What's Tested on the NCLEX: Health Promotion and Maintenance

On the NCLEX-RN® exam, health promotion and maintenance involves helping your clients achieve and continue to enjoy optimal health. You help people to identify that target state, discover their strengths and their needs, and then support their path to full health and wellness potential. Putting your enthusiasm into screening, education, and treatment efforts can make a significant difference in successful outcomes.

You can expect approximately 9 percent of the questions to relate to Health Promotion and Maintenance. This category focuses on the knowledge of expected growth and development principles, prevention and/or early detection of health problems, and strategies to achieve optimal health. NCLEX-RN Exam content related to Health Promotion and Maintenance includes, but is not limited to, the following areas:

• Aging process
• Ante/intra/postpartum and newborn care
• Developmental stages and transitions
• Health and wellness
• Health promotion/disease prevention
• Health screening
• High risk behaviors
• Lifestyle choices
• Principles of teaching/learning
• Self-care
• Techniques of physical assessment
There are three levels of prevention: primary, secondary and tertiary. Health Promotion and Maintenance will make up six to twelve percent of the NCLEX-RN and will focus on all three levels.

Primary Prevention

This is the type of prevention that typically comes to mind first. It focuses on activities individuals can do to avoid disease or injury before they happen.

A key component behind primary prevention is eliminating risk factors from our surroundings and making lifestyle changes before becoming sick. Smoking cessation, increased physical activity, weight loss, and dietary changes, such as eliminating excess sugars, or cutting cholesterol are all examples of modifiable risk factors.

These simple modifications also help in preventing high blood pressure, breathing problems, such as COPD or lung cancer, and assist with diabetes management. Practicing cautious behavior such as safe sex, wearing helmet while riding a bike, wearing a seatbelt in the car, and brushing your teeth also contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

It’s also recommended patients get yearly flu shots help to decrease transmission of the disease. Simply avoiding individuals who are sick and increased handwashing can help to stop the spread of germs. The power of hand-washing with good old fashion soap and water should be underestimated.

Furthermore, getting the required vaccinations from birth to 18 years of age can help prevent the spread of diseases in schools. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a user-friendly chart of the appropriate vaccines for the corresponding age.

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Secondary Prevention

This type of prevention involves the detection of a disease or injury in its earliest stages, and if caught early enough, reduces the effect on the individual.

Annual screenings, such as mammograms, are recommended by the American Cancer Association for women over the age of 45 and colonoscopies for men and women above the age of 50 every ten years. Should abnormalities be noted during these preventative procedures, treatment will begin to stop their progression.

Yearly, head to toe physical assessments and blood work allow for detection of diseases like high cholesterol or diabetes for any age group, thus allowing a doctor to proceed with treatment to preventing worsening of symptoms.

Males and females should be performing self care exams, such as, monthly testicular exams and monthly breast exams, respectively, preferably in the shower and at the same time each month. Both males and females should be aware of any changes in their anatomy and immediately schedule doctor’s appointments should they notice a change, i.e. lumps or pain with palpation.

Tertiary Prevention

Rather than preventing a disease or catching it early, this third type of prevention aims to help a patient manage and lessen long-term symptoms of an existing condition.
In addition to helping restore a quality of life, it prevents the symptoms from becoming more terminal, leading to disability or death. For example, a diabetic controlling their glucose or rehabilitation after a stroke.

NCLEX-RN® Sample Question: Health Promotion and Maintenance

Here is an example of a Health Promotion and Maintenance question:

The nurse is assessing the best approach to prepare three clients for surgery. Each has a different learning preference. Match the learning preference to the appropriate approach. All options must be used.

1. Brochures about preparation activities
2. Models of the relevant anatomy
3. Discussions about surgery

A. Auditory
B. Visual
C. Tactile

The answer is 1 (B), 2 (C), 3 (A)
The nurse is assessing the best approach to prepare three clients for surgery. Each has a different learning preference. Match the learning preference to the appropriate approach. All options must be used.
Category:  Principles of teaching/learning
1. (B): Brochures about preparation activities are visual: the client needs to see words and pictures.
2. (C): Models of the relevant anatomy are tactile: the client needs to touch the model.
3. (A): Discussions about the surgery are auditory: the client needs to hear the words.

Health Promotion and Maintenance on the NCLEX-RN® exam includes everything from aspects of childbirth to features of old age, and includes health and wellness across the life span. Whatever your clinical setting, and whatever the reason for clients seeking medical help, you can rely on your grasp of basic health promotion and maintenance concepts. That knowledge will be evident when you successfully take the NCLEX-RN® exam.

NCLEX-RN® Quiz: Health Promotion and Maintenance

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