displeasure, lack of motivation and sadness. Some of the physiological needs are:

    • Food
    • Water
    • Air
    • Shelter
    • Sleep
    • Stability
    2. Safety Needs

    The second most important requirement to ensure a healthy and happy life is safety. Once a human’s basic needs have been taken care of, he/she always feels safe. There can be various reasons why a person might not feel safe, such as physical dangers, plague, riots, tension, etc., which can lead to trauma. Economic insecurity due to recessions or financial losses can also cause a great deal of mental stress. Apart from this, emotional safety is equally important for an individual. Toxic or abusive relationships can irreparably damage a person emotionally as well.

    3. Social Belonging Needs

    Being a leper can cause massive emotional trauma to a person. We all want to feel like we belong to a group/creed. We want to socialize with people who share the same ideologies as us, or like and hate the same things as we do. Humans are social animals, never forget, and we all want to love and feel loved. It is entirely conclusive why Maslow considered this need to be essential for a human to live a healthy life.

    4. Self-Esteem Needs

    One trait most humans share is the need to be accepted, respected, and recognized. We all want to feel that warmth of spotlight over us, and be the center of attention. Our ego, esteem tells us that we are unique and others should accept that as well. Whether it is in a corporate setting or anywhere else, we all want to climb up the hierarchy and get recognition for our work because, strangely, it makes us feel validated. So, the fourth tier of the theory is one’s self-esteem needs.

    5. Self-Actualization Need

    This need sits on top of the pyramid and demands all the lower needs be satisfied. Self-actualization is the process of a person realizing his/her real potential. When an individual is convinced that all the other needs to live a happy life have been met, he/she can focus on the possessed potential. This layer varies from person to person because we all, in the end, are different.
    For example, if a writer can meet the lower needs, he might realize in this layer that he has the potential to write the next big commercial fiction novel, and he’ll start working towards it, feeling motivated.

The Nursing Process

This process lays out a map for nurses to follow and provide personalized care to every patient individually, based on the condition. The nursing process lays down a series of steps, but they are not exactly exclusive to one another and may overlap sometimes. It goes like this:


It is the preliminary step in the process in which you to check a patient in order to collect a set of data for further advancements. It often overlaps with the next step.


According to the data collected in the previous step, this step will need you to find out what exactly is wrong with the patient.


Once you have figured out the problem, it is time to start planning a way to tackle it.


The fourth step will require you to put your plan to work.


After you have done what you had planned, you need to see if it worked or not, and devise a strategy accordingly.

The Six Rights

Every medical oversight can be traced back to one of these six rights which was not appropriately followed by a medical professional.

Right Client:

It requires a nurse to identify a patient by comparing the name on his ID band with his medical administration form.

Right Medication:

It happens all too often that a patient is lost due to an oversight or a mix-up of his/her medications. So, there is a need always to make sure that a patient is receiving the correct medicines. Also, a nurse must prepare a dose because in case a disaster strikes and the worst should come to pass, the blame will fall on the nurse who administered the medicine, even if it was not her fault.

Right Dose:

A drug overdose is a quite common occurrence in hospitals. Moreover, to reduce the risk, a unit dose system is designed. Always get a colleague to check the dose after preparing it to diminish the danger of an overdose.

Right Time:

In sensitive cases, the time a specific drug is given is crucial, and a nurse should understand when this constraint can be evaded and when it cannot be.

Right Route:

In delicate conditions, the route drug is administered through is essential. Some drugs are given orally, some are injected directly in the bloodstream, and some are provided via IV. A prescriber must specify the route of a drug, and the nurse must double check in case the way suggested is uncommon for that particular drug.

Right Documentation:

Data can save lives if it is looked after and created with care. A nurse must prepare documentation for every patient, and fill out all the details like name, the drug administered, dose, time, etc. Proper documentation can prevent many medical oversights, so make sure not to let the tediousness of the task get in your way.