Ace the NCLEX RN test using our NCLEX RN exam study guide with practice questions.
Quickly Solve Difficult NCLEX RN Test Questions with the NCLEX RN Flashcard Study System.
1. A patient arrives at the emergency department complaining of mid-sternal chest pain. Which of the following nursing action should take priority?
A. A complete history with emphasis on preceding events.
B. An electrocardiogram.
C. Careful assessment of vital signs.
D. Chest exam with auscultation.
2. A patient has been hospitalized with pneumonia and is about to be discharged. A nurse provides discharge instructions to a patient and his family. Which misunderstanding by the family indicates the need for more detailed information?
A. The patient may resume normal home activities as tolerated but should avoid physical exertion and get adequate rest.
B. The patient should resume a normal diet with emphasis on nutritious, healthy foods.
C. The patient may discontinue the prescribed course of oral antibiotics once the symptoms have completely resolved.
D. The patient should continue use of the incentive spirometer to keep airways open and free of secretions.
3. A nurse is caring for an elderly Vietnamese patient in the terminal stages of lung cancer. Many family members are in the room around the clock performing unusual rituals and bringing ethnic foods. Which of the following actions should the nurse take?
A. Restrict visiting hours and ask the family to limit visitors to two at a time.
B. Notify visitors with a sign on the door that the patient is limited to clear fluids only with no solid food allowed.
C. If possible, keep the other bed in the room unassigned to provide privacy and comfort to the family.
D. Contact the physician to report the unusual rituals and activities.
4. The charge nurse on the cardiac unit is planning assignments for the day. Which of the following is the most appropriate assignment for the float nurse that has been reassigned from labor and delivery?
A. A one-week postoperative coronary bypass patient, who is being evaluated for placement of a pacemaker prior to discharge.
B. A suspected myocardial infarction patient on telemetry, just admitted from the Emergency Department and scheduled for an angiogram.
C. A patient with unstable angina being closely monitored for pain and medication titration.
D. A post-operative valve replacement patient who was recently admitted to the unit because all surgical beds were filled.
5. A newly diagnosed 8-year-old child with type I diabetes mellitus and his mother are receiving diabetes education prior to discharge. The physician has prescribed Glucagon for emergency use. The mother asks the purpose of this medication. Which of the following statements by the nurse is correct?
A. Glucagon enhances the effect of insulin in case the blood sugar remains high one hour after injection.
B. Glucagon treats hypoglycemia resulting from insulin overdose.
C. Glucagon treats lipoatrophy from insulin injections.
D. Glucagon prolongs the effect of insulin, allowing fewer injections.
6. A patient on the cardiac telemetry unit unexpectedly goes into ventricular fibrillation. The advanced cardiac life support team prepares to defibrillate. Which of the following choices indicates the correct placement of the conductive gel pads?
A. The left clavicle and right lower sternum.
B. Right of midline below the bottom rib and the left shoulder.
C. The upper and lower halves of the sternum.
D. The right side of the sternum just below the clavicle and left of the precordium.
7. The nurse performs an initial abdominal assessment on a patient newly admitted for abdominal pain. The nurse hears what she describes as "clicks and gurgles in all four quadrants" as well as "swishing or buzzing sound heard in one or two quadrants." Which of the following statements is correct?
A. The frequency and intensity of bowel sounds varies depending on the phase of digestion.
B. In the presence of intestinal obstruction, bowel sounds will be louder and higher pitched.
C. A swishing or buzzing sound may represent the turbulent blood flow of a bruit and is not normal.
D. All of the above.
8. A patient arrives in the emergency department and reports splashing concentrated household cleaner in his eye. Which of the following nursing actions is a priority?
A. Irrigate the eye repeatedly with normal saline solution.
B. Place fluorescein drops in the eye.
C. Patch the eye.
D. Test visual acuity.
9. A nurse is caring for a patient who has had hip replacement. The nurse should be most concerned about which of the following findings?
A. Complaints of pain during repositioning.
B. Scant bloody discharge on the surgical dressing.
C. Complaints of pain following physical therapy.
D. Temperature of 101.8 F (38.7 C).
10. A child is admitted to the hospital with an uncontrolled seizure disorder. The admitting physician writes orders for actions to be taken in the event of a seizure. Which of the following actions would NOT be included?
A. Notify the physician.
B. Restrain the patient's limbs.
C. Position the patient on his/her side with the head flexed forward.
D. Administer rectal diazepam.
11. Emergency department triage is an important nursing function. A nurse working the evening shift is presented with four patients at the same time. Which of the following patients should be assigned the highest priority?
A. A patient with low-grade fever, headache, and myalgias for the past 72 hours.
B. A patient who is unable to bear weight on the left foot, with swelling and bruising following a running accident.
C. A patient with abdominal and chest pain following a large, spicy meal.
D. A child with a one-inch bleeding laceration on the chin but otherwise well after falling while jumping on his bed.
12. A patient is admitted to the hospital with a calcium level of 6.0 mg/dL. Which of the following symptoms would you NOT expect to see in this patient?
A. Numbness in hands and feet.
B. Muscle cramping.
C. Hypoactive bowel sounds.
D. Positive Chvostek's sign.
13. A nurse cares for a patient who has a nasogastric tube attached to low suction because of a suspected bowel obstruction. Which of the following arterial blood gas results might be expected in this patient?
A. pH 7.52, PCO2 54 mm Hg.
B. pH 7.42, PCO2 40 mm Hg.
C. pH 7.25, PCO2 25 mm Hg.
D. pH 7.38, PCO2 36 mm Hg.
14. A patient is admitted to the hospital for routine elective surgery. Included in the list of current medications is Coumadin (warfarin) at a high dose. Concerned about the possible effects of the drug, particularly in a patient scheduled for surgery, the nurse anticipates which of the following actions?
A. Draw a blood sample for prothrombin (PT) and international normalized ratio (INR) level.
B. Administer vitamin K.
C. Draw a blood sample for type and crossmatch and request blood from the blood bank.
D. Cancel the surgery after the patient reports stopping the Coumadin one week previously.
15. The follow lab results are received for a patient. Which of the following results are abnormal? Note: More than one answer may be correct.
A. Hemoglobin 10.4 g/dL.
B. Total cholesterol 340 mg/dL.
C. Total serum protein 7.0 g/dL.
D. Glycosylated hemoglobin A1C 5.4%.
16. A nurse is performing routine assessment of an IV site in a patient receiving both IV fluids and medications through the line. Which of the following would indicate the need for discontinuation of the IV line as the next nursing action?
A. The patient complains of pain on movement.
B. The area proximal to the insertion site is reddened, warm, and painful.
C. The IV solution is infusing too slowly, particularly when the limb is elevated.
D. A hematoma is visible in the area of the IV insertion site.
17. A hospitalized patient has received transfusions of 2 units of blood over the past few hours. A nurse enters the room to find the patient sitting up in bed, dyspneic and uncomfortable. On assessment, crackles are heard in the bases of both lungs, probably indicating that the patient is experiencing a complication of transfusion. Which of the following complications is most likely the cause of the patient's symptoms?
A. Febrile non-hemolytic reaction.
B. Allergic transfusion reaction.
C. Acute hemolytic reaction.
D. Fluid overload.
18. A patient in labor and delivery has just received an amniotomy. Which of the following is correct? Note: More than one answer may be correct.
A. Frequent checks for cervical dilation will be needed after the procedure.
B. Contractions may rapidly become stronger and closer together after the procedure.
C. The FHR (fetal heart rate) will be followed closely after the procedure due to the possibility of cord compression.
D. The procedure is usually painless and is followed by a gush of amniotic fluid.
19. A nurse is counseling the mother of a newborn infant with hyperbilirubinemia. Which of the following instructions by the nurse is NOT correct?
A. Continue to breastfeed frequently, at least every 2-4 hours.
B. Follow up with the infant's physician within 72 hours of discharge for a recheck of the serum bilirubin and exam.
C. Watch for signs of dehydration, including decreased urinary output and changes in skin turgor.
D. Keep the baby quiet and swaddled, and place the bassinet in a dimly lit area.
20. A nurse is giving discharge instructions to the parents of a healthy newborn. Which of the following instructions should the nurse provide regarding car safety and the trip home from the hospital?
A. The infant should be restrained in an infant car seat, properly secured in the back seat in a rear-facing position.
B. The infant should be restrained in an infant car seat, properly secured in the front passenger seat.
C. The infant should be restrained in an infant car seat facing forward or rearward in the back seat.
D. For the trip home from the hospital, the parent may sit in the back seat and hold the newborn.
1. Answer: C
The priority nursing action for a patient arriving at the ED in distress is always assessment of vital signs. This indicates the extent of physical compromise and provides a baseline by which to plan further assessment and treatment. A thorough medical history, including onset of symptoms, will be necessary and it is likely that an electrocardiogram will be performed as well, but these are not the first priority. Similarly, chest exam with auscultation may offer useful information after vital signs are assessed.
2. Answer: C
It is always critical that patients being discharged from the hospital take prescribed medications as instructed. In the case of antibiotics, a full course must be completed even after symptoms have resolved to prevent incomplete eradication of the organism and recurrence of infection. The patient should resume normal activities as tolerated, as well as a nutritious diet. Continued use of the incentive spirometer after discharge will speed recovery and improve lung function.
3. Answer: C
When a family member is dying, it is most helpful for nursing staff to provide a culturally sensitive environment to the degree possible within the hospital routine. In the Vietnamese culture, it is important that the dying be surrounded by loved ones and not left alone. Traditional rituals and foods are thought to ease the transition to the next life. When possible, allowing the family privacy for this traditional behavior is best for them and the patient. Answers A, B, and D are incorrect because they create unnecessary conflict with the patient and family.
4. Answer: A
The charge nurse planning assignments must consider the skills of the staff and the needs of the patients. The labor and delivery nurse who is not experienced with the needs of cardiac patients should be assigned to those with the least acute needs. The patient who is one-week post-operative and nearing discharge is likely to require routine care. A new patient admitted with suspected MI and scheduled for angiography would require continuous assessment as well as coordination of care that is best carried out by experienced staff. The unstable patient requires staff that can immediately identify symptoms and respond appropriately. A post-operative patient also requires close monitoring and cardiac experience.
5. Answer: B
Glucagon is given to treat insulin overdose in an unresponsive patient. Following Glucagon administration, the patient should respond within 15-20 minutes at which time oral carbohydrates should be given. Glucagon reverses rather than enhances or prolongs the effects of insulin. Lipoatrophy refers to the effect of repeated insulin injections on subcutaneous fat.
6. Answer: D
One gel pad should be placed to the right of the sternum, just below the clavicle and the other just left of the precordium, as indicated by the anatomic location of the heart. To defibrillate, the paddles are placed over the pads. Options A, B, and C are not consistent with the position of the heart and are therefore incorrect responses.
7. Answer: D
All of the statements are true. The gurgles and clicks described in the question represent normal bowel sounds, which vary with the phase of digestion. Intestinal obstruction causes the sounds to intensify as the normal flow is blocked by the obstruction. The swishing and buzzing sound of turbulent blood flow may be heard in the abdomen in the presence of abdominal aortic aneurism, for example, and should always be considered abnormal.
8. Answer: A
Emergency treatment following a chemical splash to the eye includes immediate irrigation with normal saline. The irrigation should be continued for at least 10 minutes. Fluorescein drops are used to check for scratches on the cornea due to their fluorescent properties and are not part of the initial care of a chemical splash, nor is patching the eye. Following irrigation, visual acuity will be assessed.
9. Answer: D
Post-surgical nursing assessment after hip replacement should be principally concerned with the risk of neurovascular complications and the development of infection. A temperature of 101.8 F (38.7 C) postoperatively is higher than the low grade that is to be expected and should raise concern. Some pain during repositioning and following physical therapy is to be expected and can be managed with analgesics. A small amount of bloody drainage on the surgical dressing is a result of normal healing.
10. Answer: B
During a witnessed seizure, nursing actions should focus on securing the patient's safely and curtailing the seizure. Restraining the limbs is not indicated because strong muscle contractions could cause injury. A side-lying position with head flexed forward allows for drainage of secretions and prevents the tongue from falling back, blocking the airway. Rectal diazepam may be a treatment ordered by the physician, who should be notified of the seizure.
11. Answer: C
Emergency triage involves quick patient assessment to prioritize the need for further evaluation and care. Patients with trauma, chest pain, respiratory distress, or acute neurological changes are always classified number one priority. Though the patient with chest pain presented in the question recently ate a spicy meal and may be suffering from heartburn, he also may be having an acute myocardial infarction and require urgent attention. The patient with fever, headache and muscle aches (classic flu symptoms) should be classified as non-urgent. The patient with the foot injury may have sustained a sprain or fracture, and the limb should be x-rayed as soon as is practical, but the damage is unlikely to worsen if there is a delay. The child's chin laceration may need to be sutured but is also non-urgent.
12. Answer: C
Normal serum calcium is 8.5 - 10 mg/dL. The patient is hypocalcemic. Increased gastric motility, resulting in hyperactive (not hypoactive) bowel sounds, abdominal cramping and diarrhea is an indication of hypocalcemia. Numbness in hands and feet and muscle cramps are also signs of hypocalcemia. Positive Chvostek's sign refers to the sustained twitching of facial muscles following tapping in the area of the cheekbone and is a hallmark of hypocalcemia.
13. Answer: A
A patient on nasogastric suction is at risk of metabolic alkalosis as a result of loss of hydrochloric acid in gastric fluid. Of the answers given, only answer A (pH 7.52, PCO2 54 mm Hg) represents alkalosis. Answer B is a normal blood gas. Answer C represents respiratory acidosis. Answer D is borderline normal with slightly low PCO2.
14. Answer: A
The effect of Coumadin is to inhibit clotting. The next step is to check the PT and INR to determine the patient's anticoagulation status and risk of bleeding. Vitamin K is an antidote to Coumadin and may be used in a patient who is at imminent risk of dangerous bleeding. Preparation for transfusion, as described in option C, is only indicated in the case of significant blood loss. If lab results indicate an anticoagulation level that would place the patient at risk of excessive bleeding, the surgeon may choose to delay surgery and discontinue the medication.
15. Answer: A and B
Normal hemoglobin in adults is 12 - 16 g/dL. Total cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL or below are considered normal. Total serum protein of 7.0-g/dL and glycosylated hemoglobin A1c of 5.4% are both normal levels.
16. Answer: B
An IV site that is red, warm, painful and swollen indicates that phlebitis has developed and the line should be discontinued and restarted at another site. Pain on movement should be managed by maneuvers such as splinting the limb with an IV board or gently shifting the position of the catheter before making a decision to remove the line. An IV line that is running slowly may simply need flushing or repositioning. A hematoma at the site is likely a result of minor bleeding at the time of insertion and does not require discontinuation of the line.
17. Answer: D
Fluid overload occurs when then the fluid volume infused over a short period is too great for the vascular system, causing fluid leak into the lungs. Symptoms include dyspnea, rapid respirations, and discomfort as in the patient described. Febrile non-hemolytic reaction results in fever. Symptoms of allergic transfusion reaction would include flushing, itching, and a generalized rash. Acute hemolytic reaction may occur when a patient receives blood that is incompatible with his blood type. It is the most serious adverse transfusion reaction and can cause shock and death.
18. Answer: B, C, and D
Uterine contractions typically become stronger and occur more closely together following amniotomy. The FHR is assessed immediately after the procedure and followed closely to detect changes that may indicate cord compression. The procedure itself is painless and results in the quick expulsion of amniotic fluid. Following amniotomy, cervical checks are minimized because of the risk of infection
19. Answer: D
An infant discharged home with hyperbilirubinemia (newborn jaundice) should be placed in a sunny rather than dimly lit area with skin exposed to help process the bilirubin. Frequent feedings will help to metabolize the bilirubin. A recheck of the serum bilirubin and a physical exam within 72 hours will confirm that the level is falling and the infant is thriving and is well hydrated. Signs of dehydration, including decreased urine output and skin changes, indicate inadequate fluid intake and will worsen the hyperbilirubinemia.
20. Answer: A
All infants under 1 year of age weighing less than 20 lbs. should be placed in a rear-facing infant car seat secured properly in the back seat. Infant car seats should never be placed in the front passenger seat. Infants should always be placed in an approved car seat during travel, even on that first ride home from the hospital.
For additional information, we recommend you check out these free NCLEX RN test resources: