My second year has flown by before my eyes and I can hardly believe it. Looking back on the year, there has been an incredible amount of material that we have learned, and one of the most valuable and practical things that I have learned is about how to interpret blood work.
The complete blood count, or CBC, and the chemistry panels are an important part of the high standard of care that we offer our patients and knowing what all of it means takes time and practice. I remember last summer when I worked at an emergency clinic, almost every patient had blood work run on the analyzer. I would fumble through trying to read them but really only knew so much (or so little), and although I asked a lot of questions, some of it still didn’t make sense. How will I ever learn all of this? Enter clinical pathology class.
In clinical pathology, we have gone through step by step learning about each analyte on the CBC/Chem. We started with blood learning all of the components including red blood cells, proteins, and white blood cells. We learned how to classify anemia, and what causes different types of anemia. After weeks learning about blood, we moved onto electrolytes, urinalysis, minerals, lipids, liver enzymes and more. Within each of these different sections, we learn about diseases and indications that can cause a value of a certain analyte to be outside of the normal range. We will be finishing our semester learning about the endocrine system and how to interpret different tests.
Clinical pathology has been a lot of work. It’s a class that we have every single day, and everything that we are learning is important and will most likely, for the majority of us, be used every single day in our careers. It is a class that despite all of the hard work, I appreciate wholeheartedly and I understand that importance of being able to decipher the ever complex blood work.