Chapter 17: Fluid, Electrolyte, and Acid-Base Imbalances Nursing School Test Banks

Chapter 17: Fluid, Electrolyte, and Acid-Base Imbalances

Test Bank

MULTIPLE CHOICE

1. The nurse is caring for a patient with a massive burn injury and possible hypovolemia. Which assessment data will be of most concern to the nurse?

a.

Blood pressure is 90/40 mm Hg.

b.

Urine output is 30 mL over the last hour.

c.

Oral fluid intake is 100 mL for the last 8 hours.

d.

There is prolonged skin tenting over the sternum.

ANS: A

The blood pressure indicates that the patient may be developing hypovolemic shock as a result of intravascular fluid loss due to the burn injury. This finding will require immediate intervention to prevent the complications associated with systemic hypoperfusion. The poor oral intake, decreased urine output, and skin tenting all indicate the need for increasing the patients fluid intake but not as urgently as the hypotension.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 292

TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

2. A patient who has a small cell carcinoma of the lung develops syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH). The nurse should notify the health care provider about which assessment finding?

a.

Reported weight gain

b.

Serum hematocrit of 42%

c.

Serum sodium level of 120 mg/dL

d.

Total urinary output of 280 mL during past 8 hours

ANS: C

Hyponatremia is the most important finding to report. SIADH causes water retention and a decrease in serum sodium level. Hyponatremia can cause confusion and other central nervous system effects. A critically low value likely needs to be treated. At least 30 mL/hr of urine output indicates adequate kidney function. The hematocrit level is normal. Weight gain is expected with SIADH because of water retention.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 295-296

TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

3. A patient is admitted for hypovolemia associated with multiple draining wounds. Which assessment would be the most accurate way for the nurse to evaluate fluid balance?

a.

Skin turgor

b.

Daily weight

c.

Presence of edema

d.

Hourly urine output

ANS: B

Daily weight is the most easily obtained and accurate means of assessing volume status. Skin turgor varies considerably with age. Considerable excess fluid volume may be present before fluid moves into the interstitial space and causes edema. Although very important, hourly urine outputs do not take account of fluid intake or of fluid loss through insensible loss, sweating, or loss from the gastrointestinal tract or wounds.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 292

TOP: Nursing Process: Evaluation MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

4. The home health nurse cares for an alert and oriented older adult patient with a history of dehydration. Which instructions should the nurse give to this patient related to fluid intake?

a.

Increase fluids if your mouth feels dry.

b.

More fluids are needed if you feel thirsty.

c.

Drink more fluids in the late evening hours.

d.

If you feel lethargic or confused, you need more to drink.

ANS: A

An alert, older patient will be able to self-assess for signs of oral dryness such as thick oral secretions or dry-appearing mucosa. The thirst mechanism decreases with age and is not an accurate indicator of volume depletion. Many older patients prefer to restrict fluids slightly in the evening to improve sleep quality. The patient will not be likely to notice and act appropriately when changes in level of consciousness occur.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 293

TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation MSC: NCLEX: Health Promotion and Maintenance

5. A patient who is taking a potassium-wasting diuretic for treatment of hypertension complains of generalized weakness. It is most appropriate for the nurse to take which action?

a.

Assess for facial muscle spasms.

b.

Ask the patient about loose stools.

c.

Suggest that the patient avoid orange juice with meals.

d.

Ask the health care provider to order a basic metabolic panel.

ANS: D

Generalized weakness is a manifestation of hypokalemia. After the health care provider orders the metabolic panel, the nurse should check the potassium level. Facial muscle spasms might occur with hypocalcemia. Orange juice is high in potassium and would be advisable to drink if the patient was hypokalemic. Loose stools are associated with hyperkalemia.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 297-298

TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

6. Spironolactone (Aldactone), an aldosterone antagonist, is prescribed for a patient. Which statement by the patient indicates that the teaching about this medication has been effective?

a.

I will try to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.

b.

I will use a salt substitute to decrease my sodium intake.

c.

I will increase my intake of potassium-containing foods.

d.

I will drink apple juice instead of orange juice for breakfast.

ANS: D

Because spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic, patients should be taught to choose low-potassium foods (e.g., apple juice) rather than foods that have higher levels of potassium (e.g., citrus fruits). Because the patient is using spironolactone as a diuretic, the nurse would not encourage the patient to increase fluid intake. Teach patients to avoid salt substitutes, which are high in potassium.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 298

TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

7. A newly admitted patient is diagnosed with hyponatremia. When making room assignments, the charge nurse should take which action?

a.

Assign the patient to a room near the nurses station.

b.

Place the patient in a room nearest to the water fountain.

c.

Place the patient on telemetry to monitor for peaked T waves.

d.

Assign the patient to a semi-private room and place an order for a low-salt diet.

ANS: A

The patient should be placed near the nurses station if confused in order for the staff to closely monitor the patient. To help improve serum sodium levels, water intake is restricted. Therefore a confused patient should not be placed near a water fountain. Peaked T waves are a sign of hyperkalemia, not hyponatremia. A confused patient could be distracting and disruptive for another patient in a semiprivate room. This patient needs sodium replacement, not restriction.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 295-296

TOP: Nursing Process: Planning MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

8. IV potassium chloride (KCl) 60 mEq is prescribed for treatment of a patient with severe hypokalemia. Which action should the nurse take?

a.

Administer the KCl as a rapid IV bolus.

b.

Infuse the KCl at a rate of 10 mEq/hour.

c.

Only give the KCl through a central venous line.

d.

Discontinue cardiac monitoring during the infusion.

ANS: B

IV KCl is administered at a maximal rate of 10 mEq/hr. Rapid IV infusion of KCl can cause cardiac arrest. Although the preferred concentration for KCl is no more than 40 mEq/L, concentrations up to 80 mEq/L may be used for some patients. KCl can cause inflammation of peripheral veins, but it can be administered by this route. Cardiac monitoring should be continued while patient is receiving potassium because of the risk for dysrhythmias.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 298

TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

9. A postoperative patient who had surgery for a perforated gastric ulcer has been receiving nasogastric suction for 3 days. The patient now has a serum sodium level of 127 mEq/L (127 mmol/L). Which prescribed therapy should the nurse question?

a.

Infuse 5% dextrose in water at 125 mL/hr.

b.

Administer IV morphine sulfate 4 mg every 2 hours PRN.

c.

Give IV metoclopramide (Reglan) 10 mg every 6 hours PRN for nausea.

d.

Administer 3% saline if serum sodium decreases to less than 128 mEq/L.

ANS: A

Because the patients gastric suction has been depleting electrolytes, the IV solution should include electrolyte replacement. Solutions such as lactated Ringers solution would usually be ordered for this patient. The other orders are appropriate for a postoperative patient with gastric suction.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 291

TOP: Nursing Process: Planning MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

10. A patient who was involved in a motor vehicle crash has had a tracheostomy placed to allow for continued mechanical ventilation. How should the nurse interpret the following arterial blood gas results: pH 7.48, PaO2 85 mm Hg, PaCO2 32 mm Hg, and HCO3 25 mEq/L?

a.

Metabolic acidosis

b.

Metabolic alkalosis

c.

Respiratory acidosis

d.

Respiratory alkalosis

ANS: D

The pH indicates that the patient has alkalosis and the low PaCO2 indicates a respiratory cause. The other responses are incorrect based on the pH and the normal HCO3.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 306

TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

11. The nurse notes that a patient who was admitted with diabetic ketoacidosis has rapid, deep respirations. Which action should the nurse take?

a.

Give the prescribed PRN lorazepam (Ativan).

b.

Start the prescribed PRN oxygen at 2 to 4 L/min.

c.

Administer the prescribed normal saline bolus and insulin.

d.

Encourage the patient to take deep, slow breaths with guided imagery.

ANS: C

The rapid, deep (Kussmaul) respirations indicate a metabolic acidosis and the need for correction of the acidosis with a saline bolus to prevent hypovolemia followed by insulin administration to allow glucose to reenter the cells. Oxygen therapy is not indicated because there is no indication that the increased respiratory rate is related to hypoxemia. The respiratory pattern is compensatory, and the patient will not be able to slow the respiratory rate. Lorazepam administration will slow the respiratory rate and increase the level of acidosis.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 302 | 304-305 | 309

TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

12. An older adult patient who is malnourished presents to the emergency department with a serum protein level of 5.2 g/dL. The nurse would expect which clinical manifestation?

a.

Pallor

b.

Edema

c.

Confusion

d.

Restlessness

ANS: B

The normal range for total protein is 6.4 to 8.3 g/dL. Low serum protein levels cause a decrease in plasma oncotic pressure and allow fluid to remain in interstitial tissues, causing edema. Confusion, restlessness, and pallor are not associated with low serum protein levels.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 289

TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

13. A patient receives 3% NaCl solution for correction of hyponatremia. Which assessment is most important for the nurse to monitor for while the patient is receiving this infusion?

a.

Lung sounds

b.

Urinary output

c.

Peripheral pulses

d.

Peripheral edema

ANS: A

Hypertonic solutions cause water retention, so the patient should be monitored for symptoms of fluid excess. Crackles in the lungs may indicate the onset of pulmonary edema and are a serious manifestation of fluid excess. Bounding peripheral pulses, peripheral edema, or changes in urine output are also important to monitor when administering hypertonic solutions, but they do not indicate acute respiratory or cardiac decompensation.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 308

TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

14. The long-term care nurse is evaluating the effectiveness of protein supplements for an older resident who has a low serum total protein level. Which assessment finding indicates that the patients condition has improved?

a.

Hematocrit 28%

b.

Absence of skin tenting

c.

Decreased peripheral edema

d.

Blood pressure 110/72 mm Hg

ANS: C

Edema is caused by low oncotic pressure in individuals with low serum protein levels. The decrease in edema indicates an improvement in the patients protein status. Good skin turgor is an indicator of fluid balance, not protein status. A low hematocrit could be caused by poor protein intake. Blood pressure does not provide a useful clinical tool for monitoring protein status.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 288-289

TOP: Nursing Process: Evaluation MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

15. A patient who is lethargic and exhibits deep, rapid respirations has the following arterial blood gas (ABG) results: pH 7.32, PaO2 88 mm Hg, PaCO2 37 mm Hg, and HCO3 16 mEq/L. How should the nurse interpret these results?

a.

Metabolic acidosis

b.

Metabolic alkalosis

c.

Respiratory acidosis

d.

Respiratory alkalosis

ANS: A

The pH and HCO3 indicate that the patient has a metabolic acidosis. The ABGs are inconsistent with the other responses.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 304-306

TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

16. A patient who has been receiving diuretic therapy is admitted to the emergency department with a serum potassium level of 3.0 mEq/L. The nurse should alert the health care provider immediately that the patient is on which medication?

a.

Oral digoxin (Lanoxin) 0.25 mg daily

b.

Ibuprofen (Motrin) 400 mg every 6 hours

c.

Metoprolol (Lopressor) 12.5 mg orally daily

d.

Lantus insulin 24 U subcutaneously every evening

ANS: A

Hypokalemia increases the risk for digoxin toxicity, which can cause serious dysrhythmias. The nurse will also need to do more assessment regarding the other medications, but they are not of as much concern with the potassium level.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 296-297

TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

17. The nurse is caring for a patient who has a calcium level of 12.1 mg/dL. Which nursing action should the nurse include on the care plan?

a.

Maintain the patient on bed rest.

b.

Auscultate lung sounds every 4 hours.

c.

Monitor for Trousseaus and Chvosteks signs.

d.

Encourage fluid intake up to 4000 mL every day.

ANS: D

To decrease the risk for renal calculi, the patient should have a fluid intake of 3000 to 4000 mL daily. Ambulation helps decrease the loss of calcium from bone and is encouraged in patients with hypercalcemia. Trousseaus and Chvosteks signs are monitored when there is a possibility of hypocalcemia. There is no indication that the patient needs frequent assessment of lung sounds, although these would be assessed every shift.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 299

TOP: Nursing Process: Planning MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

18. When caring for a patient with renal failure on a low phosphate diet, the nurse will inform unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) to remove which food from the patients food tray?

a.

Grape juice

b.

Milk carton

c.

Mixed green salad

d.

Fried chicken breast

ANS: B

Foods high in phosphate include milk and other dairy products, so these are restricted on low-phosphate diets. Green, leafy vegetables; high-fat foods; and fruits/juices are not high in phosphate and are not restricted.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 301

OBJ: Special Questions: Delegation TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

19. A nurse in the outpatient clinic is caring for a patient who has a magnesium level of 1.3 mg/dL. Which assessment would be most important for the nurse to make?

a.

Daily alcohol intake

b.

Intake of dietary protein

c.

Multivitamin/mineral use

d.

Use of over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives

ANS: A

Hypomagnesemia is associated with alcoholism. Protein intake would not have a significant effect on magnesium level. OTC laxatives (such as milk of magnesia) and use of multivitamin/mineral supplements would tend to increase magnesium levels.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 302

TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

20. A patient has a parenteral nutrition infusion of 25% dextrose. A student nurse asks the nurse why a peripherally inserted central catheter was inserted. Which response by the nurse is most appropriate?

a.

There is a decreased risk for infection when 25% dextrose is infused through a central line.

b.

The prescribed infusion can be given much more rapidly when the patient has a central line.

c.

The 25% dextrose is hypertonic and will be more rapidly diluted when given through a central line.

d.

The required blood glucose monitoring is more accurate when samples are obtained from a central line.

ANS: C

The 25% dextrose solution is hypertonic. Shrinkage of red blood cells can occur when solutions with dextrose concentrations greater than 10% are administered IV. Blood glucose testing is not more accurate when samples are obtained from a central line. The infection risk is higher with a central catheter than with peripheral IV lines. Hypertonic or concentrated IV solutions are not given rapidly.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 309

TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

21. The nurse is caring for a patient who has a central venous access device (CVAD). Which action by the nurse is appropriate?

a.

Avoid using friction when cleaning around the CVAD insertion site.

b.

Use the push-pause method to flush the CVAD after giving medications.

c.

Obtain an order from the health care provider to change CVAD dressing.

d.

Position the patients face toward the CVAD during injection cap changes.

ANS: B

The push-pause enhances the removal of debris from the CVAD lumen and decreases the risk for clotting. To decrease infection risk, friction should be used when cleaning the CVAD insertion site. The dressing should be changed whenever it becomes damp, loose, or visibly soiled. The patient should turn away from the CVAD during cap changes.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 312

TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

22. An older patient receiving iso-osmolar continuous tube feedings develops restlessness, agitation, and weakness. Which laboratory result should the nurse report to the health care provider immediately?

a.

K+ 3.4 mEq/L (3.4 mmol/L)

b.

Ca+2 7.8 mg/dL (1.95 mmol/L)

c.

Na+ 154 mEq/L (154 mmol/L)

d.

PO4-3 4.8 mg/dL (1.55 mmol/L)

ANS: C

The elevated serum sodium level is consistent with the patients neurologic symptoms and indicates a need for immediate action to prevent further serious complications such as seizures. The potassium and calcium levels vary slightly from normal but do not require immediate action by the nurse. The phosphate level is normal.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 295

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

23. The nurse assesses a patient who has been hospitalized for 2 days. The patient has been receiving normal saline IV at 100 mL/hr, has a nasogastric tube to low suction, and is NPO. Which assessment finding would be apriority for the nurse to report to the health care provider?

a.

Oral temperature of 100.1 F

b.

Serum sodium level of 138 mEq/L (138 mmol/L)

c.

Gradually decreasing level of consciousness (LOC)

d.

Weight gain of 2 pounds (1 kg) above the admission weight

ANS: C

The patients history and change in LOC could be indicative of fluid and electrolyte disturbances: extracellular fluid (ECF) excess, ECF deficit, hyponatremia, hypernatremia, hypokalemia, or metabolic alkalosis. Further diagnostic information is needed to determine the cause of the change in LOC and the appropriate interventions. The weight gain, elevated temperature, crackles, and serum sodium level also will be reported, but do not indicate a need for rapid action to avoid complications.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 307

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

24. A nurse is assessing a newly admitted patient with chronic heart failure who forgot to take prescribed medications and seems confused. The patient complains of just blowing up and has peripheral edema and shortness of breath. Which assessment should the nurse complete first?

a.

Skin turgor

b.

Heart sounds

c.

Mental status

d.

Capillary refill

ANS: C

Increases in extracellular fluid (ECF) can lead to swelling of cells in the central nervous system, initially causing confusion, which may progress to coma or seizures. Although skin turgor, capillary refill, and heart sounds also may be affected by increases in ECF, these are signs that do not have as immediate impact on patient outcomes as cerebral edema.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 292 | 295

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

25. A patient with renal failure has been taking aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide suspension (Maalox) at home for indigestion. The patient arrives for outpatient hemodialysis and is unresponsive to questions and has decreased deep tendon reflexes. Which action should the dialysis nurse take first?

a.

Notify the patients health care provider.

b.

Obtain an order to draw a potassium level.

c.

Review the magnesium level on the patients chart.

d.

Teach the patient about the risk of magnesium-containing antacids

ANS: A

The health care provider should be notified immediately. The patient has a history and manifestations consistent with hypermagnesemia. The nurse should check the chart for a recent serum magnesium level and make sure that blood is sent to the laboratory for immediate electrolyte and chemistry determinations. Dialysis should correct the high magnesium levels. The patient needs teaching about the risks of taking magnesium-containing antacids. Monitoring of potassium levels also is important for patients with renal failure, but the patients current symptoms are not consistent with hyperkalemia.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 301-302

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

26. A patient who had a transverse colectomy for diverticulosis 18 hours ago has nasogastric suction and is complaining of anxiety and incisional pain. The patients respiratory rate is 32 breaths/minute and the arterial blood gases (ABGs) indicate respiratory alkalosis. Which action should the nurse take first?

a.

Discontinue the nasogastric suction.

b.

Give the patient the PRN IV morphine sulfate 4 mg.

c.

Notify the health care provider about the ABG results.

d.

Teach the patient how to take slow, deep breaths when anxious.

ANS: B

The patients respiratory alkalosis is caused by the increased respiratory rate associated with pain and anxiety. The nurses first action should be to medicate the patient for pain. Although the nasogastric suction may contribute to the alkalosis, it is not appropriate to discontinue the tube when the patient needs gastric suction. The health care provider may be notified about the ABGs but is likely to instruct the nurse to medicate for pain. The patient will not be able to take slow, deep breaths when experiencing pain.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 300

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Implementation

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

27. Which action can the registered nurse (RN) who is caring for a critically ill patient with multiple IV lines delegate to an experienced licensed practical/vocational nurse (LPN/LVN)?

a.

Administer IV antibiotics through the implantable port.

b.

Monitor the IV sites for redness, swelling, or tenderness.

c.

Remove the patients nontunneled subclavian central venous catheter.

d.

Adjust the flow rate of the 0.9% normal saline in the peripheral IV line.

ANS: B

An experienced LPN/LVN has the education, experience, and scope of practice to monitor IV sites for signs of infection. Administration of medications, adjustment of infusion rates, and removal of central catheters in critically ill patients require RN level education and scope of practice.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 15-16

OBJ: Special Questions: Delegation TOP: Nursing Process: Planning

MSC: NCLEX: Safe and Effective Care Environment

28. A patient has a serum calcium level of 7.0 mEq/L. Which assessment finding is most important for the nurse to report to the health care provider?

a.

The patient is experiencing laryngeal stridor.

b.

The patient complains of generalized fatigue.

c.

The patients bowels have not moved for 4 days.

d.

The patient has numbness and tingling of the lips.

ANS: A

Hypocalcemia can cause laryngeal stridor, which may lead to respiratory arrest. Rapid action is required to correct the patients calcium level. The other data are also consistent with hypocalcemia, but do not indicate a need for as immediate action as laryngospasm.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 300

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

29. Following a thyroidectomy, a patient complains of a tingling feeling around my mouth. Which assessment should the nurse complete immediately?

a.

Presence of the Chvosteks sign

b.

Abnormal serum potassium level

c.

Decreased thyroid hormone level

d.

Bleeding on the patients dressing

ANS: A

The patients symptoms indicate possible hypocalcemia, which can occur secondary to parathyroid injury/removal during thyroidectomy. There is no indication of a need to check the potassium level, the thyroid hormone level, or for bleeding.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 299

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

30. A patient is admitted to the emergency department with severe fatigue and confusion. Laboratory studies are done. Which laboratory value will require the most immediate action by the nurse?

a.

Arterial blood pH is 7.32.

b.

Serum calcium is 18 mg/dL.

c.

Serum potassium is 5.1 mEq/L.

d.

Arterial oxygen saturation is 91%.

ANS: B

The serum calcium is well above the normal level and puts the patient at risk for cardiac dysrhythmias. The nurse should initiate cardiac monitoring and notify the health care provider. The potassium, oxygen saturation, and pH are also abnormal, and the nurse should notify the health care provider about these values as well, but they are not immediately life threatening.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 299

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

31. When assessing a pregnant patient with eclampsia who is receiving IV magnesium sulfate, which finding should the nurse report to the health care provider immediately?

a.

The bibasilar breath sounds are decreased.

b.

The patellar and triceps reflexes are absent.

c.

The patient has been sleeping most of the day.

d.

The patient reports feeling sick to my stomach.

ANS: B

The loss of the deep tendon reflexes indicates that the patients magnesium level may be reaching toxic levels. Nausea and lethargy also are side effects associated with magnesium elevation and should be reported, but they are not as significant as the loss of deep tendon reflexes. The decreased breath sounds suggest that the patient needs to cough and deep breathe to prevent atelectasis.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 301-302

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

32. A patient is receiving a 3% saline continuous IV infusion for hyponatremia. Which assessment data will require the most rapid response by the nurse?

a.

The patients radial pulse is 105 beats/minute.

b.

There is sediment and blood in the patients urine.

c.

The blood pressure increases from 120/80 to 142/94.

d.

There are crackles audible throughout both lung fields.

ANS: D

Crackles throughout both lungs suggest that the patient may be experiencing pulmonary edema, a life-threatening adverse effect of hypertonic solutions. The increased pulse rate and blood pressure and the appearance of the urine also should be reported, but they are not as dangerous as the presence of fluid in the alveoli.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 308

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

33. The nurse notes a serum calcium level of 7.9 mg/dL for a patient who has chronic malnutrition. Which action should the nurse take next?

a.

Monitor ionized calcium level.

b.

Give oral calcium citrate tablets.

c.

Check parathyroid hormone level.

d.

Administer vitamin D supplements.

ANS: A

This patient with chronic malnutrition is likely to have a low serum albumin level, which will affect the total serum calcium. A more accurate reflection of calcium balance is the ionized calcium level. Most of the calcium in the blood is bound to protein (primarily albumin). Alterations in serum albumin levels affect the interpretation of total calcium levels. Low albumin levels result in a drop in the total calcium level, although the level of ionized calcium is not affected. The other actions may be needed if the ionized calcium is also decreased.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 298-299

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Planning

MSC: NCLEX: Safe and Effective Care Environment

34. A patient comes to the clinic complaining of frequent, watery stools for the last 2 days. Which action should the nurse take first?

a.

Obtain the baseline weight.

b.

Check the patients blood pressure.

c.

Draw blood for serum electrolyte levels.

d.

Ask about any extremity numbness or tingling.

ANS: B

Because the patients history suggests that fluid volume deficit may be a problem, assessment for adequate circulation is the highest priority. The other actions are also appropriate, but are not as essential as determining the patients perfusion status.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 292

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Safe and Effective Care Environment

35. Which action should the nurse take first when a patient complains of acute chest pain and dyspnea soon after insertion of a centrally inserted IV catheter?

a.

Notify the health care provider.

b.

Offer reassurance to the patient.

c.

Auscultate the patients breath sounds.

d.

Give the prescribed PRN morphine sulfate IV.

ANS: C

The initial action should be to assess the patient further because the history and symptoms are consistent with several possible complications of central line insertion, including embolism and pneumothorax. The other actions may be appropriate, but further assessment of the patient is needed before notifying the health care provider, offering reassurance, or administration of morphine.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Apply (application) REF: 311

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization TOP: Nursing Process: Assessment

MSC: NCLEX: Safe and Effective Care Environment

36. After receiving change-of-shift report, which patient should the nurse assess first?

a.

Patient with serum potassium level of 5.0 mEq/L who is complaining of abdominal cramping

b.

Patient with serum sodium level of 145 mEq/L who has a dry mouth and is asking for a glass of water

c.

Patient with serum magnesium level of 1.1 mEq/L who has tremors and hyperactive deep tendon reflexes

d.

Patient with serum phosphorus level of 4.5 mg/dL who has multiple soft tissue calcium-phosphate precipitates

ANS: C

The low magnesium level and neuromuscular irritability suggest that the patient may be at risk for seizures. The other patients have mild electrolyte disturbances and/or symptoms that require action, but they are not at risk for life-threatening complications.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Analyze (analysis) REF: 302

OBJ: Special Questions: Prioritization; Multiple Patients TOP: Nursing Process: Planning

MSC: NCLEX: Safe and Effective Care Environment

37. During the admission process, the nurse obtains information about a patient through the physical assessment and diagnostic testing. Based on the data shown in the accompanying figure, which nursing diagnosis is appropriate?

a.

Deficient fluid volume

b.

Impaired gas exchange

c.

Risk for injury: Seizures

d.

Risk for impaired skin integrity

ANS: C

The patients muscle cramps and low serum calcium level indicate that the patient is at risk for seizures and/or tetany. The other diagnoses are not supported by the data because the skin turgor is good. The lungs are clear, arterial blood gases are normal, and there is no evidence of edema or dehydration that might suggest that the patient is at risk for impaired skin integrity.

DIF: Cognitive Level: Analyze (analysis) REF: 300

TOP: Nursing Process: Diagnosis MSC: NCLEX: Physiological Integrity

Leave a Reply