A series of blood tests and skin tests and a bone marrow biopsy may be performed to evaluate the patient’s immune competence. Specific laboratory and diagnostic tests are discussed in greater de-tail along with specific disease processes in subsequent. Laboratory and diagnostic tests used to evaluate immune competence are summarized in Chart 50-3.
The nurse needs to be aware that patients undergoing evalua-tion for possible immune system disorders experience not only physical pain and discomfort with certain types of diagnostic procedures, but many psychological reactions as well. For ex-ample, patients may fear test results that demonstrate decreased immune function that makes them more prone to certain in-fections, cancers, and other disorders. It is the nurse’s role to counsel, educate, and support patients throughout the diagnos-tic process. Further, many patients may be extremely anxious about the results of diagnostic tests and the possible implica-tions of those results for their employment, insurance, and per-sonal relationships. This is an opportune time for the nurse to provide counseling and education should these interventions be warranted.