NCLEX / HESI Study Guide

Here is a study guide composed by 3 students to help us pass the HESI exit and NCLEX exams. Nursing Students HESI Article


All three of us passed the first time with 75 questions. If you know everything on this guide you will do well. Kind of long but worth studying.

Best of luck to you
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HESI Hints & NCLEX Gems

  • Answering NCLEX Questions

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

  • Physiologic
  • Safety
  • Love and Belonging
  • Esteem
  • Self-actualization

Nursing Process

  • Assessment
  • Diagnosis (Analysis)
  • Planning
  • Implementation (treatment)
  • Evaluation


  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation

Before we continue Watch About A Nursing Student: The Life Of A Student video...

Normal Values


  • Males 14-18
  • Females 12-16


  • Males 42-52
  • Females 37-47


  • Males 4.7-6.1 million
  • Females 4.2-5.4 million


  • 4.5-11k


  • 150-400k

PT (Coumadin/Warfarin)

  • 11-12.5 sec (INR and PT TR = 1.5-2 times normal)

APTT (Heparin)

  • 0-70 sec (APTT and PTT TR = 1.5-2.5 times normal)

BUN 10-20
Creatinine 0.5-1.2
Glucose 70-110
Bilirubin Newborn 1-12
Phenylalanine Newborn
Na+ 136-145

K+ 3.5-5

  • HypoK+ . . . Prominent U waves, Depressed ST segment, Flat T waves
  • HyperK+ . . . Tall T-Waves, Prolonged PR interval, wide QRS

Ca++ 9-10.5

  • Hypocalcemia ... muscle spasms, convulsions, cramps/tetany, + Trousseau's, + Chvostek's, prolonged ST interval, prolonged QT segment

Mg+ 1.5-2.5
Cl- 96-106
Phos 3-4.5
Albumin 3.5-5
Spec Gravity 1.005-1.030
Glycosylated Hemoglobin (Hgb A1c): 4-6% ideal,
Dilantin TR = 10-20
Lithium TR = 0.5-1.5

Arterial Blood Gases ... Used for Acidosis vs. Alkalosis

  • PH 7.35-7.45
  • CO2 35-45 (Respiratory driver) ... High = Acidosis
  • HCO3 21-28 (Metabolic driver) ... High = Alkalosis
  • O2 80-100
  • O2 Sat 95-100%


Digoxin ... Digiband

Coumadin ... Vitamin K (Keep PT and INR @ 1-1.5 X normal)

Benzodiazapines ... Flumzaemil (Tomazicon)

Magnesium Sulfate ... Calcium Gluconate?

Heparin ... Protamine Sulfate (Keep APTT and PTT @ 1.5-2.5 X normal)

Tylenol ... Mucomist (17 doses + loading dose)

Opiates (narcotic analgesics, heroin, morphine) ... Narcan (Naloxone)

Cholinergic Meds (Myesthenic Bradycardia) ... Atropine

Methotrexate ... Leucovorin


RN Only

  • Blood Products (2 RNs must check)
  • Clotting Factors
  • Sterile dressing changes and procedures
  • Assessments that require clinical judgment
  • Ultimately responsible for all delegated duties

Unlicensed Assistive Personnel

  • Non-sterile procedures

Precautions & Room Assignments

Universal (Standard) Precautions ... HIV initiated

  • Wash hands
  • Wear Gloves
  • Gowns for splashes
  • Masks and Eye Protection for splashes and droplets
  • Don't recap needles
  • Mouthpiece or Ambu-bag for resuscitation
  • Refrain from giving care if you have skin lesion

Droplet (Respiratory) Precautions (Wear Mask)

  • Sepsis, Scarlet Fever, Strep, Fifth Disease (Parvo B19), Pertussis, Pneumonia, Influenza, Diptheria, Epiglottitis, Rubella, Rubeola, Meningitis, Mycoplasma, Adenovirus, Rhinovirus
  • RSV (needs contact precautions too)
  • TB ... Respiratory Isolation

Contact Precautions = Universal + Goggles, Mask and Gown

No infection patients with immunosuppressed patients

Weird Miscellaneous Stuff

Rifampin (for TB) ... Rust/orange/red urine and body fluids
Pyridium (for bladder infection) ... Orange/red/pink urine

Glasgow Coma Scale ...

Myesthenia Gravis

  • Myesthenic Crisis = Weakness with change in vitals (give more meds)
  • Cholinergic Crisis = Weakness with no change in vitals (reduce meds)

Diabetic Coma vs. Insulin Shock ... Give glucose first - If no help, give insulin
Fruity Breath = Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Acid-Base Balance

  • If it comes out of your ***, it's Acidosis.
  • Vomiting = Alkalosis

Skin Tastes Salty = Cystic Fibrosis
Lipitor (statins) in PMs only - No grapefruit juice
Stroke ... Tongue points toward side of lesion (paralysis), Uvula deviates away from the side of lesion (paralysis)
Hold Digoxin if HR < 60
Stay in bed for 3 hours after first ACE Inhibitor dose
Avoid Grapefruit juice with Ca++ Channel Blockers
Anthrax = Multi-vector biohazard
Pulmonary air embolism prevention = Trendelenburg (HOB down) + on left side (to trap air in right side of heart)
Head Trauma and Seizures ... Maintain airway = primary concern
Peptic Ulcers ... Feed a Duodenal Ulcer (pain relieved by food) ... Starve a gastric ulcer
Acute Pancreatitis ... Fetal position, Bluish discoloration of flanks (Turner's Sign), Bluish discoloration of pericumbelical region (Cullen's Sign), Board like abdomen with guarding ... Self digestion of pancreas by trypsin.
Hold tube feeding if residual > 100mL
In case of Fire ... RACE and PASS
Check Restraints every 30 minutes ... 2 fingers room underneath
Gullain-Barre Syndrome ... Weakness progresses from legs upward - Resp arrest
Trough draw = ~30 min before scheduled administration ... Peak Draw = 30-60 min after drug administration.

Mental Health & Psychiatry

Most suicides occur after beginning of improvement with increase in energy levels

MAOIs ... Hypertensive Crisis with Tyramine foods

  • Nardil, Marplan, Parnate
  • Need 2 wk gap from SSRIs and TCAs to admin MAOIs

Lithium Therapeutic Range = 0.5-1.5
Phenothiazines (typical antipsychotics) - EPS, Photosensitivity
Atypical Antipsychotics - work on positive and negative symptoms, less EPS
Benzos (Ativan, Lorazepam, etc) good for Alcohol withdrawal and Status Epilepticus
Antabuse for Alcohol deterrence - Makes you sick with OH intake
Alcohol Withdrawal = Delerium Tremens - Tachycardia, tachypnea, anxiety, nausea, shakes, hallucinations, paranoia ... (DTs start 12-36 hrs after last drink)
Opiate (Heroin, Morphine, etc.) Withdrawal = Watery eyes, runny nose, dilated pupils, NVD, cramps
Stimulants Withdrawal = Depression, fatigue, anxiety, disturbed sleep


Hypoventilation = Acidosis (too much CO2)

Hyperventilation = Alkalosis (low CO2)

No BP or IV on side of Mastectomy

Opiate OD = Pinpoint Pupils

Lesions of Midbrain = Decerebrate Posturing (Extended elbows, head arched back)

Lesions of Cortex = Decorticate Posturing (Flexion of elbows, wrists, fingers, straight legs, mummy position)

Urine Output of 30 mL/hr = minimal competency of heart and kidney function

Kidney Stone = Cholelithiasis

  • Flank pain = stone in kidney or upper ureter
  • Abdominal/scrotal pain = stone in mid/lower ureter or bladder

o Renal Failure ... Restrict protein intake

  • Fluid and electrolyte problems ... Watch for HyperK+ (dizzy, wk, nausea, cramps, arhythmias)
  • Pre-renal Problem = Interference with renal perfusion
  • Intra-renal Problem= Damage to renal parenchyma
  • Post-renal Problem = Obstruction in UT anywhere from tubules to urethral meatus.
  • Usually 3 phases (Oligouric, Diuretic, Recovery)
  • Monitor Body Wt and I&Os

Steroid Effects = Moon face, hyperglycemia, acne, hirsutism, buffalo hump, mood swings, weight gain - Spindle shape, osteoporosis, adrenal suppression (delayed growth in kids) . . . (Cushing's Syndrome symptoms)

Addison's' Crisis = medical emergency (vascular collapse, hypoglycemia, tachycardia ... Admin IV glucose + corticosteroids) ... No PO corticosteroids on empty stomach

Potassium sparing diuretic = Aldactone (Spironolactone) ... Watch for hyperK+ with this and ACE Inhibitors.

Cardiac Enzymes ... Troponin (1 hr), CKMB (2-4 hr), Myoglobin (1-4 hr), LDH1 (12-24 hr)

MI Tx ... Nitro - Yes ... NO Digoxin, Betablockers, Atropine

Fibrinolytics = Streptokinase, Tenecteplase (TNKase)

CABG = Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

PTCA = Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty

Sex after MI okay when able to climb 2 slights of stairs without exertion (Take nitro prophylactically before sex)

BPH Tx = TURP (Transurethral Resection of Prostate) ... some blood for 4 days, and burning for 7 days post-TURP.

Only isotonic sterile saline for Bladder Irrigation

Post Thyroidectomy - Keep tracheostomy set by the bed with O2, suction and Calcium gluconate

Pericarditis ... Pericardial Friction Rub, Pain relieved by leaning forward

Post Strep URI Diseases and Conditions:

  • Acute Glomerulonephritis
  • Rheumatic Fever ... Valve Disease
  • Scarlet Fever

If a chest-tube becomes disconnected, do not clamp ... Put end in sterile water

Chest Tube drainage system should show bubbling and water level fluctuations (tidaling with breathing)

TB ... Treatment with multidrug regimen for 9 months ... Rifampin reduces effectiveness of OCs and turns pee orange ... Isoniazide (INH) increases Dilantin blood levels

Use bronchodilators before steroids for asthma ... Exhale completely, Inhale deeply, Hold breath for 10 seconds

Ventilators ... Make sure alarms are on ... Check every 4 hours minimum

Suctioning ... Pre and Post oxygenate with 100% O2 ... No more than 3 passes ... No longer than 15 seconds ... Suction on withdrawal with rotation


  • Emphysema = Pink Puffer
  • Chronic Bronchitis = Blue Bloater (Cyanosis, Rt sided heart failure = bloating/edema)

o O2 Administration

  • Never more than 6L/min by cannula
  • Must humidify with more than 4L/hr
  • No more than 2L/min with COPD ... (CO2 Narcosis)
  • In ascending order of delivery potency: Nasal Cannula, Simple Face Mask, Nonrebreather Mask, Partial Rebreather Mask, Venturi Mask
  • Restlessness and Irritability = Early signs of cerebral hypoxia

IVs and Blood Product Administration

18-19 gauge needle for blood with filter in tubing

Run blood with NS only and within 30 minutes of hanging

Vitals and Breath Sounds ... before, during and after infusion (15 min after start, then 30 min later, then hourly up to 1 hr after)

Check Blood: Exp Date, clots, color, air bubbles, leaks

2 RNs must check order, pt, blood product ... Ask Pt about previous transfusion Hx

Stay with Pt for first 15 minutes ... If transfusion rxn ... Stop and KVO with NS

Pre-medicate with Benadryl PRN for previous urticaria rxns

Isotonic Solutions

  • D5W
  • NS (0.9% NaCl)
  • Ringers Lactate
  • NS only with blood products and Dilantin

Diabetes and Insulin

When in doubt - Treat for Hypoglycemia first

First IV for DKA = NS, then infuse regular insulin IV as RX'd

Hypoglycemia ... confusion, HA, irritable, nausea, sweating, tremors, hunger, slurring

Hyperglycemia ... weakness, syncope, polydipsia, polyuria, blurred vision, fruity breath

Insulin may be kept at room T for 28 days

Draw Regular (Clear) insulin into syringe first when mixing insulins

Rotate Injection Sites (Rotate in 1 region, then move to new region)

Rapid Acting Insulins ... Lispro (Humalog) and Aspart (Novolog) ... O: 5-15 min, P: .75-1.5 hrs

Short Acting Insulin ... Regular (human) ... O: 30-60 min, P: 2-3 hrs (IV Okay)

Intermediate Acting Insulin ... Isophane Insulin (NPH) ... O: 1-2 hrs, P: 6-12 hrs

Long Acting Insulin ... Insulin Glargine (Lantus) ... O: 1.1 hr, P: 14-20 hrs (Don't Mix)

Oral Hypoglycemics decrease glucose levels by stimulating insulin production by beta cells of pancreas, increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing hepatic glucose production

  • Glyburide, Metformin (Glucophage), Avandia, Actos
  • Acarbose blunts sugar levels after meals


Leukemia ... Anemia (reduced RBC production), Immunosuppression (neutropenia and immature WBCs), Hemorrhage and bleeding tendencies (thrombocytopenia)

  • Acute Lymphocytic = most common type, kids, best prognosis

Testicular Cancer ... Painless lump or swelling testicle ... STE in shower > 14 yrs ... 15-35 = Age

Prostate Cancer ... > 40 = Age

  • PSA elevation
  • DRE
  • Mets to spine, hips, legs
  • Elevated PAP (prostate acid phosphatase)
  • TRUS = Transurethral US
  • Post Op ... Monitor of hemorrhage and cardiovascular complication

Cervical and Uterine Cancer

  • Laser, cryotherapy, radiation, conization, hysterectomy, exenteration ... Chemotherapy = No help
  • PAP smears should start within 3 years of intercourse or by age 21

Ovarian Cancer = leading cause of death from gynecological cancer

Breast Cancer = Leading cause of cancer in women

  • Upper outer quadrant, left > right
  • Monthly SBE
  • Mammography ... Baseline @ 35, Annually after age 50
  • Mets to lymph nodes, then lungs, liver, brain, spine
  • Mastectomy ... Radical Mastectomy = Lymph nodes too (but no mm resected)
  • Avoid BP measurements, injections and venipuncture on surgical side

Anti-emetics given with Chemotherapy Agents (Cytoxan, Methotrexate, Interferon, etc.)

  • Phenergan (Promethazine HCl)
  • Compazine (Prochlorperazine)
  • Reglan (Metocolpramide)
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
  • Zofran (Ondansetron HCl)
  • Kytril (Granisetron)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Syphilis (Treponema pallidum) ... Chancre + red painless lesion (Primary Stage, 90 days) ... Secondary Stage (up to 6 mo) = Rash on palms and soles + Flu-like symptoms ... Tertiary Stage = Neurologic and Cardiac destruction (10-30 yrs) ... Treated with Penicillin G IM.

Gonorrhea (Neisseria Gonorrhea) ... Yellow green urethral discharge (The Clap)

Chlamydia (Chlamydia Trachomatis) ... Mild lady partsl discharge or urethritis ... Doxycyclin, Tetracycline

Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas lady partslis) ... Frothy foul-smelling lady partsl discharge ... Flagyl

Candidiasis (Candida Albicans) ... Yellow, cheesy discharge with itching ... Miconazole, Nystatin, Clomitrazole (Gyne-Lotrimin)

Herpes Simplex 2 ... Acyclovir

HPV (Human Pappilovirus) ... Acid, Laser, Cryotherapy

HIV ... Cocktails

Perioperative Care

Breathing Es taught in advance (before or early in pre-op)

Remove nail polish (need to see cap refill)

Pre Op ... Meds as ordered, NPO X 8 hrs, Incentive Spirometry & Breathing Es taught in advance, Void, No NSAIDS X 48 hrs

Increased corticosteroids for surgery (stress) ... May need to increase insulin too

Post Op restlessness may = hemorrhage, hypoxia

Wound dehiscence or extravisation ... Wet sterile NS dressing + Call Dr.

Call Dr. post op if ... 100 or

Post Op Monitoring VS and BS ... Every 15 minutes the first hour, Every 30 min next 2 hours, Every hour the next 4 hours, then Every 4 hours PRN

1-4 hrs Post Op = Immediate Stage ... 2-24 hrs Post Op = Intermediate Stage ... 1-4 days Post Op = Extended Stage

Post Op Positioning

  • THR ... No Adduction past midline, No hip flexion past 90 degrees
  • Supratentorial Sx ... HOB 30-45 degrees (Semi-Fowler)
  • Infrantentorial Sx ... Flat
  • Phlebitis ... Supine, elevate involved leg
  • Harris Tube ... Rt/back/Lt - to advance tube in GI
  • Miller Abbott Tube ... Right side for GI advancement into small intestine
  • Thoracocentesis ... Unaffected side, HOB 30-45 degrees
  • Enema ... Left Sims (flow into sigmoid)
  • Liver Biopsy ... Right side with pillow/towel against puncture site
  • Cataract Sx ... Opp side - Semi-Fowler
  • Cardiac Catheterization ... Flat (HOB no more than 30 degrees), Leg straight 4-6 hrs, bed rest 6-12 hrs
  • Burn Autograph ... Elevated and Immob 3-7 days
  • Amputation ... Supine, elevate stump for 48 hrs
  • Large Brain Tumor Resection ... On non-operative side

Incentive Spirometry ... Inhale slowly and completely to keep flow at 600-900, Hold breath 5 seconds, 10 times per hr

Post Op Breathing Exercises ... Every 2 hours

  • Sit up straight
  • Breath in deeply thru nose and out slowly thru pursed lips
  • Hold last breath 3 seconds
  • Then cough 3 times (unless abd wound - reinforce/splint if cough)

Watch for Stridor after any neck/throat Sx ... Keep Trach kit at bed side

Staples and sutures removed in 7-14 days - Keep dry until then

No lifting over 10 lbs for 6 weeks (in general)

If chest tube comes disconnected, put free end in container of sterile water

Removing Chest Tube ... Valsalvas, or Deep breath and hold

If chest tube drain stops fluctuating, the lung has re-inflated (or there is a problem)

Keep scissors by bed if pt has S. Blakemore Tube (for esoph varices)... Sudden respiratory distress - Cut inflation tubes and remove

Tracheostomy patients ... Keep Kelly clamp and Obturator (used to insert into trachea then removed leaving cannula) at bed side

Turn off NG suction for 30 min after PO meds

NG Tube Removal ... Take a deep breath and hold it

Stomach contents pH =

NG Tube Insertion ... If cough and gag, back off a little, let calm, advance again with pt sipping water from straw

NG Tube Length ... End of nose, to era lobe, to xyphoid (~22-26 inches)

Decubitus (pressure) Ulcer Staging

  • Stage 1 = Erythema only
  • Stage 2 = Partial thickness
  • Stage 3 = Full thickness to SQ
  • Stage 4 = Full thickness + involving mm /bone

Acute Care

VA ... Hemorrhagic or Embolic

  • A-fib and A-flutter = thrombus formation
  • Dysarthria (verbal enunciation/articulation), Apraxia (perform purposeful movements), Dysphasia (speech and verbal comprehension), Aphasia (speaking), Agraphia (writing), Alexia (reading), Dysphagia (swallowing)
  • Left Hemisphere Lesion ... aphasia, agraphia, slow, cautious, anxious, memory okay
  • Right Hemisphere Lesion ... can't recognize faces, loss of depth perception, impulsive behavior, confabulates, poor judgment, constantly smiles, denies illness, loss of tonal hearing

Head Injuries ...

  • Even subtle changes in mood, behavior, restlessness, irritability, confusion may indicate increased ICP
  • Change in level of responsiveness = Most important indicator of increased ICP
  • Watch for CSF leaks from nose or ears - Leakage can lead to meningitis and mask intracranial injury since usual increased ICP symps may be absent.

Spinal Cord Injuries

  • Respiratory status paramount ... C3-C5 innervates diaphragm
  • 1 wk to know ultimate prognosis
  • Spinal Shock = Complete loss of all reflex, motor, sensory and autonomic activity below the lesion = Medical emergency
  • Permanent paralysis if spinal cord in compressed for 12-24 hrs
  • Hypotension and Bradycardia with any injury above T6
  • Bladder Infection = Common cause of death (try to keep urine acidic)


  • Infection = Primary concern
  • HyperK+ due to cell damage and release of intracellular K+
  • Give meds before dressing changes - Painful
  • Massive volumes of IV fluid given, due to fluid shift to interstitial spaces and resultant shock
  • First Degree = Epidermis (superficial partial thickness)
  • Second Degree = Epidermis and Dermis (deep partial thickness)
  • Third Degree = Epidermis, Dermis, and SQ (full thickness)
  • Rule of 9s ... Head and neck = 9%, UE = 9% each, LE = 18% each, Front trunk = 18%, Back Trunk = 18%
  • Singed nasal hair and circumoral soot/burns = Smoke inhalation burns

o Fractures

  • Report abnormal assessment findings promptly ... Compartment Syndrome may occur = Permanent damage to nerves and vessels
  • 5 P's of neurovascular status (important with fractures)
  • Pain, Pallor, Pulse, Paresthesia, Paralysis
  • Provide age-appropriate toys for kids in traction

Special Tests and Pathognomonic Signs

Tensilon Test ... Myesthenia Gravis (+ in Myesthenic crisis, - in Cholinergic crisis)

ELISA and Western Blot ... HIV

Sweat Test ... Cystic Fibrosis

Cheilosis = Sores on sides of mouth ... Riboflavin deficiency (B2)

Trousseau's Sign (Carpal spasm induced by BP cuff) ... Hypocalcemia (hypoparathyroidism)

Chvostek's Sign (Facial spasm after facial nerve tap) ... Hypocalcemia (hypoparathyroidism)

Bloody Diarrhea = Ulcerative Colitis

Olive-Shaped Mass (epigastric) and Projectile Vomiting = Pyloric Stenosis

Current Jelly Stool (blood and mucus) and Sausage-Shaped Mass in RUQ = Intussiception

Mantoux Test for TB is + if 10 mm induration 48 hrs post admin (previous BCG vaccine recipients will test +)

Butterfly Rash = SLE ... Avoid direct sunlight

5 Ps of NV functioning ... Pain, paresthesia, pulse, pallor, paralysis

Cullen's Sign (periumbelical discoloration) and Turner's Sign (blue flank) = Acute Pancreatitis

Murphy's Sign (Rt. costal margin pain on palp with inspiration) = GB or Liver disease

HA more severe on wakening = Brain Tumor (remove benign and malignant)

Vomiting not associated with nausea = Brain Tumor

Elevated ICP = Increased BP, widened pulse pressure, increased Temp

Pill-Rolling Tremor = Parkinson's (Tx with Levodopa, Cardidopa) - Fall precautions, rigid, stooped, shuffling

IG Bands on Electrophoresis = MS ... Weakness starts in upper extremities - bowel/bladder affected in 90% ... Demyelination - Tx with ACTH, corticosteroids, Cytoxan and other immunosuppressants

Reed-Sternberg Cells = Hodgkin's

Koplik Spots = Rubeola (Measles)

Erythema Marginatum = Rash of Rheumatic Fever

Gower's Sign = Muscular Dystrophy ... Like Minor's sign (walks up legs with hands)


Bench Marks

  • Birth wt doubles at 6 months and triples at 12 months
  • Birth length increases by 50% at 12 months
  • Post fontanel closes by 8 wks
  • Ant fontanel closes by 12-18 months
  • Moro reflex disappears at 4 months
  • Steady head control achieved at 4 months
  • Turns over at 5-6 months
  • Hand to hand transfers at 7 months
  • Sits unsupported at 8 months
  • Crawls at 10 months
  • Walks at 10-12 months
  • Cooing at 2 months
  • Monosyllabic Babbling at 3-6 months, Links syllables 6-9 mo
  • Mama, Dada + a few words at 9-12 months
  • Throws a ball overhand at 18 months
  • Daytime toilet training at 18 mo - 2 years
  • 2-3 word sentences at 2 years
  • 50% of adult Ht at 2 years
  • Birth Length doubles at 4 years
  • Uses scissors at 4 years
  • Ties shoes at 5 years
  • Girls' growth spurt as early at 10 years ... Boys catch up ~ Age 14
  • Girls finish growing at ~15 ... Boys ~ 17

Autosomal Recessive Diseases

  • CF, PKU, Sickle Cell Anemia, Tay-Sachs, Albinism,
  • 25% chance if: AS (trait only) X AS (trait only)
  • 50% chance if: AS (trait only) X SS (disease)

Autosomal Dominant Diseases

  • Huntington's, Marfans, Polydactyl, Achondroplasia, Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • 50% if one parent has the disease/trait (trait = disease in autosomal dominant)

X-Linked Recessive Diseases

  • Muscular Dystrophy, Hemophilia A
  • Females are carriers (never have the disease)
  • Males have the disease (but can't pass it on)
  • 50% chance daughters will be carriers (can't have disease)
  • 50% chance sons will have the disease (not a carrier = can't pass it on)
  • This translates to an overall 25% chance that each pregnancy will result in a child that has the disease

Scoliosis ... Milwaukee Brace - 23 hrs/day, Log rolling after Sx

Down Syndrome = Trisomy 21 ... Simian creases on palms, hypotonia, protruding tongue, upward outward slant of eyes

Cerebral Palsy ... Scissoring = legs extended, crossed, feet plantar-flexed

PKU ... leads to MR ... Guthrie Test ...Aspartame (NutraSweet) has phenylalanine in it and should not be given to PKU patient

Hypothyroidism ... Leads to MR

Prevent Neural tube disorders with Folic Acid during PG

Myelomeningocele ... Cover with moist sterile water dressing and keep pressure off

Hydrocephalus ... Signs of increased ICP are opposite of shock ...

  • Shock = Increased pulse and decreased BP
  • IICP = Decreased pulse and increased BP ... (+ Altered LOC = Most sensitive sign)
  • Infants ... IICP = Bulging fontanels, high pitched cry, increased hd circum, sunset eyes, wide suture lines, lethargy ... Treat with peritoneal shunt - don't pump shunt. Older kids IIPC = Widened pulse pressure
  • IICP caused by suctioning, coughing, straining, and turning - Try to avoid

Muscular Dystrophy ... X-linked Recessive, waddling gait, hyper lordosis, Gower's Sign = difficulty rising walks up legs (like Minor's sign), fat pseudohypertrophy of calves.

Seizures ... Nothing in mouth, turn hd to side, maintain airway, don't restrain, keep safe ... Treat with Phenobarbitol (Luminol), Phenytoin (Dilantin: TR = 10-20 ... Gingival Hyperplasia), Fosphenytoin (Cerebyx), Valproic Acid (Depakene), Carbamazepine (Tegritol)

Meningitis (Bacterial) ... Lumbar puncture shows Increased WBC, protein, IICP and decreased glucose

  • May lead to SIADH (Too much ADH) ... Water retention, fluid overload, dilutional hyponatremia

CF Kids taste salty and need enzymes sprinkled on their food

Children with Rubella = threat to unborn siblings (may require temporary isolation from Mom during PG)

Pain in young children measured with Faces pain scale

No MMR Immunization for kids with Hx of allergic rxn to eggs or neomycin

Immunization Side Effects ... T

Call Physician if seizures, high fever, or high-pitched cry after immunization

All cases of poisoning ... Call Poison Control Center ... No Ipecac!

Epiglottitis = H. influenza B ... Child sits upright with chin out and tongue protruding (maybe Tripod position) ... Prepare for intubation or trach ... DO NOT put anything into kid's mouth

Isolate RSV patient with Contact Precautions ... Private room is best ... Use Mist Tent to provide O2 and Ribavirin - Flood tent with O2 first and wipe down inside of tent periodically so you can see patient

Acute Glomerulonephritis ... After B strep - Antigen-Antibody complexes clog up glomeruli and reduce GFR = Dark urine, proteinuria

Wilm's Tumor = Large kidney tumor ... Don't palpate

TEF = Tracheoesophageal Atresia ... 3 C's of TEF = Coughing, Choking, Cyanosis

Cleft Lip and Palate ... Post-Op - Place on side, maintain Logan Bow, elbow restraints

Congenital Megacolon = Hirschsprung's Disease ... Lack of peristalsis due to absence of ganglionic cells in colon ... Suspect if no meconium w/in 24 hrs or ribbon-like foul smelling stools

Iron Deficiency Anemia ... Give Iron on empty stomach with citrus juice (vitamin C enhances absorption), Use straw or dropper to avoid staining teeth, Tarry stools, limit milk intake

Sickle Cell Disease ...Hydration most important ...SC Crisis = fever, abd pain, painful edematous hands and feet (hand-foot syndrome), arthralgia ...Tx + rest, hydration ... Avoid high altitude and strenuous activities

Tonsillitis ... usually Strep ... Get PT and PTT Pre-Op (ask about Hx of bleeding) ... Suspect Bleeding Post-Op if frequent swallowing, vomiting blood, or clearing throat ... No red liquids, no straws, ice collar, soft foods ... Highest risk of hemorrhage = first 24 hrs and 5-10 days post-op (with sloughing of scabs)

Primary meds for ER for respiratory distress = Sus-phrine (Epinephrine HCl) and Theophylline (Theo-dur) ... Bronchodilators

Must know normal respiratory rates for kids ... Respiratory disorders = Primary reason for most medical/ER visits for kids ...

  • Newborn ... 30-60
  • 1-11 mo ... 25-35
  • 1-3 years ... 20-30
  • 3-5 years ... 20-25
  • 6-10 years ... 18-22
  • 11-16 years ...16-20

Cardiovascular Disorders

Acyanotic = VSD, ASD, PDA, Coarc of Aorta, Aortic Stenosis

  • Antiprostaglandins cause closure of PDA (aorta - pulmonary artery)

Cyanotic = Tetralogy of Fallot, Truncus Arteriosis (one main vessel gets mixed blood), TVG (Transposition of Great Vessels) ... Polycythemia common in Cyanotic disorders

  • 3 T's of Cyanotic Heart Disease (Tetralogy, Truncus, Transposition)

Tetralogy of Fallot ... Unoxygenated blood pumped into aorta

  • ulmonary Stenosis
  • VSD
  • Overiding Aorta
  • Right Ventricular Hypertrophy
  • TET Spells ...Hypoxic episodes that are relieved by squatting or knee chest position

CHF can result ... Use Digoxin ... TR = 0.8-2.0 for kids

Ductus Venosus = Umbelical Vein to Inferior Vena Cava

Ductus Arteriosus = Aorta to Pulmonary Artery

Rheumatic Fever ... Acquired Heart Disease ... Affects aortic and mitral valves

  • Preceded by beta hemolytic strep infection
  • Erythema Marginatum = Rash
  • Elevated ASO titer and ESR
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath (Carditis), migratory large joint pain, tachycardia (even during sleep)
  • Treat with Penicillin G = Prophylaxis for recurrence of RF


Day 1 of cycle = First day of menses (bleeding) ... Ovulation on Day 14 ... 28 days total ... Sperm 3-5 days, Eggs 24 hrs ... Fertilization in Fallopian Tube

Chadwick's Sign = Bluing of lady parts (early as 4 weeks)

Hegar's Sign = Softening of isthmus of cervix (8 weeks)

Goodell's Sign = Softening of Cervix (8 weeks)

Pregnancy Total wt gain = 25-30 lbs (11-14 kg)

Increase calorie intake by 300 calories/day during PG ... Increase protein 30 g/day ... Increase iron, Ca++, Folic Acid, A & C

Dangerous Infections with PG ... TORCH = Toxoplasmosis, other, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, HPV

Braxton Hicks common throughout PG

Amniotic fluid = 800-1200 mL (

Polyhydramnios and Macrosomia (large fetus) with Diabetes

Umbelical cord: 2 arteries, 1 vein ... Vein carries oxygenated blood to fetus (opposite of normal)

FHR = 120-160

Folic Acid Deficiency = Neural tube defects

Pre-term = 20-37 weeks

Term = 38-42 weeks

Post-term = 42 weeks+

TPAL = Term births, Pre-term births, Abortions, Living children

Gravida = # of Pregnancies regardless of outcome

Para = # of Deliveries (not kids) after 20 wks gestation

Nagale's Rule ... Add 7 days to first day of last period, subtract 3 months, add 12 months = EDC

Hgb and Hct a bit lower during PG due to hyperhydration

Side-lying is best position for uteroplacental perfusion (either side tho left is traditional )

2:1 Lecithin:Sphingomyelin Ratio = Fetal lungs mature

AFP in amniotic fluid = possible neural tube defect

Need a full bladder for Amniocentesis early in PG (but not in later PG)

Lightening = Fetus drops into true pelvis

Nesting Instinct = Burst of Energy just before labor

True Labor = Regular contractions that intensify with ambulation, LBP that radiates to abdomen, progressive dilation and effacement

Station = Negative above ischial spines, Positive below

Leopold Maneuver tries to reposition fetus for delivery

Laboring Maternal Vitals ... Pulse

NON-Stress Test ... Reactive = Healthy (FHR goes up with movements)

Contraction Stress Test (Ocytocin Challenge Test)... Unhealthy = Late decels noted (positive result) indicative of UPI ... "Negative" result = No late decels noted (good result)

Watch for hyporeflexia with Mag Sulfate admin . . . Diaphragmatic Inhibition

  • Keep Calcium gluconate by the bed (antidote)


  • etal HB ... 8-12 weeks by Doppler, 15-20 weeks by fetoscope
  • Fetal movement = Quickening, 14-20 weeks
  • Showing = 14 weeks
  • Braxton Hicks - 4 months and onward

Early Decels = Head compression = OK

Variable Decels = Cord compression = Not Good

Late Decels = Utero-placental insufficiency = BAD!

If Variable or Late Decels ... Change maternal position, Stop Pitocin, Administer O2, Notify Physician

DIC ... Tx is with Heparin (safe in PG) ... Fetal Demise, Abruptio Placenta, Infection

Fundal Heights

  • 12-14 wks ... At level of symphysis
  • 20 weeks ... 20 cm = Level of umbilicus
  • Rises ~ 1 cm per week

Stages of Labor

  • Stage 1 = Beginning of Regular contraction to full dilation and effacement
  • Stage 2 = 10 cm dilation to delivery
  • Stage 3 = Delivery of Placenta
  • Stage 4 = 1-4 Hrs following delivery

Placenta Separation ... Lengthening of cord outside lady parts, gush of blood, full feeling in lady parts ... Give oxytocin after placenta is out - Not before.

Schultz Presentation = Shiny side out (fetal side of placenta)

Postpartum VS Schedule

  • Every 15 min X 1 hr
  • Every 30 min X next 2 hours
  • Every Hour X next 2-6 hours
  • Then every 4 hours

Normal BM for mom within 3 days = Normal

Lochia ... no more than 4-8 pads/day and no clots > 1 cm ... Fleshy smell is normal, Foul smell = infection

Massage boggy uterus to encourage involution ... empty bladder ASAP - may need to catheterize ... Full bladder can lead to uterine atony and hemorrhage

Tears ...1st Degree = Dermis, 2nd Degree = mm/fascia, 3rd Degree = anal sphincter, 4th Degree = rectum

APGAR = HR, R, mm tone, Reflex irritability, Color ... 1 and 5 minutes ...7-10 = Good, 4-6 = moderate resuscitative efforts, 1-3 = mostly dead

Eye care = E-mycin + Silver Nitrate ... for gonorrhea

Pudendal Block = decreases pain in perineum and lady parts - No help with contraction pain

Epidural Block = T10-S5 ... Blocks all pain ... First sign = warmth or tingling in ball of foot or big toe

Regional Blocks often result in forceps or vacuum assisted births because they affect the mother's ability to push effectively

WBC counts are elevated up to 25,000 for ~10 days post partum

Rho(D) immune globulin (RhoGAM) is given to Rh- mothers who deliver Rh+ kids... Not given if mom has a +Coombs Test ... She already has developed antibodies (too late)

Caput Succedaneum = edema under scalp, crosses suture lines

Cephalhematoma = blood under periosteum, does not cross suture lines

Suction Mouth first - then nostrils

Moro Reflex = Startle reflex (abduction of all extremities) - up to 4 months

Rooting Reflex ... up to 4 months

Babinski Reflex ... up to18 months

Palmar Grasp Reflex ...Lessens by 4 months

Ballard Scale used to estimate gestational age

Heel Stick = lateral surface of heel

Physiologic Jaundice is normal at 2-3 days ... Abnormal if before 24 hours or lasting longer than 7 days ... Unconjugated bilirubin is the culprit.

Vitamin K given to help with formation of clotting factors due to fact that the newborn gut lacks the bacteria necessary for vitamin K synthesis initially ... Vastus lateralis mm IM

Abrutio Placenta = Dark red bleeding with rigid board like abdomen

Placenta Previa = Painless bright red bleeding

DIC = Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation ... clotting factors used up by intravascular clotting - Hemorrhage and increased bleeding times result ... Associated with fetal demise, infection and abruptio placenta.

Magnesium Sulfate used to reduce preterm labor contractions and prevent seizures in Pre-Eclampsia ... Mg replaces Ca++ in the smooth mm cells resulting relaxation ... Can lead to hyporeflexia and respiratory depression - Must keep Calcium Gluconate by bed when administering during labor = Antidote ... Monitor for:

  • Absent DTR's
  • Respirations
  • Urinary Output
  • Fetal Bradycardia

Pitocin (Oxytocin) use for Dystocia... If uterine tetany develops, turn off Pitocin, admin O2 by face mask, turn pt on side. Pitocin can cause water intoxication owing to ADH effects.

Suspect uterine rupture if woman complains of a sharp pain followed by cessation of contractions

Pre-Eclampsia = Htn + Edema + Proteinuria

Eclampsia = Htn + Edema + Proteinuria + Seizures and Coma ... Suspect if Severe HA + visual disturbances

No Coumadin during PG (Heparin is OK)

Hyperemesis Gravidarum = uncontrollable nausea and vomiting ... May be related to H. pyolori ... Reglan (metaclopromide)

Insulin demands drop precipitously after delivery

No oral hypoglycemics during PG - Teratogenic ... Insulin only for control of DM

Babies born without lady partsl squeeze more likely to have respiratory difficulty initially

C-Section can lead to Paralytic Ileus ... Early ambulation helps

Postpartum Infection common in problem pregnancies (anemia, diabetes, traumatic birth)

Postpartum Hemorrhage = Leading cause of maternal death ... Risk factors include:

  • Dystocia, prolonged labor, overdistended uterus, abrutio placenta, infection

Tx includes ... Fundal massage, count pads, VS, IV fluids, Oxytocin, notify physician

Jitteriness is a symptom of hypoglycemia and hypocalcemia in the newborn

Hypoglycemia ... tremors, high pitched cry, seizures

High pitched cry + bulging fontanels = IICP

Hypothermia can lead to Hypoxia and acidoisis ... Keep warm and use bicarbonate PRN to treat acidosis in newborn.

Lay on right side after feeding ... Move stomach contents into small intestine

Jaundice and High bilirubin can cause encephalopathy ...


K+ ... Bananas, dried fruits, citrus, potatoes, legumes, tea, peanut butter

Vitamin C ... Citrus, potatoes, cantaloupe

Ca++ ... Milk, cheese, green leafy veggies, legumes

Na+ ... Salt, processed foods, seafood

Folic Acid ... Green leafy veggies, liver, citrus

Fe++ ... Green leafy veggies, red meat, organ meat, eggs, whole wheat, carrots

  • Use Z-track for injections to avoid skin staining

Mg+ ... Whole grains, green leafy veggies, nuts

Thiamine (B1) ... Pork, beef, liver, whole grains

B12 ... Organ meats, green leafy veggies, yeast, milk, cheese, shellfish

  • Deficiency = Big red beefy tongue, Anemia

Vitamin K ... Green leafy veggies, milk, meat, soy

Vitamin A ... Liver, orange and dark green fruits and veggies

Vitamin D ... Dairy, fish oil, sunlight

Vitamin E ... Veggie oils, avocados, nuts, seeds

BMI ... 18.5-24.9 = Normal (Higher = Obese)


Essentially everyone goes to Hell in a progressively degenerative hand-basket

  • Thin skin, bad sleep, mm wasting, memory loss, bladder shrinks, incontinence, delayed gastric emptying, COPD, Hypothyroidism, Diabetes

Common Ailments:

  • Delerium and Dementia
  • Cardiac Dysrhythmias
  • Cataracts and Glaucoma
  • CVA (usually thrombotic, TIAs common)
  • Decubitus Ulcers
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Thyrotoxicosis (Grave's Disease)
  • COPD (usually combination of emphysema and CB)
  • UTIs and Pneumonia ... Can cause confusion and delerium

Memory loss starts with recent - progresses to full

Dementia = Irreversible (Alzheimer's) ... Depression, Sundowning, Loss of family recognition

Delerium = Secondary to another problem = Reversible (infections common cause)

Medication Alert! ... Due to decreased renal function, drugs metabolized by the kidneys may persist to toxic levels

When in doubt on NCLEX ... Answer should contain something about exercise and nutrition.

Advanced Clinical Concepts

Erickson ... Psycho-Social Development

  • 0-1 yr (Newborn) ... Trust vs. Mistrust
  • 1-3 yrs (Toddler)... Autonomy vs. Doubt and Shame ... Fear intrusive procedures -

Security objects good (Blankies, stuffed animals)

  • 3-6 yrs (Pre-school) ... Initiative vs. Guilt ... Fear mutilation - Band-Aids good
  • 6-12 yrs (School Age) ... Industry vs. Inferiority... Games good, Peers important ... Fear loss of control of their bodies
  • 12-19 yrs (Adolescent) ... Identity vs. Role Confusion ... Fear Body Image Distortion
  • 20-35 yrs (Early Adulthood) ... Intimacy vs. Isolation
  • 35-65 yrs (Middle Adulthood) ... Generativity vs. Stagnation
  • Over 65 (Older Adulthood) ... Integrity vs. Despair

Piaget ... Cognitive Development

  • Sensorimotor Stage (0-2) ... Learns about reality and object permanence
  • Preoperational Stage (2-7) ... Concrete thinking
  • Concrete Operational Stage (7-11) ... Abstract thinking
  • Formal Operational Stage (11-adult) ... Abstract and logical thinking

Freud ... Psycho-Sexual Development

  • Oral Stage (Birth -1 year) ... Self gratification, Id is in control and running wild
  • Anal Stage (1-3) ... Control and pleasure wrt retention and pooping - Toilet training in this stage
  • Phallic Stage (3-6) ... Pleasure with genitals, Oedipus complex, SuperEgo develops
  • Latency Stage (6-12) ... Sex urges channeled to culturally acceptable level, Growth of Ego
  • Genital Stage (12 up) ... Gratification and satisfying sexual relations, Ego rules

Kohlberg ... Moral Development

  • Moral development is sequential but people do not aromatically go from one stage to the next as they mature
  • Level 1 = Pre-conventional ... Reward vs. Punishment Orientation
  • Level 2 = Conventional Morality ... Conforms to rules to please others
  • Level 3 = Post- Conventional ... Rights, Principles and Conscience (Best for All is a concern)

Calculations Rules & Formulas

Round final answer to tenths place

Round drops to nearest drop

When calculating mL/hr, round to nearest full mL

Must include 0 in front of values

Pediatric doses rounded to nearest 100th. Round down for peds

Calculating IV Flow Rates

  • Total mL X Drop Factor / 60 X #Hrs = Flow Rate in gtts/min

Calculating Infusion Times

  • Total mL X Drop Factor / Flow Rate in gtts/min X 60 = Hrs to Infuse

Watch HESI Study Tips...


1 t = 5mL
1 T = 3 t = 15 mL
1 oz = 30 cc = 30 mL = 2 T
1 gr = 60 mg
1 mg = 1000 ug (or mcg)
1 kg = 2.2 lbs
1 cup = 8 oz = 240 mL
1 pint = 16 oz
1 quart = 32 oz
Degrees F = (1.8 X C) + 32

Degrees C = (F - 32) / 1.8

  • 37 C = 98.6 F
  • 38 C = 100.4 F
  • 39 C = 102.2 F
  • 40 C = 104 F

Fall Precautions

Room close to nurses station

Assessment and orientation to room

Get help to stand (dangle feet if light headed)

Bed low with side rails up

Good lighting and reduce clutter in room

Keep consistent toileting schedule

Wear proper non-slip footwear

At home ...

  • Paint edges of stairs bright color
  • Bell on cats and dogs

Neutropenic (Immunosuppressed) Precautions

No plants or flowers in room

No fresh veggies ... Cooked foods only

Avoid crowds and infectious persons

Meticulous hand washing and hygiene to prevent infection

Report fever > 100.5 (immunosuppressed pts may not manifest fever with infection)

Bleeding Precautions (Anticoagulants, etc.)

Soft bristled tooth brush

Electric razor only (no safety razors)

Handle gently, Limit contact sports

Rotate injection sites with small bore needles for blood thinners

Limit needle sticks, Use small bore needles, Maintain pressure for 5 minutes on venipuncture sites

No straining at stool - Check stools for occult blood (Stool softeners PRN)

No salicylates, NSAIDs, or suppositories

Avoid blowing or picking nose

Do not change Vitamin K intake if on Coumadin

LEARN how to pass the NCLEX...
Download NCLEX Study Guide!

Specializes in ER, case management.

This is very helpful! Thank you!

This looks insanely helpful! Will definitely be bookmarking for study use. Just curious where you decided to start? It all seems so overwhelming that I don't even know where to begin.

Thanks for sharing your hints! Such a blessing to be going into a field where people really want to help each other and make sure we all have all the resources we could possibly want at our disposal. It is truly awesome that you were willing to take the time out of your life to share some of your tips.

I will be sitting for the HESI exit soon. Please could you email me the 35 pages of HESI/NECLEX preparations notes. I download from the site but got saved as an incorrect format and now cannot find them on this site after searching for an hour.


I will be sitting for the HESI exit soon. Please could you email me the 35 pages of HESI/NECLEX preparations notes. I download from the site but got saved as an incorrect format and now cannot find them on this site after searching for an hour.


What's your email address

Can you also send me the 35 pages of notes as well! I would highly appreciate it! [email protected]

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

Thank you for putting all of this together. Could you also send me the 35 pages of notes too? I would greatly appreciate it.

[email protected]

Thanks for the information. Can you send me a copy of the 35 page notes to [email protected]. I've been struggling with the HESI exams and feel this may hinder me from getting to take my NCLEX. Thanks in advance.

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.
Thanks for the information. Can you send me a copy of the 35 page notes to [email protected]. I've been struggling with the HESI exams and feel this may hinder me from getting to take my NCLEX. Thanks in advance.

if you click on the link or type in NCLEX PDF you can find them yourself....

This is wonderful. i will be taking the nclex next week and i am doing all it takes to read and master this since i only got 1 week.


Cant wait to review the 35 pages of notes. It looks massive but as I read through it on here I couldn't pull myself away from it and ended up going to get dinner an hour late LOL........Thanks a million!!