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If you are preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), knowing the topics to focus on can help you pass the exam the first time you take it. Taken by students before completing nursing school, the NCLEX determines their readiness to practice as licensed professionals in any nursing specialization.
The NCLEX takes nursing school examinations a notch higher by testing a candidate’s ability to apply their nursing knowledge gained in school. The exam covers a wide range of topics that evaluate the application of critical thinking skills in making nursing judgments.
The topics covered in the NCLEX fall into four broad learning areas. The secret to passing this exam is to narrow down your study of these topics. By focusing on the following topics for your NCLEX, you can pass and even excel in this important exam.
1. Physiological Support And Adaptation
Nurses play a critical role in promoting the physical wellness of patients under their care. They do this by reducing potential risks to patients, providing care to enhance their comfort, and managing changes that may occur due to their medical conditions.
Because this role is so important, up to 14% of the NCLEX questions come from the physiological support and adaptation learning area. For aspiring nurses, ignoring this topic can be detrimental to their plans of pursuing a successful nursing career. To pass the NCLEX, candidates should revise four study topics, which are:
- Patient comfort and care.
- Risk reduction.
- Care for patients with chronic physical conditions.
- Medicine administration.
Patient comfort and care prepare nurses to assist patients in their daily activities. The most critical content that candidates should study in this area includes assistive devices, educating patients about personal hygiene, mobility, and comfort interventions.
In risk reduction, aspiring nurses should delve into topics such as changes in vital signs, therapeutic procedures, and diagnostic tests. They should also familiarize themselves with potential complications that may arise from surgical procedures. Lab values and system assessments are also important topics that NCLEX candidates should study.
When it comes to caring for patients with life-threatening or chronic physical conditions, aspiring nurses should be knowledgeable about illness management, body system alterations, and medical emergencies. Electrolyte and fluid imbalances are critical topics to study. When handling this topic, candidates should pay close attention to renal NCLEX questions. Nursing students must have a good handle of how the renal system works, conditions that affect patients living with kidney problems, and tests that these patients are required to take.
For medicine administration, the purpose of NCLEX questions is to test a candidate’s knowledge of dosage calculation, administration of medications, and provision of therapy to patients. NCLEX candidates should also study sub-topics like pain management, contraindications, interactions, and side effects.
2. Psychosocial Support
Besides providing physical care, nurses also support the mental, emotional, and social well-being of patients who have chronic and acute mental illnesses or stress. As such, psychosocial support is an integral part of the NCLEX, comprising 9% of questions in the exam.
When preparing for this exam, candidates should focus their energy on topics such as family dynamics, concepts on mental health, disorders arising from substance use, and grieving the loss of a loved one. NCLEX candidates should also invest study time into topics such as stress management and providing end-of-life care to patients who have life-threatening conditions.
Since this learning area also covers social issues and their impact on people’s health, you must study the effects of spiritual, cultural, and religious matters on health. Other topics that candidates should focus on are therapeutic environment and communication, crisis intervention, and support systems in their study programs.
3. Patient Management And Care
As a profession, nursing enhances the realization of positive patient outcomes through the provision of care and protection. Patient care and management is a pretty broad topic. Making up 32% of the NCLEX exam content, this topic covers two main sub-topics: patient care environment and infection control.
According to the NCLEX Test Plan, 20% of questions are drawn from the patient care environment sub-topic, while 12% are from the infection control and management sub-topic. When preparing for the NCLEX exam, nursing students should invest at least a third of their time studying the content on patient care management.
When studying this topic, the focus should be on, but not limited to, case management, interdisciplinary team collaboration, quality improvement, ethical practice, and life planning. Students should familiarize themselves with duty assignment, supervision and delegation, advocacy, and informed consent. Continuity of care, legal responsibilities, and rights in the nursing profession are learning areas that candidates should study as well.
But this is not everything students should be conversant in within this learning area. To pass the NCLEX, they have to pay attention to infection control content. It means studying topics such as safety equipment, accident prevention, incident reporting, and emergency response. A good NCLEX preparation plan should also cover security planning, transmission, and handling of infectious or hazardous materials.
4. Health Promotion
Nursing care includes providing patients with knowledge on growth and development, detecting health problems early, preventing health problems, and strategies for achieving optimal health.
In the health promotion area of study, NCLEX candidates can expect questions from a wide range of content, including high-risk behaviors, the aging process, lifestyle choices, and self-care. Other topics that candidates should pay attention to in this learning area to pass the NCLEX are developmental stages, newborn care, disease prevention, health screening, and physical assessment techniques.
Nursing programs cover a wide range of content. This content falls into four broad learning areas. To pass the NCLEX, students should focus on covering each of these areas.
Knowing the topics that each learning area covers and preparing a study plan that allows you sufficient time to study each topic is key to the successful completion of this exam. To pass the NCLEX, focus your learning efforts on the topics discussed above. Also, allow yourself enough time to absorb and retain what you learn and make sure you maintain a healthy balance in your life as the exam draws near.