instructions should be kept with the reagents used. Follow the manufacturer's
instructions or consult hospital standing operating procedures (SOP).
2-12. URINE SPECIMENS
Urinalysis is included in a health examination, and as part of the admission
process for all inpatients. Simple urine tests, such as for sugar and acetone, are often
performed by the nurse in the hospital or by the patient at home. Urine is assessed first
for its physical appearance:
a. Color. Freshly voided urine is transparent and light amber in color. The
amount and kinds of waste in the urine make it lighter or darker. Blood in the urine
colors it; if the amount of blood in the urine is great, the urine will be red. During a flare-
up of chronic nephritis, the small number of red blood cells present in the urine give it a
b. Odor. Freshly voided urine has a characteristic odor. When urine stands,
decomposition from bacterial activity gives it an ammonia-like odor. Refrigerate the
urine sample if it is not to be examined at once.
2-13. MIDSTREAM URINE SPECIMEN
Midstream (clean-catch) urine collection is the most common method of obtaining
urine specimens from adults, particularly men. This method allows a specimen, which
is not contaminated from external sources to be obtained without catheterization.
a. Supplies and Equipment.
Sterile specimen cup.
Zephiran, a soap solution, or three antiseptic towelettes.
Three cotton balls (to use with zephiran or soap solution).
Laboratory request form.
(1) Instruct the patient to clean the urethral area thoroughly. This will
prevent external bacteria from entering the specimen. The female should wipe from
front to back to avoid contaminating the vaginal and urethral area from the anal area.
She should clean each side with a separate cotton ball or towelette, then use the last
one for the urethral area itself. The male should cleanse the penis, using the first cotton
ball or towelette for the urethral meatus, the next cotton ball to clean the end of the
penis, and the last to cleanse the urethral opening.