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Lithium Carbonate: What You Need to Know

Lithium Carbonate Must-Knows
The NCLEX consists of four core topics, with Physiological Integrity as one of them. Under this section is ‘pharmacological and parenteral therapies,’ undoubtedly one of the hardest subjects in the exam.

As such, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the common medications found in the NCLEX, one of which is Lithium Carbonate. Here are some important facts you need to know about this drug:

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Indication for Use
Lithium Carbonate is an anti-manic drug, used in the treatment of manic episodes in individuals with bipolar disorder. It is also used as a maintenance drug, in order to decrease the intensity and frequency of ensuing manic outbreaks.

Lithium Carbonate, also known by the names Eskalith, Eskalith CR, Lithobid, Lithonate and Lithotabs, works by inhibiting dopamine and norepinephrine release. Placed under Pregnancy Category D, this drug is known to cross the placenta and the milk ducts.
Nursing Considerations
As a nurse, you need to know that Lithium Carbonate interacts with a lot of drugs and supplements. Toxicity can occur if it is taken in conjunction with Thiazide diuretics such as Hydrochlorothiazide and Indapamide. CNS toxicity can also occur if it is taken with Carbamazepine.

Plasma Lithium Carbonate levels, on the other hand, can increase and become toxic if it taken in conjunction with NSAIDs (i.e. Ibuprofen and Meloxicam) and Indomethacin.

Prior to administering Lithium Carbonate, make sure to take the patient’s history. Note if the patient has a severe heart or kidney problem. Assess if the patient takes diuretics, or if he suffers from tartrazine hypersensitivity.

Also remember to monitor the patient’s vital signs, weight, orientation and affect prior to administering Lithium Carbonate. Check his fluid intake and output as well. Do not […]

Vitamin K – Pass the NCLEX on your First Time by Mastering this Drug

Master Vitamin K
Vitamins are essential for everybody’s health. So if you are an aspiring nurse, you definitely have to master these vital substances.

Now that you are about to take your NCLEX, remember that you need to be familiar with the common drugs, such as Vitamin K. Often found in NCLEX tests, you can memorize its important points by reading through the rest of this article.

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Indications for Use
Also known as Phytomenadione, Vitamin K is a medication that works similar to the natural vitamin found in green leafy vegetables and fish. It is needed for the synthesis of clotting factors that prevent excessive bleeding.

Vitamin K is prescribed in patients who suffer from an overdose of oral anti-coagulants, such as Coumadin and Inandione. It is also used in individuals who suffer from hypoprothrombinemia resulting from the intake of oral antibiotics and Vitamin A.

Those with disorders resulting to the malabsorption and inadequacy of Vitamin K, such as ulcerative colitis and obstructive jaundice, are also treated with the said drug.

Vitamin K is also an essential medication for newborns, as it is used in the treatment of neonatal hemorrhagic disease.
Nursing Considerations
As a nurse, you are responsible for monitoring the patient who will receive Vitamin K. You should take a comprehensive history, specifically noting if he has allergies. For female patients, establish if they are pregnant, planning to be pregnant or lactating, as it can cause jaundice and other conditions to the fetus/neonate.

Since Vitamin K helps in the synthesis of clotting factors, you should check the patient’s PT and INR tests every so often.
NCLEX Nursing Interventions
As it has been established, you should religiously monitor your patient’s PT/INR response. After all, the result […]

Epogen Pointers: What You Need to Become an Excellent Nurse

Epogen Pointers for Excellent Nursing
Anemia is a condition characterized by the inadequacy of red blood cells, components that deliver oxygen to various parts of the body. This disorder is hallmarked by symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, tachycardia and pallor.

To cure this illness, doctors usually prescribe Epogen. As such, this medication is commonly found in the NCLEX.
Indications for Use
Generically known as Epoietin Alfa, Epogen is categorized as a recombinant human erythropoietin. It boosts the production of glycoproteins in the kidneys, which then increases the synthesis of red blood cells in the bone marrow.

Epogen is prescribed in patients with anemia related to the following:

Chronic renal failure, especially those on dialysis
Renal failure in ages 1-16 years old, requiring dialysis
Zidovudine therapy for HIV-AIDS
Chemotherapy

Apart from anemia treatment, Epogen is also used to reduce allogenic blood transfusions in patients undergoing surgery. Other indications included pruritus secondary to renal failure, myelodysplastic syndrome and chronic inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis.
Nursing Considerations
Assessment is an integral part of Epogen therapy. As such, make sure to take the patient’s history and note for hypersensitivity to mammalian cell-derived products/human albumin, uncontrolled hypertension and lactation.

As for physical examination, obtain pertinent information such as the patient’s vital signs, affect, reflexes and urinary output prior to administration. Ensure that lab exams such as CBC, Hematocrit, Serum iron, electrolytes and renal function tests are extracted accordingly.
NCLEX Nursing Interventions
When preparing Epogen, remember to gently mix the solution. Do not shake the vial, as it might denature the glycoprotein. Additionally, use only one dose per vial and avoid re-entering it. Discard the vial after use, even if there is still something remaining in the container.

Avoid giving Epogen with any other drug or medication.

Epogen should be administered thrice weekly. Intravenous […]

Acyclovir Pointers: What You Need to Pass Your NCLEX Quickly

Vital Acyclovir Pointers
The first anti-viral medications were created in the 1960’s, and they were all focused on curing the herpes virus family. Fortunately, through tireless effort and monitoring – Acyclovir – one of the common NCLEX medications – was invented.
Indications for Use
Known with the brand name of Zovirax, Acyclovir is an anti-viral agent that works by inhibiting DNA replication.

Whereas antibiotics are for bacterial infections, anti-virals such as Acyclovir are prescribed for certain viral illnesses. Compared to antibiotics, anti-virals can only inhibit the development of pathogens, and not destroy them.

Acyclovir is primarily prescribed in patients suffering from a Herpes infection. They include:

Genital herpes
Herpes zoster/ Herpes simplex
Herpes simplex encephalitis in babies 6 months and younger
Mucosal/cutaneous Herpes Simplex (HSV) 1 or 2 in Immunocompromised patients
HSV infection following transplant
Disseminated eczema herpeticum

Other indications include Cytomegalovirus infection, infectious mononucleosis and varicella pneumonia.

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Nursing Considerations
As it has been emphasized in nursing school, assessment is the first vital step to the nursing process. Before administering Acyclovir, make sure to evaluate the patient for the presence of allergies, congestive heart failure, seizures, renal disorder and lactation.

Additionally, perform a thorough physical examination of the patient. Check the client’s vital signs, orientation, lung sounds, urinary output, skin color and presence of skin lesions. Lab exams that should be requested are kidney function tests (BUN and Creatinine.)
NCLEX Nursing Interventions
When administering systemic Acyclovir, ensure that the patient is hydrated throughout the course of the therapy. Remember that this drug is nephrotoxic, which means it can have a negative effect on the kidneys.

If administering Acyclovir topically, institute treatment as soon as the first infectious signs and symptoms appear. Additionally, don a finger cot when applying the medication.
Important NCLEX Teaching […]

Score High in Your NCLEX: MAOI Inhibitors Must-Knows

MAOI Inhibitors Must-Knows
According to studies, depression affects more than 120 million individuals around the world. This mental disorder, unfortunately, disturbs one’s quality of life, relationships and social skills. Worst of all, it has led to approximately 850,000 cases of suicide worldwide.

Because of the prevalence of this disease, it is your responsibility as a nurse to familiarize yourself – as well as your clients – with anti-depressant medications, such as MAOI Inhibitors.

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Indications for Use
MAOI inhibitors are anti-depressants that affect neurotransmitters that serve as linkages between neurons. It addresses depression symptoms by altering the levels of such brain chemicals.

MAOI inhibitors prevent the synthesis of monoamine oxidase, which eliminates dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine from the brain. With higher levels of the aforementioned neurotransmitters, enhanced mood is experienced.

Examples of MAOI inhibitors are Phenelzine (Nardil), Selegilin (Emsam), Isocarboxazid (Marplan) and Tranylcypromine (Parnate.)
Nursing Considerations
Before administering MAOI inhibitors, the nurse should take the history of the patient. Pertinent information that should be noted are hypersensitivity to MAOI inhibitors, seizure disorders and cerebrovascular defects. Disorders such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and hyperthyroidism should be documented as well.

As for physical examination, the nurse should obtain the client’s vital signs, reflexes, affect, orientation and urine output. Skin color and the presence of skin lesions should be checked as well. Laboratory tests that should be obtained include CBC, urinalysis, thyroid function tests, ECG and EEG.
NCLEX Nursing Interventions
The most important nursing intervention for patients taking MAOI inhibitors is to ensure that they limit the intake of tyramine-rich foods. Tyramine, whose breakdown is impeded by MAOI inhibitors, can lead to a hypertensive crisis. Symptoms include elevated BP and severe headache. At the sign of this, immediately discontinue the […]