Oxytocin Important Details
Obstetrics and Gynecology is considered difficult by many NCLEX takers. But since it is a major subject, questions about this field are sure to appear in your forthcoming test. Increase your chances of passing the exam by familiarizing yourself with one of Ob-Gyne’s most common medications: Oxytocin.
Indications for Use
Also known by the brand name Pitocin, it is a synthetic hormone similar to the substance produced by the hypothalamus. Oxytocin works by stimulating the uterus, as such it is used to jumpstart labor – and continue it along the way.
Apart from stimulating labor, Oxytocin is used to control post-partum bleeding. It is also indicated in the management of incomplete or inevitable abortion.
Pitocin also causes the contraction of lacteal glands. As such, it is used to improve milk secretion in breastfeeding mothers.
While Oxytocin can help stimulate labor, an aspiring nurse like you should be mindful about assessing the patient receiving the said drug. History-taking is vital, as cephalopelvic disproportion, unfavorable fetal presentation/position, previous Caesarian section and toxemia are contraindications to the use of Pitocin.
As a nurse, it is also important to monitor the patient’s uterine contraction and uterine tone. Other aspects that should be included in the assessment are the patient’s vital signs, reflexes, breath sounds and urinary output. Lab tests such as CBC and coagulation studies should be evaluated in patients receiving Oxytocin as well.
NCLEX Nursing Interventions
Since Oxytocin works by stimulating the uterus, the nurse should be vigilant in monitoring uterine tone and uterine contraction. Maternal BP should be checked periodically as well. As a nurse, it is your responsibility to discontinue the drug and alert the physician if you notice signs of uterine spasm/hyperactivity or an impending hypertensive emergency (characterized by sudden headache, elevated BP and stiff neck, to name a few.)
Apart from the mother, the fetus (specifically his heart rate) should be monitored while the patient undergoes Oxytocin therapy. In case of rapid changes in FHT, the solution should be discontinued and the patient should be placed on her side to avoid fetal anoxia.
Oxytocin also has marked effects on the baby. After delivery, the nurse should check the neonate for the onset of jaundice or retinal hemorrhage.
Important NCLEX Teaching Points
Although patients on Oxytocin are usually in hospitals and can be monitored regularly, it is your duty as a nurse to inform the client about the actions and effects of Oxytocin.
Severe and sudden headache is an adverse side effect of Oxytocin. Instruct patient to report such onset to you or other healthcare providers, ASAP.
Ob-Gyne NCLEX questions might be hard, but you can ace them all simply by reviewing this study guide about Oxytocin. Learn more about other commonly asked drugs by going through the practice NCLEX questions at nclexpreceptor.com.