Obtaining a Urine Specimen

Urinalysis, or examination of the urine under a microscope and by chemical means, is a commonly used diagnostic tool in the health care setting. Substances found in urine during urinalysis can help doctors diagnose kidney disease, certain metabolic diseases, and infections. The collection and analysis of urine over the course of 24 hours allows for evaluation of kidney function. To perform urinalysis, a urine specimen must be obtained.
Depending on the situation, the method of collecting a urine specimen may vary. For routine urinalysis, no special collection procedures are necessary. The person is asked to urinate directly into the specimen cup, if possible. If this is diffi cult for the person, he or she can urinate into a specimen collection device , or into a bedpan or urinal. The person must not have a bowel movement at the same time the urine is being collected, or place toilet paper in the collection device, because these actions will change the urinalysis results. The urine is then poured from the collection device, bedpan, or urinal into the specimen cup.
In some situations, it may be necessary to obtain a midstream (“clean catch”) urine specimen using a sterile specimen container. This method of collecting urine prevents contamination of the urine by the bacteria that normally live in and around the urethra. A midstream (“clean catch”) urine specimen is usually ordered when the doctor suspects a urinary tract infection.
This way, if any bacteria are found in the urine sample, the doctor knows that they are the ones most likely responsible for the infection. When a midstream (“clean catch”) urine specimen is requested, the person is asked to clean the area around the urethral opening with a special cleansing wipe. The urine fl ow is started, then stopped, then started again. The urine sample is collected from the restarted fl ow. Your facility or agency may train you to do a type of routine urine testing that involves dipping chemically treated paper strips into a urine sample. Chemicals on the paper react with certain substances that may be found in the urine, causing the chemical blocks on the paper to change color if these substances are present in the urine. The paper is then compared with
a color chart that comes with the strips , and the results are recorded in the person’s chart and reported to the nurse.

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