Calcium Gluconate-Nifty NCLEX Tips
Calcium is an important electrolyte in the body. Responsible for cardiac function, blood clotting, renal function and teeth/bone health, low levels of Calcium can be devastating to one’s health. Calcium Gluconate is likely to be found on the NCLEX RN exam.
In individuals with hypocalcemia (amongst many other conditions), Calcium Gluconate is the drug of choice. As an aspiring nurse, it is important that you learn more about this drug before you take your NCLEX exam. Here are some pointers that can help you out.
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Indication for Use
To pass the NCLEX, nursing students should know indications for medications. Calcium Gluconate is used in the treatment of disorders with negative calcium balance, including Vitamin D deficiency, hypoparathyroidism, neonatal tetany and alkalosis. It is also used in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the prevention of hypocalcemia during blood transfusion.
Calcium Gluconate is prescribed in patients with acute lead colic, hypersensitivity reactions and insect bite/sting-induced muscle cramps. Apart from being an antidote to magnesium sulfate, Calcium Gluconate is also used in the treatment of hyperkalemia-related cardiac toxicity.
Comprehensive nursing history-taking is a must prior to the administration of Calcium Gluconate. The presence of calcium allergy, hypercalcemia, renal calculi and digitalis toxicity should be noted.
As for physical examination, the nurse should perform vital signs, auscultation of lungs and bowel sounds, abdominal exam. He/She should check the client’s urinalysis and ECG exam prior to administering Calcium Gluconate as well.
Electrolyte tests should also be verified prior to Calcium Gluconate administration, as calcium and phosphorous levels usually vary inversely. Serum magnesium results should also be noted, as this electrolyte decreases along calcium depletion in the body. Nurses can find NCLEX tips and practice NCLEX questions on www.nclexpreceptor.com.
NCLEX Nursing Interventions
It is important for nurses to know the best practice interventions to pass NCLEX. Prior to administering IV Calcium Gluconate, the nurse should check the injection as extravasation can lead to necrosis and irritation. Additionally, the patient’s ECG should be monitored during administration. This can help you detect the presence of hypercalcemia, which is demonstrated by a decreased QT interval and an inverted T wave.
When administering the Calcium Gluconate injection, watch out for peripheral vasodilation (marked by a fall in BP) and reports of a ‘burning’ sensation. Throughout therapy, you should observe the patient for signs of hypocalcemia or hypercalcemia.
Important NCLEX Teaching Points
If Calcium Gluconate is used by your patient for disorders of negative calcium balance, inform him that zinc-rich foods can inhibit thorough Calcium absorption. As such, advise him to avoid food such as soy, legumes, sprouts, nuts and seeds.
Most importantly, patients taking Calcium Gluconate should be educated about the signs of hypercalcemia (constipation, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite and pain.) Emphasize that he needs to report any of the following symptoms to a healthcare provider right away.
Calcium Gluconate is an essential drug. However, a nurse like you should know all the important pointers in order to administer it safely. Be a stellar nurse by going through the medication must-knows at nclexpreceptor.com.