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Advice and reassurance, labs interpretation.

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Hello. Need an advice and reassurance. When I am given a lab sheet, I take 2-3 minutes to go over and picture the physiology in my head. For some reason, I can't just instantly recognize the pattern of labs. Is it normal for an MS2 to be slow with reading labs and interpreting them? Clerkship is in one year, am I supposed to be super quick with labs by then?

So, what should I do? How can I improve? Should I memorize the patterns? This sounds insane. I am not one of those who memorizes things and spills out facts like a reflex.

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The more you see the faster you become, as with anything. In clerkship, it's probably best just to learn which values are most important to look at and what is actually a clinically important change from baseline (Unlike "HOUSE", often something borderline doesn't warrant too much second thought). By the end of clerkship you should have a general approach to abnormal values (i.e. differential, management, etc. for anemia, electrolyte abnormalities, elevated LFTs, ABGs, etc.). However, a lot of absolute values may change slightly depending on which hospital you work at and the assays they use in their labs and that is why they are always reported with reference ranges which everyone still uses even into practice.

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