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Physiological Adaptations

The Physiological Adaptations section of the NCLEX-RN assesses a nurse’s ability to manage and provide care to chronically ill patients. Below is a list of terms and concepts covered on the exam.

Alterations in Body Systems

  • phototherapy
  • central line dressing
  • client wound healing
  • surgical wound drains
  • chest tube suction
  • central line placement
  • biopsy, debridement
  • peritoneal dialysis
  • chest physiotherapy
  • spirometry
  • nasopharyngeal suctioning
  • endotracheal
  • tracheostomy tube
  • complications of pregnancy/labor
  • eclampsia, precipitous labor
  • increased intracranial pressure

Fluid and Electrolyte Imbalances

  • client fluid imbalance
  • client electrolyte imbalance


  • decreased cardiac output
  • diminished peripheral pulses
  • hypotension,cardiac rhythm strip abnormalities
  • sinus bradycardia
  • premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)
  • ventricular tachycardia
  • fibrillation
  • pacemaker
  • biventricular pacemaker
  • implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • arterial lines
  • telemetry monitoring
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • hemodialysis
  • arteriovenous (AV) shunt
  • fistula
  • graft

Illness Management

  • gastric lavage
  • cast placement

Infectious Disease

  • AIDS treatment
  • tuberculosis treatment

Medical Emergencies

  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Heimlich maneuver
  • respiratory support
  • automated external defibrillator
  • wound disruption
  • evisceration
  • dehiscence
  • restoration of breathing
  • restoration of pulse


Radiation Therapy

  • effects of radiation therapy
  • response to radiation therapy

Unexpected Response to Therapies

  • increased intracranial pressure
  • hemorrhage
  • unexpected hematopoietic changes
  • urinary tract infection

Return to the main NCLEX Study Guide page

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