NCLEX : Symptoms and Tests for Gastrointestinal Conditions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for NCLEX

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Symptoms And Tests For Gastrointestinal Conditions

A client presents to the clinic for fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) as part of his colorectal screening appointment. The nurse previously instructed this patient to avoid certain foods for 48-72 hours prior to testing.

All of the following foods were to be avoided except __________.

Possible Answers:

cantaloupe

red meat

beets

prunes

turnips

Correct answer:

prunes

Explanation:

There are many foods not to be ingested just prior to FOBT, prunes are fine to eat. Red meat, broccoli, cantaloupe, beets, turnips, carrots, horseradish and several others may alter the test results and should be avoided before a FOBT. 

Example Question #2 : Symptoms And Tests For Gastrointestinal Conditions

A 70-year-old female client is being treated as an outpatient for diverticulitis. The nurse explains that there are several complications associated with this disease.

The nurse informs the patient that diverticulitis is the most common cause of what complication?

Possible Answers:

Peritonitis

Renal failure

Bowel obstruction

Severe diarrhea

Lower gastrointestinal bleeding

Correct answer:

Lower gastrointestinal bleeding

Explanation:

Diverticulitis is the most common cause of lower GI bleeds. Peritonitis and bowel obstruction are possible complications, but not most commonly associated with diverticulitis. Renal failure and severe diarrhea are not complications of diverticulitis.

Example Question #3 : Symptoms And Tests For Gastrointestinal Conditions

The pediatric nurse assesses a 11-year-old patient in the emergency department. The child’s parent explains the child’s signs and symptoms from the last few days. Which of the following statements by the parent is most important to the nurse?

Possible Answers:

“He hasn’t been eating very much since the pain started.”

“He was complaining about a strong pain in his stomach, on the right side above his hip.”

“He has been feeling this pain for the 2 days, but it suddenly went away.”

“When he walks, he holds his arm around his stomach.”

“He has a fever around 99.5F and has thrown up a few times.”

Correct answer:

“He has been feeling this pain for the 2 days, but it suddenly went away.”

Explanation:

This patient is experiencing signs of appendicitis, which include periumbilical abdominal pain (usually originating in the right lower quadrant), anorexia, nausea, vomiting, localized tenderness, muscle guarding, and a low-grade fever. Appendicitis is frequently diagnosed in young children and young adults with these symptoms and a white blood cell count from . The nurse should be most concerned if the pain has suddenly ceased, which may be a sign of perforation, which is an emergency due to hemorrhage and infection risks.

Example Question #4 : Symptoms And Tests For Gastrointestinal Conditions

The pediatric nurse cares for a young child admitted with appendicitis. Which of the following signs and symptoms most concerns the nurse?

Possible Answers:

Temperatures of 99.6 F, 99.2 F, and 99.4 F on the shift

White blood cell count of  over 3 days of hospitalization.

Distended abdomen and abdominal rigidity

Anorexia, nausea, and vomiting

Tenderness of the abdomen in the right lower quadrant

Correct answer:

Distended abdomen and abdominal rigidity

Explanation:

Without treatment, appendicitis can lead to peritonitis or perforation. Typical signs and symptoms of appendicitis include periumbilical abdominal pain, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, localized tenderness, muscle guarding, and low-grade fever. The normal WBC count for a patient with appendicitis ranges from . The nurse caring for a patient with appendicitis should always be aware of particularly concerning signs or symptoms of peritonitis, especially those that differ from established baseline signs and symptoms. Many of the symptoms of appendicitis may be apparent with peritonitis, especially tenderness, fever, and white blood cell counts. When assessing for peritonitis, the nurse should specifically look for abdominal rigidity/distention, rebound tenderness, increased/severe abdominal pain, ascites, increased temperature, increased leukocytosis, and paralytic ileus.

Example Question #5 : Symptoms And Tests For Gastrointestinal Conditions

What is the incubation period of hepatitis B (HBV)?

Possible Answers:

2-4 days

1-2 weeks

Up to 2 years

1-6 months

Correct answer:

1-6 months

Explanation:

Hepatitis B has a long incubation period. From the time of initial infection, symptoms might take from 1-6 months to appear. 

Example Question #6 : Symptoms And Tests For Gastrointestinal Conditions

A patient just returned from a trip outside of the country and is now experiencing fever, nausea, and vomiting. She tests positive for hepatitis A IgM. She would like to know if hepatitis A is a chronic infection, or if it will resolve with treatment. The nurse should advise her which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Hepatitis A generally does not become a chronic infection, but she will always be a carrier of the disease.

Hepatitis A becomes chronic in 25% of cases. Monitoring for viral DNA should be repeated every 6 months.

Hepatitis A is not a chronic disease and it does not exist in a carrier state. Once the infection is resolved, you will no longer have hepatitis A.  

Hepatitis A becomes chronic in 75% of cases. Monitoring for viral DNA should be repeated every 6 months to one year, but she will likely always carry the disease.

Correct answer:

Hepatitis A is not a chronic disease and it does not exist in a carrier state. Once the infection is resolved, you will no longer have hepatitis A.  

Explanation:

Hepatitis A is a generally benign, self-limiting disease that does not develop into a chronic hepatitis. It also cannot exist in a carrier state. Once the virus is cleared by the immune system, the individual will no longer carry the virus or be infectious to others.

Example Question #7 : Symptoms And Tests For Gastrointestinal Conditions

Hepatitis B can be transmitted via any of the following routes except __________.

Possible Answers:

semen

blood

stool

vaginal fluids

Correct answer:

stool

Explanation:

Hepatitis B is primarily transmitted via blood, vaginal secretions, and semen. While the virus is often present in saliva, it is not generally spread by sneezing, kissing, or sharing utensils (unless there are oral abrasions resulting in a mutual exchange of blood). The virus does not have fecal-oral transmission.

Example Question #8 : Symptoms And Tests For Gastrointestinal Conditions

A patient with pancreatitis is placed on an NPO order. What does this order mean?

Possible Answers:

The patient cannot eat or drink

The patient cannot walk

The patient cannot eat only

The patient cannot drink only

Correct answer:

The patient cannot eat or drink

Explanation:

NPO means is a latin phrase meaning nothing by mouth. This order is used when a patient is not allowed to eat or drink any substances, usually due to a disturbance within the GI tract or if they are scheduled for a surgery. NPO orders are common in the ICU and surgical setting.

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