You should answer NCLEX questions using “book” knowledge and not practical experience. On the NCLEX hospitals operate on massive budgets and no expense is spared to provide proper care. NCLEX test writers are covering all their bases and focus on patient care that is sometimes unrealistic in today’s healthcare world. Generally, the correct answer is the answer that identifies the safest approach. It may not be the fastest or the best, but it is the safest. The old medical slogan of “Do No Harm” applies to NCLEX test takers. NCLEX test writers are trying to make sure that you are competent and recognize that safety is the key.
Another key point on reviewing for the NCLEX, is know your normal laboratory data ranges. Lab test results on the NCLEX will not be flagged with an asterisk if the number is outside of normal ranges. NCLEX test takers must memorize the basic lab values. Focus on the blood gas values. These values in particular can be complicated. If you do not remember the normal ranges you will have no chance of answering lab value questions on the NCLEX. Many times these abnormal values will require further assessment.
It is also important to note that notifying the physician or contacting other health care workers is not the correct answer in many cases on the NCLEX. Remember the guidelines: Assess, Assess, Assess. Choose answers that require further assessment before contacting someone else on the NCLEX questions. Basically, collect more data and factual information before calling in other healthcare professionals.
Finally, think safety with all types of patient care on the NCLEX. If equipment breaks down and the patient is in trouble, work on solving the patient’s problems before getting someone else to fix the equipment. Let maintenance deal with the equipment mess and focus on getting the patient in a safe environment. The NCLEX is attempting to determine competencies related to all of the above situations.