What Are the Different Types of NCLEX-RN® Questions?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses® (NCLEX-RN®) is a standardized test taken by nursing school graduates in the United States to obtain a license to practice. This test contains four different categories of questions, including safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, physiological integrity, and psychosocial integrity. Applicants must register with the state board of nursing that they wish be licensed by and receive approval before he or she is able to register for the computer adaptive test (CAT), which can be taken any day.

Safe and effective care environment is the first section of the test. This category of NCLEX-RN® questions includes both management of care as well as safety and infection control. The management of care section includes questions on case management, delegation, informed consent, supervision, and referrals, and these questions are multiple-choice. Disposing of and handling hazardous materials, security, emergency response plans, and the prevention of injury are topics that make up the questions presented in the safety and infection control section of the exam.


Health promotion and maintenance NCLEX-RN® questions test the person’s knowledge of promoting preventative measures to patients and implementing health promotional materials into the hospital staff’s daily use with patients. It also shows the person’s ability to answer fact-based questions about various wellness programs, lifestyle choices and behaviors, prevention of illness, and the aging process. Registered nurses are expected to be able to deliver information that helps patients prevent future disease, and he or she should be able to direct other nursing staff to provide preventative care information as well.

In the physiological integrity NCLEX-RN® questions of the exam, students are asked about basic care and comfort, reduction of risk potential, physiological adaptation, and pharmacological and parental therapies. This section of the test requires the person to answer questions on everything from informing patients of daily hygiene practices to understanding how to perform care on a patient prior to surgery. Physiological integrity questions also test the applicant’s knowledge of administering the correct dosage of a medication, heomdynamics, and monitoring vital signs during an emergency procedure.

The psychosocial integrity NCLEX-RN® questions test the person's knowledge of working with patients and families during times of heightened emotions. It tests the person on being able to recognize and report abuse or neglect and how to communicate to patients about grief. This part of the exam also covers topics such as religion and health, diversity, stress, and end of life care.


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