Medical Surgical Nursing Practice Test Answers and Rationale

Here is the answer to the 50-item practice test on Medical Surgical Nursing. We will be posting more nursing practice test soon. Keep checking for updates or Subscribe to us for free to receive updates straight on your own email.

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  1. Answer: D
    A 1+ pulse indicates weak pulses and is associated with diminished perfusion. A 4+ is bounding perfusion, a 3+ is increased perfusion, a 2+ is normal perfusion, and 0 is absent perfusion.
  2. Answer: A
    A murmur that indicates heart disease is often accompanied by dyspnea on exertion, which is a hallmark of heart failure. Other indicators are tachycardia, syncope, and chest pain. Subcutaneous emphysema, thoracic petechiae, and perior-bital edema aren’t associated with murmurs and heart disease.
  3. Answer: C
    Pregnancy increase plasma volume and expands the uterine vascular bed, possibly increasing both the heart rate and cardiac output. These changes may cause cardiac stress, especially during the second trimester. Blood pressure during early pregnancy may decrease, but it gradually returns to prepregnancy levels.
  4. Answer: D
    Decreased cardiac output related to reduced myocardial contractility is the greatest threat to the survival of a patient with cardiomyopathy. The other options can be addressed once cardiac output and myocardial contractility have been restored.
  5. Answer: D
    Evaluation assesses the effectiveness of the treatment plan by determining if the patient has met the expected treatment outcome. Planning refers to designing a plan of action that will help the nurse deliver quality patient care. Implementation refers to all of the nursing interventions directed toward solving the patient’s nursing problems. Analysis is the process of identifying the patient’s nursing problems.
  6. Answer: B
    A basilar skull fracture carries the risk of complications of dural tear, causing CSF leakage and damage to cranial nerves I, II, VII, and VIII. Classic findings in this type of fracture may include otorrhea, rhinorrhea, Battle’s signs, and raccoon eyes. Surgical treatment isn’t always required.
  7. Answer: A
    Barbiturates may be used to induce a coma in a patient with increased ICP. This decreases cortical activity and cerebral metabolism, reduces cerebral blood volume, decreases cerebral edema, and reduces the brain’s need for glucose and oxygen. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors are used to decrease ocular pressure or to decrease the serum pH in a patient with metabolic alkalosis. Anticholinergics have many uses including reducing GI spasms. Histamine receptor blockers are used to decrease stomach acidity.
  8. Answer: B
    Headache and projectile vomiting are early signs of increased ICP. Decreased systolic blood pressure, unconsciousness, and dilated pupils that don’t reac to light are considered late signs.
  9. Answer: A
    Immediate bed rest is necessary to prevent further injury. Both eyes should be patched to avoid consensual eye movement and the patient should receive early referral to an ophthalmologist should treat the condition immediately. Retinal reattachment can be accomplished by surgery only. If the macula is detached or threatened, surgery is urgent; prolonged detachment of the macula results in permanent loss of central vision.
  10. Answer: C
    A chemical burn to the eye requires immediate instillation of a topical anesthetic followed by irrigation with copious amounts of saline solution. Irrigation should be done for 5 to 10 minutes, and then the pH of the eye should be checked. Irrigation should be continued until the pH of the eye is restored to neutral (pH 7.0): Double eversion of the eyelids should be performed to look for and remove ciliary spasm, and an antibiotic ointment can be administered to reduce the risk of infection. Then the eye should be patched. Parenteral narcotic analgesia is often required for pain relief. An ophthalmologist should also be consulted.
  11. Answer: B
    A positive response to one or both tests indicates meningeal irritation that is present with meningitis. Brudzinski’s and Kernig’s signs don’t occur in CVA, seizure disorder, or Parkinson’s disease.
  12. Answer: D
    Gliomas account for approximately 45% of all brain tumors. Meningiomas are the second most common, with 15%. Angiomas and hemangioblastomas are types of cerebral vascular tumors that account for 3% of brain tumors.
  13. Answer: D
    The patient with Parkinson’s disease may be hypersensitive to heat, which increases the risk of hyperthermia, and he should be instructed to avoid sun exposure during hot weather.
  14. Answer: C
    Global aphasia occurs when all language functions are affected. Receptive aphasia, also known as Wernicke’s aphasia, affects the ability to comprehend written or spoken words. Expressive aphasia, also known as Broca’s aphasia, affected the patient’s ability to form language and express thoughts. Conduction aphasia refers to abnormalities in speech repetition.
  15. Answer: D
    Patients with a history of headaches, especially migraines, should be taught to keep a food diary to identify potential food triggers. Typical headache triggers include alcohol, aged cheeses, processed meats, and chocolate and caffeine-containing products.
  16. Answer: B
    An explosive headache or “the worst headache I’ve ever had” is typically the first presenting symptom of a bleeding cerebral aneurysm. Photophobia, seizures, and hemiparesis may occur later.
  17. Answer: C
    An embolic injury, caused by a traveling clot, may result from atrial fibrillation. Blood may pool in the fibrillating atrium and be released to travel up the cerebral artery to the brain. Persistent hypertension may place the patient at risk for a thrombotic injury to the brain. Subarachnoid hemorrhage and skull fractures aren’t associated with emboli.
  18. Answer: D
    Women with spinal cord injuries who were sexually active may continue having sexual intercourse and must be reminded that they can still become pregnant. She may be fully capable of achieving orgasm. An indwelling urinary catheter may be left in place during sexual intercourse. Positioning will need to be adjusted to fit the patient’s needs.
  19. Answer: A
    The nurse must have a wrench taped on the vest at all times for quick halo removal in emergent situations. The brace isn’t to be removed for any other reason until the cervical fracture is healed. Placing a pillow under the patient’s head may alter the stability of the brace.
  20. Answer: D
    Nimodipine is a calcium channel blocker that acts on cerebral blood vessels to reduce vasospasm. The drug doesn’t increase the amount of calcium, affect cerebral vasculature growth, or reduce cerebral oxygen demand.
  21. Answer: D
    Men with spinal cord injury should be taught that the higher the level of the lesion, the better their sexual function will be. The sacral region is the lowest area on the spinal column and injury to this area will cause more erectile dysfunction.
  22. Answer: C
    Tegretol should be taken with food to minimize GI distress. Taking it at meals will also establish a regular routine, which should help compliance.
  23. Answer: B
    Patient with pneumococcal meningitis require respiratory isolation for the first 24 hours after treatment is initiated.
  24. Answer: A
    Early symptoms of ALS include fatigue while talking, dysphagia, and weakness of the hands and arms. ALS doesn’t cause a change in mental status, paresthesia, or fractures.
  25. Answer: C
    Increased pressure within the portal veins causes them to bulge, leading to rupture and bleeding into the lower esophagus. Bleeding associated with esophageal varices doesn’t stem from esophageal perforation, pulmonary hypertension, or peptic ulcers.
  26. Answer: B
    The nurse should wear gloves and a gown when removing the patient’s bedpan because the type A hepatitis virus occurs in stools. It may also occur in blood, nasotracheal secretions, and urine. Type A hepatitis isn’t transmitted through the air by way of droplets. Special precautions aren’t needed when feeding the patient, but disposable utensils should be used.
  27. Answer: B
    The patient should notify the doctor if he has difficulty inserting the irrigation tube into the stoma. Difficulty with insertion may indicate stenosis of the bowel. Abdominal cramping and expulsion of flatus may normally occur with irrigation. The procedure will often take an hour to complete.
  28. Answer: B
    An indwelling urinary catheter is kept in place several days after this surgery to prevent urine retention that could place pressure on the perineal wound. An indwelling urinary catheter may be a source of postoperative urinary tract infection. Urine won’t contaminate the wound. An indwelling urinary catheter won’t necessarily show bladder trauma.
  29. Answer: D
    The colostomy may not function for 2 days or more (48 to 72 hours) after surgery. Therefore, the normal plan of care can be followed. Since no fecal drainage is expected for 48 to 72 hours after a colostomy (only mucous and serosanguineous), the doctor doesn’t have to be notified and the stoma shouldn’t be irrigated at this time.
  30. Answer: C
    If the patient’s GI tract is functioning, enteral nutrition via a feeding tube is the preferred method. Peripheral and total parenteral nutrition places the patient at risk for infection. If the patient is unable to consume foods by mouth, oral liquid supplements are contraindicated.
  31. Answer: A
    A hypertonic solution causes water to shift from the cells into the plasma because the hypertonic solution has a greater osmotic pressure than the cells. A hypotonic solution has a lower osmotic pressure than that of the cells. It causes fluid to shift into the cells, possibly resulting in rupture. An isotonic solution, which has the same osmotic pressure as the cells, wouldn’t cause any shift. A solution’s alkalinity is related to the hydrogen ion concentration, not its osmotic effect.
  32. Answer: C
    Particles move from an area of greater osmolarity to one of lesser osmolarity through diffusion. Active transport is the movement of particles though energy expenditure from other sources such as enzymes. Osmosis is the movement of a pure solvent through a semipermeable membrane from an area of greater osmolarity to one of lesser osmolarity until equalization occurs. The membrane is impermeable to the solute but permeable to the solvent. Filtration is the process by which fluid is forced through a membrane by a difference in pressure; small molecules pass through, but large ones don’t.
  33. Answer: A
    Tenting of chest skin when pinched indicates decreased skin elasticity due to dehydration. Hand veins fill slowly with dehydration, not rapidly. A pulse that isn’t easily obliterated and neck vein distention indicate fluid overload, not dehydration.
  34. Answer: C
    Administering a tap water enema until return is clear would most likely contribute to a hypo-osmolar state. Because tap water is hypotonic, it would be absorbed by the body, diluting the body fluid concentration and lowering osmolarity. Weighing the patient is the easiest, most accurate method to determine fluid changes. Therefore, it helps identify rather than contribute to fluid imbalance. Nasogastric tube irrigation with normal saline solution wouldn’t cause a shift in fluid balance. Drinking broth wouldn’t contribute to a hypo-osmolar state because it doesn’t replace sodium and water lost through excessive perspiration.
  35. Answer: D
    An orthostatic blood pressure indicates an extracellular fluid volume deficit. (The extracellular compartment consists of both the intravascular compartment and interstitial space.) A fluid volume deficit within the intravascular compartment would cause tachycardia, not bradycardia or orthostatic blood pressure change. A central venous pressure of 6 mm Hg is in the high normal range, indicating adequate hydration. Pitting edema indicates fluid volume overload.
  36. Answer: C
    The respiratory and renal systems act as compensatory mechanisms to counteract-base imbalances. The lungs alter the carbon dioxide levels in the blood by increasing or decreasing the rate and depth of respirations, thereby increasing or decreasing carbon dioxide elimination. The liver, pancreas, and heart play no part in compensating for acid-base imbalances.
  37. Answer: B
    Anuria refers to a urine output of less than 100 ml in 24 hours. The baseline for urine output and renal function is 30 ml of urine per hour. A urine output of at least 100 ml in 2 hours is within normal limits. Voiding at night is called nocturia. Pain and burning on urination is called dysuria.
  38. Answer: A
    To obtain urine properly, the nurse should aspirate it from a port, using a sterile syringe after cleaning the port. Opening a closed urine drainage system increases the risk of urinary tract infection. Standard precautions specify the use of gloves during contract with body fluids; however, sterile gloves aren’t necessary.
  39. Answer: C
    Although postoperative pain is expected, the nurse should ensure that other factors, such as an obstructed irrigation catheter, aren’t the cause of the pain. After assessing catheter patency, the nurse should administer an analgesic such as meperidine as prescribed. Increasing the I.V. flow rate may worse the pain. Notifying the doctor isn’t necessary unless the pain is severe or unrelieved by the prescribed medication.
  40. Answer: A
    Renal calculi most commonly from in the kidney. They may remain there or become lodged anywhere along the urinary tract. The ureter, bladder, and urethra are less common sites of renal calculi formation.
  41. Answer: A
    Ureterolithiasis typically causes such acute, severe pain that the patient can’t rest and becomes increasingly anxious. Therefore, the nursing diagnosis of pain takes highest priority. Risk for infection and altered urinary elimination are appropriate once the patient’s pain is controlled. Altered nutrition: less than body requirements isn’t appropriate at this time.
  42. Answer: B
    Normal urine pH is 4.5 to 8; therefore, a urine pH of 3 is abnormal and may indicate such conditions as renal tuberculosis, pyrexia, phenylketonuria, alkaptonuria, and acidosis. Urine specific gravity normally ranges from 1.002 to 1.032, making the patient’s value normal. Normally, urine contains no protein, glucose, ketones, bilirubin, bacteria, casts, or crystals.
  43. Answer: C
    The nephron is the kidney’s functioning unit. The glomerulus, Bowman’s capsule, and tubular system are components of the nephron.
  44. Answer: A
    As a response to shock, the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system alters renal function by decreasing urine output and increasing reabsorption of sodium and water. Reduced renal perfusion stimulates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in an effort to conserve circulating volume.
  45. Answer: D
    The bladder isn’t usually palpable unless it is distended. The feeling of pressure is usually relieved with urination. Reduced bladder tone due to general anesthesia is a common postoperative complication that causes difficulty in voiding. A urinary tract infection and renal calculi aren’t palpable. The kidneys aren’t palpable above the symphysis pubis.
  46. Answer: A
    A pericardial friction rub may be present with the pericardial effusion of pericarditis. The lungs are typically clear when auscultated. Sitting up and leaning forward often relieves pericarditis pain. An S3 indicates left-sided heart failure and isn’t usually present with pericarditis.
  47. Answer: D
    Assessing jugular vein distention should be done when the patient is in semi-Fowler’s position (head of the bed elevated 30 to 45 degrees). If the patient lies flat, the veins will be more distended; if he sits upright, the veins will be flat.
  48. Answer: C
    Smoking should receive highest priority when trying to reduce risk factors for with respiratory complications. Losing weight and decreasing salt and caffeine intake can help to decrease risk factors for hypertension.
  49. Answer: B
    The correct ratio of compressions to ventilations when one rescuer performs CPR is 15:2
  50. Answer: D
    The lungs and kidneys are the body’s regulators of homeostasis. The lungs are responsible for removing fluid and carbon dioxide; the kidneys maintain a balance of fluid and electrolytes. The other organs play secondary roles in maintaining homeostasis.

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