study checklist for passing NCLEX-RN

  1. 23
    Everyone at some point or the other while taking NCLEX wonders what exactly to study. If you open up your content book, it gets so overwhelming that we end up thinking its just impossible to study all thats there in the book. But the Key to nail this exam is to know everything that is in your content book. I have come up with the check list of topics you must cover to pass NCLEX-RN. The list is nothing new. Everyone of us who took NCLEX or are going to take NCLEX know all of the topics that I have listed below. But I feel like listing it down will help to put things into perspective and for the ones who are wondering what to study, it will give some kind of direction.

    For some doing practice questions is more than enough. But for some its not. Ask yourself how much you know about these topics and try to familiarize yourself with them. I really hope this will help NCLEX takers.

    Please do not get overwhelmed with the volume of the check list. Know that it is doable if you allocate enough time for each of them. It only looks impossible if you dont start. Once you start, you will not stop! Trust me!

    PHYSIOLOGICAL INTEGRITY

    · Reduction for Risk Potential (10-16%)

    o Know the signs and symptoms and treatments about cataracts, glaucoma, meniere’s disease, guillain-barre syndrome, meningitis, migraine, huntington’s disease.
    o Know the difference in diabetes 1 and 2. How are they treated? What are signs and symptoms and complications?
    o Know the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and how are they treated.
    o Concentrate on complications of diabetes 1. Diabetes ketoacidosis and 2. Hyperglycemia hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome.
    o Know what causes cystic fibrosis and its complications.
    o Know what PKU is how it’s treated and also its complications.
    o Know what does hiatal hernia, pyloric stenosis, gastritis means.
    o Know the difference between duodenal ulcer and gastric ulcer.
    o Know what Chron’s disease means, what kind of diet is advised for it?
    o Be able to differentiate between appendicitis, diverticular disease, and peritonitis.
    o Know what hirschspurng’s disease means.
    o Know how to care for ostomies. Know about specific diets for different types of ostomies and know what kind of return to expect fro different types of ostomies.
    o Know everything about cirrhosis, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, pancreatitis, lupus.
    o Know about two different types of jaundice that are seen in newborns.
    o Know the age-appropriate health-care procedures for pre-operation
    o Know what could be the potential complications after surgery and know the nursing consideration for each one of them.
    o Try to learn as much about diagnostic tests as possible. Recognize the ones for which patient has to be on NPO and need special care pre and post test.
    o Know about chest tubes- water fluctuation, bubbling, removal, and complications.
    o Know about Central venous pressure, and its complications

    · Physiological Adaptation (11-17%)

    o Know the normal breath sounds and abnormal ones. Know which pulmonary disease will have which type of adventitious sound.
    o Know what to do in emergencies such as Cardiopulmonary arrest, epilottitis, MI, dysrhythmias, head injury, chest trauma, abdominal injury, shock, ICP, sezuire, and stroke.
    o Know how to read an EKG. Calculate HR and rhythm off an EKG.
    o Know the difference between defilbrillation and cardioversion.
    o Know what kind of function ability co-relates with the spinal cord injury.
    o Signs and symptoms and treatment of fluid volume overload and deficit.
    o Know A-Z of ADH and SIADH
    o Know A-Z of hypokalemia, hyperkalemia, hyponatremia, hypernatremia, hypocalcemia, hypercalcemia, hypomagnesemiam, and hypermagnesemia. You have to study these. There’s no escaping.
    o Know the 9-rules of burns and nursing care for burn pt.
    o Know addison’s disease and cushing syndrome and their complications. Breifly read about pheochromocytoma.
    o Know all the COPDs.
    o Know all there is to know about pneumonia.
    o Know the difference in two different types of Heart failure.
    o Know anemia and iron deficiency anemia.
    o Know about sickle cell disease and its treatment
    o Know about cancer, leukemia and how they are treated

    · Basic Care and Comfort (6-12%)

    o Know how to use crutches, and other assistive devices
    o Know about skin traction and skeletal traction and special nursing considerations while using them
    o Know everything about caring for a cast and its complication
    o Be able to differentiate between Joint disorders: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
    o Know about osteoporosis, osteomyelitis, and osteomalacia.
    o Know different types of factures and treatment.
    o Know how to care for fractured hip and after total hip replacement surgery.
    o Know how to care for patient who got amputation.
    o Know difference between alziemer’s disease and parkinsons.
    o Must know everything about Thyriod disorder!!!! Focus on signs and symptoms of hypo and hyperthyroidism, treatment, and complications. Very Imp!!!
    o Also know about parathyroid disorder
    o Know about different types of diets and when they are indicated. For example: for chronic renal failure low sodium, low protein, and low potassium diet is indicated.
    o Know about pyelonephritis, and glomerulonephritis.
    o Know about acute and chronic renal failure.
    o Know hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

    ·
    Pharmacology (13-19%)

    o Study all the drug classes of antibiotics. Be able to recognize antibiotics of different class. Know side effects of specific to each class.
    o Study all the cardiac meds and their side effects.
    o Know all you bronchodialators, steroids used for respiratory disorders. Know which ones are given for acute and long term maintainence.
    o Know different types of insulin. Yes memorize their effective hours.
    o Know meds used for depression, bipolar, anxiety, PTSD, etc
    o Know anticoagulant meds.
    o Know different classification of meds used for pain: narcotics, NSAIDS.
    o Know which conditions aspirin, NSAIDS are contraindicated.
    o You still need to know rest of the meds, but make sure you at least study the ones that are mentioned above.
    TO be Continued...
    Last edit by RNmeee on Apr 27, '11 : Reason: NCLEX, topics
    elieth478, TNC2013, txSN, and 20 others like this.
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  3. 34 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    I look forward to the remaining of the "to be continued".

    Thank you. I am getting ready to begin my studies for the NCLEX as I graduate in four months and plan on taking the NCLEX in September. It's getting close!!!
    agbaere and iammai28 like this.
  5. 0
    I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of this! Graduating a week from this Sat and plan to take the NCLEX in early June, after attending a Sylvia Rayfield NCLEX review next month. Ready to focus study! Thank you!
  6. 0
    wow this list is great! i take my boards in less than a week, but i'm still going to print this off to go over a few last minute things! hope to see the rest of it soon!! thank you!
  7. 0
    Interesting!!! I am definitely going to print this out and use it for my review...Thanks for posting this
  8. 0
    Thanks looks very helpful
  9. 0
    Quote from bshres
    Everyone at some point or the other while taking NCLEX wonders what exactly to study. If you open up your content book, it gets so overwhelming that we end up thinking its just impossible to study all thats there in the book. But the Key to nail this exam is to know everything that is in your content book. I have come up with the check list of topics you must cover to pass NCLEX-RN. The list is nothing new. Everyone of us who took NCLEX or are going to take NCLEX know all of the topics that I have listed below. But I feel like listing it down will help to put things into perspective and for the ones who are wondering what to study, it will give some kind of direction.

    For some doing practice questions is more than enough. But for some its not. Ask yourself how much you know about these topics and try to familiarize yourself with them. I really hope this will help NCLEX takers.

    Please do not get overwhelmed with the volume of the check list. Know that it is doable if you allocate enough time for each of them. It only looks impossible if you dont start. Once you start, you will not stop! Trust me!

    PHYSIOLOGICAL INTEGRITY

    · Reduction for Risk Potential (10-16%)

    o Know the signs and symptoms and treatments about cataracts, glaucoma, meniere’s disease, guillain-barre syndrome, meningitis, migraine, huntington’s disease.
    o Know the difference in diabetes 1 and 2. How are they treated? What are signs and symptoms and complications?
    o Know the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and how are they treated.
    o Concentrate on complications of diabetes 1. Diabetes ketoacidosis and 2. Hyperglycemia hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome.
    o Know what causes cystic fibrosis and its complications.
    o Know what PKU is how it’s treated and also its complications.
    o Know what does hiatal hernia, pyloric stenosis, gastritis means.
    o Know the difference between duodenal ulcer and gastric ulcer.
    o Know what Chron’s disease means, what kind of diet is advised for it?
    o Be able to differentiate between appendicitis, diverticular disease, and peritonitis.
    o Know what hirschspurng’s disease means.
    o Know how to care for ostomies. Know about specific diets for different types of ostomies and know what kind of return to expect fro different types of ostomies.
    o Know everything about cirrhosis, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, pancreatitis, lupus.
    o Know about two different types of jaundice that are seen in newborns.
    o Know the age-appropriate health-care procedures for pre-operation
    o Know what could be the potential complications after surgery and know the nursing consideration for each one of them.
    o Try to learn as much about diagnostic tests as possible. Recognize the ones for which patient has to be on NPO and need special care pre and post test.
    o Know about chest tubes- water fluctuation, bubbling, removal, and complications.
    o Know about Central venous pressure, and its complications

    · Physiological Adaptation (11-17%)

    o Know the normal breath sounds and abnormal ones. Know which pulmonary disease will have which type of adventitious sound.
    o Know what to do in emergencies such as Cardiopulmonary arrest, epilottitis, MI, dysrhythmias, head injury, chest trauma, abdominal injury, shock, ICP, sezuire, and stroke.
    o Know how to read an EKG. Calculate HR and rhythm off an EKG.
    o Know the difference between defilbrillation and cardioversion.
    o Know what kind of function ability co-relates with the spinal cord injury.
    o Signs and symptoms and treatment of fluid volume overload and deficit.
    o Know A-Z of ADH and SIADH
    o Know A-Z of hypokalemia, hyperkalemia, hyponatremia, hypernatremia, hypocalcemia, hypercalcemia, hypomagnesemiam, and hypermagnesemia. You have to study these. There’s no escaping.
    o Know the 9-rules of burns and nursing care for burn pt.
    o Know addison’s disease and cushing syndrome and their complications. Breifly read about pheochromocytoma.
    o Know all the COPDs.
    o Know all there is to know about pneumonia.
    o Know the difference in two different types of Heart failure.
    o Know anemia and iron deficiency anemia.
    o Know about sickle cell disease and its treatment
    o Know about cancer, leukemia and how they are treated

    · Basic Care and Comfort (6-12%)

    o Know how to use crutches, and other assistive devices
    o Know about skin traction and skeletal traction and special nursing considerations while using them
    o Know everything about caring for a cast and its complication
    o Be able to differentiate between Joint disorders: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
    o Know about osteoporosis, osteomyelitis, and osteomalacia.
    o Know different types of factures and treatment.
    o Know how to care for fractured hip and after total hip replacement surgery.
    o Know how to care for patient who got amputation.
    o Know difference between alziemer’s disease and parkinsons.
    o Must know everything about Thyriod disorder!!!! Focus on signs and symptoms of hypo and hyperthyroidism, treatment, and complications. Very Imp!!!
    o Also know about parathyroid disorder
    o Know about different types of diets and when they are indicated. For example: for chronic renal failure low sodium, low protein, and low potassium diet is indicated.
    o Know about pyelonephritis, and glomerulonephritis.
    o Know about acute and chronic renal failure.
    o Know hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

    ·
    Pharmacology (13-19%)

    o Study all the drug classes of antibiotics. Be able to recognize antibiotics of different class. Know side effects of specific to each class.
    o Study all the cardiac meds and their side effects.
    o Know all you bronchodialators, steroids used for respiratory disorders. Know which ones are given for acute and long term maintainence.
    o Know different types of insulin. Yes memorize their effective hours.
    o Know meds used for depression, bipolar, anxiety, PTSD, etc
    o Know anticoagulant meds.
    o Know different classification of meds used for pain: narcotics, NSAIDS.
    o Know which conditions aspirin, NSAIDS are contraindicated.
    o You still need to know rest of the meds, but make sure you at least study the ones that are mentioned above.
    TO be Continued...
    Does this apply to PN NCLEX also? It looks very similar.
    Thank You!!
  10. 0
    Thank you so muchl!!!
  11. 0
    Thank you for taking the time to write this out.
  12. 10
    here is the rest...

    SAFE AND EFFECTIVE CARE ENVIRONMENT

    · Management of care (16-22%)
    o Know about informed consent. Who can sign it and who cannot? For example, pregnant minor can sign consent form for herself and the fetus. There are other few exceptions know them.
    o Know about pt. right to refuse treatment
    o Know nurses role in advance directives
    o Know the rules for restrains
    o Know about malpractice, assault, negligence
    o Know what kind of task to delegate to LPNs and CNA. Very important!!
    o Also know what kind of pt. to delegate to float nurses. Very important!!
    o Know when to file incident report

    Infection Control
    (8-14%)
    o Know the mnemonics for infection control and what kind of precaution you have to take for each one. Yes you have to memorize all the names of the disease. The most important of all!!!
    o Know everything about tuberculosis. Know about skin test. Know about treatment process for TB.
    o Know the difference between Hepatitis A, Hepatits B and C.
    o Know all about HIV and AIDS, precaution, meds, and treatment for it.
    o Know briefly about Lyme disease
    o Be able to differentiate between different STDs. Mainly the signs and symptoms of syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, and Chlamydia.
    o Know what to do for poison ingestion.
    o Know briefly about lead toxicity
    o Read briefly about disaster and bioterrorism

    HEALTH PROMOTION AND MAINTENANCE (6-12%)

    · Growth and development
    o Memorize erikson’s stage of development. Imp!!
    o Memorize all age specific developments from infancy to adolescence. For example, by 12 months birth weight usually triples. By 15 months, kids are able to walk alone. Somewhat Important.
    o Know age specific toys

    · Maternity/ Newborn care
    o Know all the normal changes during pregnancy. Have to know all of it.
    o Know normal weight gain during pregnancy.
    o Know what kind of discomfort to expect during pregnancy.
    o Know all types of diagnostic test done during pregnancy such as AFP, CVS, ultrasound, NST, CST, Aminocentesis .
    o Memorize all the changes that occur during different stages of labor.
    o Know where to osculate fetus heart based on fetus position
    o Know normal fetal heart rate and respiratory rate
    o Know the difference between false and true labor
    o Know about different anesthetics given during labor
    o Know about Rh compatibility and what needs
    o Know what nurses should do immediately after birth
    o Know APGAR score.
    o Know about lactation, breast feeding
    o Know ectopic pregnancy, hydratidiform mole
    o Study pregnancy induced hypertension and diabetes very well
    o Know the difference between abruptio placenta and placenta pervia
    o Know about postpartum hemorrhage, infection
    o Know the normal physical characteristics of newborn and also vitals
    o Know about caring for newborns.
    o Know what kind of medications are given to newborns such as eye prophylaxis and vit K
    o Know about the care for umbilical cord circumcised penis
    o Know about respiratory distress in newborns
    o Be ale to differentiate between physiologic and pathologic jaundice
    o Know about care of infants with cleft lip and palate
    o Know rules for breast examination, pap test, mammogram, testicular self exam
    **** There are many other information to know under maternity and newborn which will require some attention

    · General health maintenance
    o Also know all the different methods of birth control
    o Know when the anterior and posterior fontanels close
    o Memorize immunization schedule
    o Know which foods to avoid for latex allergy
    o Know when to avoid tyramine containing food
    o Know basics of physical assessments
    o Memorize cranial nerves
    o Learn all the heard sounds (s1,s2,s3,s4) and their anatomical location

    PSYCHOSOCIAL INTEGRITY (6-12%)
    · Mental health
    o Know about therapeutic responses
    o Know different treatment methods for mental illness
    o Know all about anxiety, PTSD, depression, suicide, stress, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorder. Pay special attention to nursing response specific to the illness.
    o Know two different types of eating disorder and the treatment for it
    o Know the difference between the symptoms of different types of withdrawal symptoms
    o Know what kinds of meds are used to treat for substance used
    o Pay special attention to different classes of meds used to treat mental illness, also include their side effects, how long it takes of the meds to be effective, any contraindications.


    *** Please note that the check-list is my personal opinion on what NCLEX-RN taker need to know. I knew all of the topics listed above before taking the exam and that is how I felt prepared. There may be additional topics that I might have missed. Please make sure you cover everything that is in your book.


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