Correlations: (Barium, Potassium, Lithium, Iodine, Oxygen)


My notes on correlating chemistry with the medical field, are notes on how we will see chemistry within the medical setting. It’s not like nurses are chemists, however, as a nurse you will see chemical names and formulas.

Let’s start with BARIUM (Ba):

Polyatomic Ion

barium sulfate 1

Lewis structure

barium sulfate 2

Barium Sulfate is a polyatomic ion, and you will learn about these in your chemistry health course. 


barium sulfate 4

Barium Sulfate is used frequently as a radiocontrast agent for X – ray imaging. It can also be used for other diagnostic procedures. It is used mainly for imaging of the GI tract during what is colloquially known as a “barium meal”. It can be taken orally, or by enema, as a suspension of fine particles in a thick milk like solution (usually has sweetened flavors added).


Barium Sulfate

barium sulfate 3

Next, we’ll go to POTASSIUM (K):

Potassium Permanganate

Polyatomic ion

potassium 1

Lewis structure

potassium 2


Potassium Permanganate

Potassium Permanganate is used as an antiseptic.


Miscellaneous info on potassium:

Taken from

Potassium: The major positive ion (cation) found inside cells. The chemical notation for potassium is K+. The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. An abnormal increase in potassium (hyperkalemia) or decrease in potassium (hypokalemia) can profoundly affect the nervous system and heart, and when extreme, can be fatal. The normal blood potassium level is 3.5’5.0 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L), or 3.5 international units.


Lithium (Li):

Lithium carbonate is used to treat Bipolar Disorder amongst other mental ailments.

Polyatomic Ion


Lewis structure





Iodine (I):



Iodine reduces thyroid hormone and can kill fungus, bacteria, and other microorganisms such as amoebas. A specific kind of iodine called potassium iodide is also used to treat (but not prevent) the effects of a radioactive accident.

Oxygen (O):

Medical oxygen is used to: … restore tissue oxygentension by improving oxygen availability in a wide range of conditions such as COPD, cyanosis, shock, severe hemorrhage, carbon monoxide poisoning, major trauma, cardiac/respiratory arrest. aid resuscitation. provide life support for artificially ventilated patients.



The notes and information gathered above is NOT all the uses of these elements and compounds. It’s just a highlight of how chemistry relates to nursing. There are many more ways these elements and compounds can be used within the medical field.