The NCLEX RN test, formally known as the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, is a comprehensive and challenging assessment for men and women looking to enter this rewarding field of health care. This exam is developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in consultation with an expert team of test administrators.
The exam features somewhere between 75 and 265 items and takes approximately six hours to complete. Fifteen of the questions are pretest items used to develop future versions of the exam. Pretest questions do not contribute to the final score and are impossible to identify.
The NCLEX RN test covers four main content domains: safe and effective care environment, which covers the management of care and safety and infection control; health promotion and maintenance; psychosocial integrity; and physiological integrity, which includes basic care and comfort, pharmacological and parenteral therapies, reduction of risk potential, and physiological adaptation.
NCLEX RN exam scores are sent directly to the relevant board of nursing in a candidate’s jurisdiction. Test takers receive an unofficial score report about one month after the examination date. However, for a small fee, candidates can receive unofficial results 48 business hours after administration of the test.
NCLEX RN Test Practice Questions
1. A post-MI patient is started on an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor during his hospital stay. Which of the following is the most common serious side effect that may occur?
a. Non-productive cough
b. Pedal edema
c. Swelling of the tongue and face
2. Emesis is a common occurrence in newborns. What condition should be considered if a 6 week old male infant presents with refractory, projectile emesis?
a. GE reflux
b. Pyloric stenosis
3. A patient with acute infectious diarrhea has a fever and blood in his stool. His condition does not improve with oral hydration therapy. Which of the following is a risk factor for infection with Clostridiumdifficile?
a. Recent travel outside the U.S.
b. History of liver transplant
c. Daycare attendance
d. Use of antibiotics in the past six weeks
4. In elderly patients with complaints of constipation who have no other gastrointestinal abnormalities, the initial treatment should include all of the following except:
a. Stimulant laxative
b. Increased exercise
c. Increased fiber intake from food sources
d. Increased water intake
5. What would the best treatment be for a pre-partum woman at 36 weeks gestation that has a sprained ankle? Which of the following is NOT appropriate for pregnant women in the third trimester?
a. Tylenol pm
b. NSAID such as Ibuprofen or Naprosyn
Explanation: Although 1, 2, and 4 are side effects seen with newly started ACE
inhibitors, edema of the tongue and face can be severe enough to require intubation
and respirator use. Patients should be instructed to not ignore any signs of swelling
in the tongue and face and seek medical attention immediately.
Explanation: The classic presentation for pyloric stenosis is refractory projectile
emesis in a first born male infant at around 6 weeks of age. Confirmation of
diagnosis is performed with ultrasound of the abdomen which finds an enlargement
of the pylorus. This is treated with operative intervention.
Explanation: The use of antibiotics in the past six weeks is a risk factor for
Clostridium difficile. Antibiotic use disrupts the normal flora of the bowel leading to
overgrowth by C. difficile with the release of toxins and resulting in inflammation.
Explanation: Answers 2, 3, and 4 are all first line treatments for constipation in the
elderly. Stimulant laxatives should be avoided as they can lead to dependence and
irregularity in the gastrointestinal tract.
Explanation: If given in the third trimester, NSAID medication can cause premature
closure of the ductus arteriosus of the fetus and should be avoided. The other
treatments are all acceptable.
The nursing shortage has led many people to consider the profession of registered nurse (RN). There are many types of nursing degrees and state licensing, all of which require education, time, and money to pursue. What is important to know is that, to qualify for a professional RN license, a person must possess one of three criteria:
A bachelor’s degree in nursing, BSN (four years to complete)
An associate’s nursing degree, ADN (two years to complete)
A diploma from an accredited nursing program or hospital diploma (three years to complete)
The diploma is less popular than the other two because it is harder to find. To possess one of the three will require the study of English, math, a foreign language and sufficient GPA, SAT, and ACT scores. Once these requirements are complete, a person must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) or for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), which are state-approved tests by the board of nursing.
The primary role of a nurse is to interact with patients and assist them in recovery. They may administer injections and IVs, assist with therapeutic and diagnostic procedures, and update medical records. In some cases, their jobs may involve additional duties. For instance, an emergency or trauma RN treats patients with life-threatening conditions. A critical care RN provides care to patients with cardiovascular and respiratory failure. A perioperative nurse assists surgeons with instruments, addressing bleeding, and incisions. And, a perianethesia nurse assists pre- and postoperative patients who have undergone anesthesia.
The nurse spends more time with the patient than the doctor and is an essential part of the health care team. Although most nurses work in hospitals, nursing jobs are found in schools, clinics, government agencies, corporations, and home health facilities. A nursing job offers flexibility in scheduling and location with high job stability. Most nurses find the job personally rewarding as they have significant impacts on people’s lives. If you have passion to help people and want to make a difference in a person’s life, than the nursing profession may be for you. Some of the common personality traits a nurse needs are attention to detail, compassion, and dedication with the ability to analyze data. On the flip side, the job can be stressful, and burnout can be an issue. Because most nurses work rotating schedules, including off hours on the weekends and nights, personal commitments may be compromised.
The average RN salary is between $40,000 and $80,000 a year according to Payscale.com. The top salaries in the nursing field are well over $100,000 a year. The highest hourly rates are earned by people with bachelor’s degrees. Nearly 89 percent of RNs are female, and 41 percent of nurses have between one and four years of experience. The five top industries for RNs are health care, hospitals, medical services, long term care and rehabilitation, and acute care hospitals. Top employers are Davita Inc., Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, HCA, Kaiser Permanente, and Memorial Hospital. An RN salary at Kaiser Permanente can be up to $61.99 an hour! One career that is not that commonly known is that of an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). The APRN is someone who has been an RN and then decides to continue his or her education at a master’s level and beyond. Usually, an APRN specializes in a particular field, like pediatrics, oncology, or anesthesiology, and typically receives the highest of RN salaries.
Nursing jobs with the greatest career paths for the future include the following:
Family Nurse Practitioner (NP), which pays between $57,000 and $100,000 a year
Charge Nurse (RN), which pays between $46,000 and $90,000 per year
Emergency Registered Nurse (RN), with an annual salary between $42,000 and $90,000