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A Look at the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-PN)

In order to meet the requirements to be a licensed practical nurse (LPN), one must first take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). The NCLEX-PN is a rigorous test administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. This LPN test strives to assess the test taker’s competence and understanding of clinical problem solving, providing patient care with respect and trust, communicating and documenting information, and the test taker’s ability to learn and adapt. The NCLEX-PN is framed around one unifying idea: that of client needs, with the content of the questions broken down into four main categories: safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. It is important that the test taker have a good understanding of these categories before they sign up for the examination. So, for your studying pleasure, each of these categories has been outlined below.

Safe and Effective Care Environment:

Questions that fall into this category focus on two main things: coordinated care, and safety and infection control. Coordinated care questions try to asses the aspiring LPN’s ability to share information and responsibilities with other healthcare workers in order to give the patient the best care possible. These questions cover subjects like client rights, continuity of care, concepts of management, legal responsibilities, and being able to prioritize. The other half of the questions fall to safety and infection control which centers around health and environmental hazards. These questions cover subjects like accident prevention, handling hazardous materials, security plans, and standard precautions.

Health Promotion and Maintenance:

This category assesses the test taker’s knowledge of human stages of development and the prevention and detection of health problems. The questions on stages of development will focus on things like the aging process, newborn care, and developmental transitions. Questions that focus on the prevention and detection of health issues will focus on subjects like disease prevention, data collection techniques, high-risk behavior and lifestyle choices, and self-care.

Psychosocial Integrity:

LPNs develop relationships with their clients, however brief. It is important that the client is able to trust and respect their LPN. The psychosocial integrity category of questions focuses on the LPN/patient relationship. Many of these questions deal with the LPN’s understanding of abuse, chemical dependencies, coping mechanisms, cultural awareness, and religious and spiritual influences on health. If the LPN is familiar with these concepts, than they can offer more compassionate care to the patient. Other questions focus on ways to make the patient comfortable and will quiz the test taker on therapeutic communication and therapeutic environments.

Physiological Integrity:

This last category focuses on the promotion of physical health and providing care and comfort to patients. Some of the questions in this category focus on basic care (like nutrition, personal hygiene, and assistive devices). Other questions center around pharmacological therapies (like side effects, dosage calculations, and pain management). There are also questions on reduction of risk potential (like changes in vital signs, diagnostic tests, and complications). The last set of questions will focus on physiological adaptation (like medical emergencies, radiation therapy, and fluid imbalances).

As you can see, the National Council Licensure Examination is no joke. So after completing LPN nursing school, start studying and register at

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