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Pharmacology. ati tips

Pharmacology can be a tough area to review. There is so much info that it can be
difficult to feel confident. While it is not possible to memorize it all, having a strong
knowledge base of the classifications goes a long way.
The ATI pharm review book is organized by classifications. Medications in the same
classification often act in similar ways. So if you don't know much about a medication,
but you know what classification the medication belongs to, you will better grasp the
action and purpose for the client's needs.
Here are some helpful tips to help you remember
some of your classifications:
An antiemetic is a medication used in the treatment and/or prevention of nausea and
Remember generic names are our friend because meds in the same classification often
have similar generic names but brand names can come and go.
Here are some common classes of antiemetics and their generic names – notice the
similarities in the generic names:
5-HT3 receptor antagonists (serotonin antagonists)
Dolasetron (Anzemet)
Granisetron (Kytril, Sancuso)
Ondansetron (Zofran)
Tropisetron (Navoban)
It’s ‘Tron’ to the rescue!
Dopamine antagonists
Promethazine (Phenergan)
Prochlorperazine (Compazine)
Metoclopramide (Reglan): Now this one is different in generic name because it can
have some different side effects – watch for extra-pyramidal side effects with
Sometimes the generic names are not as helpful and you have to remember what meds
fall under certain classes. Antihistamines and cannabinoids are used as antiemetics as
Antihistamines (H1 histamine receptor antagonists)
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Dimenhydrinate (Gravol, Dramamine)
Meclizine (Bonine, Antivert)
Cannabis - Medical marijuana, in the U.S., it is a Schedule I drug.
Dronabinol (Marinol) - a Schedule III drug in the U.S.
*Remember most antiemetics can cause sedation so watch out for additive effect if
given with narcotic analgesics and protect your client from injury.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
PPIs decrease stomach acid by inhibiting those gastric proton pumps that make the
acid – they stop the acid at the pump!
Remember generic names are our friends because meds in the same class often have
similar generic names but brand names come and go:
Here are some common PPIsOmeprazole (brand names: Prilosec, Zegerid, Omepral, Omez)
Lansoprazole (brand names: Prevacid, Zoton, Inhibitol)
Dexlansoprazole (brand name: Kapidex, Dexilant)
Esomeprazole (brand names: Nexium, Esotrex)
Pantoprazole (brand names: Protonix, Somac, Pantozol, Zentro)
Think of a pump in your stomach just churning out the acid – ‘Zole’ is the nice guy who
shuts off the pump.
‘Zole’ is very friendly (well-tolerated by most clients), but can cause vitamin B12
deficiency if he stays around too long (with long-term use).
Erectile Dysfunction Agents
Erectile dysfunction (ED) meds act by increasing nitric oxide which opens and relaxes
the blood vessels of the penis causing increased blood flow (helping lead to getting and
keeping an erection).
Here is where the generic name is our friend again – meds in the same class often have
similar generic names but brand names will come and go:
Here are some common ED medsSildenafil (Viagra)
Vardenafil (Levitra)
Tadalafil (Cialis)
Notice these end in ‘fil’. ‘Fil’ helps the nitric oxide to ‘fil’ the penis.
While ‘Fil’ is a great guy (well-tolerated by most clients), he does have a few side effects
– headache, flushing, back pain and muscle aches (with Levitra), temporary vision
changes, including "blue vision" (with Viagra), and not all men can spend time with ‘Fil’.
Men who have heart problems, uncontrolled blood pressure problems, history of stroke,
or a health problem that can cause priapism can’t hang out with ‘Fil.’
There are many causes of anemia and the antianemic prescribed will be based upon
the cause.
With iron deficiency anemia, iron supplements are commonly prescribed. Beware
though - Iron is ‘heavy’ stuff and shouldn’t be taken ‘lightly’!
· Iron can cause teeth staining (liquid form). Teach clients to dilute liquid iron with water
or juice, drink with a straw, and rinse mouth after swallowing.
· Iron can cause staining of skin and other tissues with IM injections. If IM route must be
used, give IM doses deep IM using Z track technique.
· Iron also has several drug administration interactions- of antacids or tetracycline’s
reduces absorption of iron. Separate use by at least 2 hr.
· Vitamin C increases absorption, but also increases incidence of GI complications.
Avoid vitamin C intake when taking medication.
· Instruct clients to take iron on an empty stomach such as 1 hr before meals to
maximize absorption. Stomach acid increases absorption. However, iron can cause GI
distress (nausea, constipation, heartburn). If intolerable, iron can be administered with
food to increase compliance with therapy but this does reduce absorption.
· Instruct clients to space doses at approximately equal intervals throughout day to most
efficiently increase red blood cell production.
· Inform clients to anticipate a harmless dark green or black color of stool.
· Instruct clients to increase water and fiber intake (unless contraindicated), and to
maintain an exercise program to counter the constipation effects.
· Encourage concurrent intake of appropriate quantities of foods high in iron (liver, egg
yolks, muscle meats, yeast).
HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors also known as ‘statins’ are some of the most prescribed
medications in this country.
Statins are used to treat primary hypercholesterolemia, for prevention of coronary
events (primary and secondary), for protection against MI and stroke for clients with
diabetes, and to help increase HDL levels in clients with primary hypercholesterolemia.
Remember, LDL is the ‘bad’ cholesterol, and HDL is the ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL helps
keep the ’bad’ cholesterol from building up in artery walls). You want your LOW (LDL)
LOW and your HIGH (HDL) HIGH.
Statins are another example that generic names are our friends – check out these
common ‘statins’Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
Simvastatin (Zocor)
Lovastatin (Mevacor)
Pravastatin (Pravachol)
Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
Fluvastatin (Lescol)
While statins are a wonderful addition to our pharmaceutical arsenal, they are not
without risk. When you think ‘statins’ think that we need to protect the liver and muscles
There is a risk of hepatotoxicity. It is important to obtain a baseline liver function and to
monitor liver function tests after12 weeks and then every 6 months and to avoid alcohol.
There is also a risk of myopathy and peripheral neuropathy. Clients should be told to
report muscle weakness and/or aches, pain, tingling, and tenderness. CK levels will be
monitored periodically during treatment as well.
Anticoagulants prevent the formation of blood clots by interfering with the clotting
cascade, thereby preventing coagulation. The use of this class of medications is
contraindicated with active bleeding, such as with bleeding disorders, ulcers, or
hemorrhagic brain injuries. HEPARIN and COUMADIN are the two main anticoagulant
medications. See the acrostics below for helpful hints and important facts about these
H eparin sodium prevents thrombin from converting fibrinogen to fibrin. It is
administered IV or SQ.
E noxaparin (Lovenox) is a low-molecular weight heparin. It has the same action as
heparin, but has a longer half-life. It is administered via subcutaneous injection.
P rotamine sulfate is the antidote for heparin.
A dminister heparin when there is the likelihood of clot formation, such as with
myocardial infarction or deep-vein thrombosis.
R isk for bleeding is the major side effect that clients should be educated about. Clients
should be educated to monitor for bleeding, including bleeding gums, bruises,
hematuria, and petechiae.
I nstruct clients to avoid corticosteroid use, salicylates, NSAIDs, green leafy vegetables,
and foods high in Vitamin K.
N ormal activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) is 20 to 36 seconds, but to
maintain a therapeutic level of anticoagulation while on heparin, the aPTT should be 1.5
to 2 times the normal value (60 to 80 seconds).
C oumadin (generic name Warfarin sodium) interferes with coagulation factors by
antagonizing vitamin K.
O ral administration is typically used. Clients may need continued heparin infusion via IV
until therapeutic effect of Coumadin is experienced (may take 3-5 days).
U se is contraindicated in clients with low platelet counts or uncontrolled bleeding.
M ephyton (trade name vitamin K) is the antidote for Coumadin.
A dvise clients to avoid foods that are high in vitamin K, and avoid the use of
acetaminophen, glucocorticoids, and aspirin. Clients should wear a medical alert
bracelet indicating warfarin use.
D oses are typically taken once daily.
I NR and PT are monitored for clients who are taking Coumadin. Depending on intent of
therapy, PT should be 1.5 to 2 times control and INR should be 2-3. Target INR is 3 to
4.5 for clients with a mechanical heart valve.
N o Coumadin for pregnant women! Oral anticoagulants fall into Pregnancy Risk
Category X. Heparin may be safely used in pregnancy.
PRIORITY POINT: Recall that this class of medications increases a client’s risk
for bleeding because of their prevention of platelet aggregation. Nursing
interventions and client education focus on the client’s increased risk for
Names to Know:
· Aspirin (Ecotrin)
· Clopidogrel (Plavix)
· Pentoxifylline (Trental)
How they work: Antiplatelets prevent platelets from clumping together by inhibiting
enzymes and factors that normally cause arterial clotting.
What they are used for: These medications are used to prevent myocardial infarction
and stroke. Low dose therapy (81 mg) is effective for prevention of strokes and MI.
How are they given: These medications are most commonly taken orally. They may
also be administered IV.
Nursing Interventions:
· These medications should be taken with food.
· These medications should be used cautiously in clients with peptic ulcer disease and
in clients with severe renal/hepatic disorders.
What do clients who are taking these medications need to know?
· Observe for signs of weakness, dizziness, and headache and report them if they
occur. These may be signs of hemorrhagic stroke.
· Bleeding time should be assessed carefully. Coffee ground emesis or bloody, tarry
stools should be reported. Watch for bruising, petechiae, and bleeding gums.
What interactions may occur?
· Avoid concurrent use of medications that enhance bleeding, including NSAIDs,
heparin,and warfarin.
· Corticosteroids should be avoided as they may increase aspirin effects.
· Concurrent use of aspirin may reduce hypertensive action of beta blockers.
Thrombolytic Agents
In order to truly appreciate this drug tip, you need to familiarize yourself with the
Ghostbusters. If you haven’t heard the theme song, cue it up before reading
further. We promise it will be worth it.
PRIORITY POINT: If the Ghostbusters had a medication class of choice, this
would be it! Thrombolytic Agents are CLOT BUSTERS. They work QUICKLY to
restore circulation. As such, they increase a client’s risk for bleeding.
Who you gonna call? Streptokinase (Streptase). Call right away! These medications
must be administered within 4 to 6 hours of onset of symptoms.
If there’s something strange in your neighborhood: Thrombolytic agents dissolve
clots that have already been formed. These medications convert plasminogen to
plasmin, which destroy fibrinogen and other clotting factors.
What’s the goal? Restoration of circulation, as evidenced by relief of chest pain, and
reduction of initial ST segment injury pattern as shown on ECG.
What’s the risk? Increased bleeding. These medications should only be given while
the client is closely monitored. Baseline platelet and blood counts (including aPTT, PT,
and INR) should be carefully assessed. Venipunctures and SQ and IM injections should
be limited.
After the clot has left the building: Administer beta blockers to decrease myocardial
oxygen consumption and reduce the incidence and severity of reperfusion arrhythmias.
Herb/Botanical Therapy
Herbal supplements are widely used and have much less precise dosages than more
regulated medications. Clients may not mention herbal supplements as a part of their
medication history, so it is important to ask clients specifically if they are taking any
supplements in addition to prescription or over-the-counter medications. Here are a few
common herbal therapies:
· Used to treat the common cold.
· With chronic use, echinacea can decrease positive effects of medications for TB, HIV,
or cancer.
Ginger root:
· Used to decrease nausea of morning sickness, motion sickness, and nausea induced
by surgery.
· May also decrease the pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis.
· These medications suppress platelet aggregation.
· Should be used cautiously in pregnancy.
Ginkgo biloba:
· Promotes vasodilation and may be used to increase recall ability and mental
· Used commonly with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
· May also be used for erectile dysfunction in clients who take SSRIs and experience
impotence as a side effect.
· May interact with medications that lower the seizure threshold, such as antihistamines,
antidepressants, and antipsychotics.
· May interfere with coagulation.
· Increases GABA to prevent insomnia.
· Promotes sleep with increased effect over time. There is a risk of dependence.
· May cause drowsiness and depression.
· Should be used cautiously in clients with mental health disorders.
· Avoid use in pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Black cohosh:
· Acts on the female reproductive system as an estrogen substitute.
· May be used instead of estrogen therapy during menopause.
· Increases the effects of antihypertensive medications and may increase effect of
estrogen medications.
· Increases hypoglycemia in clients who are taking insulin or other medications for
THE BOTTOM LINE: Clients who are taking herbal supplements should be
advised to speak to their provider about possible interactions or adverse
reactions that may occur.
Insulins are used to manage diabetes mellitus, a chronic illness that results from an
absolute or relative deficiency of insulin. There are various insulins that are available to
manage diabetes. For each type of insulin, you will need to know the onset, peak, and
duration. NCLEX questions may focus on when clients need to be assessed after insulin
administration. Assessment should occur frequently, but especially during the PEAK of
insulin action, as this is when hypoglycemia is most likely to occur. Signs and symptoms
of abrupt-onset hypoglycemia include tachycardia, palpations, diaphoresis, and
shakiness. Gradual onset hypoglycemia may manifest with headache, tremors, or
We’ll CLIMB TO THE PEAK…starting FAST and ending SLOW.
FASTEST: Rapid acting insulins:Lispro (Humalog).
ONSET: Less than 15 minutes.
PEAK: 30 minutes to 1 hour.
DURATION: 3 to 4 hours.
FAST: Short acting insulins: Regular (Humulin R).
ONSET: 30 minutes to 1 hour.
PEAK: 2 to 3 hours.
DURATION: 5 to 7 hours.
SLOW: Intermediate-acting insulins: NPH insulin (Humulin N).
ONSET: 1 to 2 hours.
PEAK: 4 to 12 hours.
DURATION: 18 to 24 hours.
SLOWEST: Long-acting insulins: Insulin glargine (Lantus).
ONSET: 1 hour
PEAK: None
DURATION: 10 to 24 hours.
Many students look for ways to more easily remember all of the ranges associated with
insulin. It is helpful to think generally rather than trying to recall all exact numbers when
memorizing this information, and, if you can only remember one thing about each
insulin, CLIMB TO THE PEAK. Pick one number from each time frame (onset, peak,
duration) to help reduce the values that you’re trying to memorize. Remember that
onset, peak, and duration build sequentially as you move from one type of insulin to
another, so it may be helpful to remember, for example, that onset times go from 15
minutes, to 30 minutes, to 1 hour (trend: all onsets are less than an hour). Peak times
go from 30 minutes, to 2 hours, to 4 hours (trend: even numbers). Finally, duration goes
from 3 hours, to 5 hours, to 24 hours. If you always organize your thoughts
by O.P.D.(onset, peak, and duration), starting FAST (rapid acting) and ending SLOW
(long acting) when studying the different types of insulin, these tips will be helpful. The
key is consistency…looking at values in the same order every time.
Test taking tips:
Dealing with the dreaded ‘Select All That Apply’ question:
These are tough. Try to make them true false questions so that you don't miss any
correct choices. Read the question, read the first choice - ask yourself is it true or false
(is it correct or not). If so check it. Read the question again and the next choice - ask
yourself is it true or false. Is that true for all of the choices? Don’t allow the info from one
answer choice influence you. Only the info in the stem of the question should be
considered when picking your answers.
Prioritization Tip:
To avoid some common pitfalls when answering priority questions, be aware of the
Never perform ABC checks blindly without considering whether airway, breathing, or
circulation issues are acute versus chronic or stable versus unstable. For example, a
client who is quadriplegic and on a ventilator has chronic airway/breathing problems.
However, if there is not an acute consideration such as pneumonia, the client should be
considered chronic and stable. This client would not be the nurse’s first priority.
“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”
-Muhammad Ali
Helpful Med-Surg Tips!
Angina Precipitating Factors: 4 E’s
Exertion: physical activity and exercise
Emotional distress
Extreme temperatures: hot or cold weather
Arterial Occlusion: 4 P’s
Pulselessness or absent pulse
Congestive Heart Failure Treatment: MADD DOG
Gasses: Monitor arterial blood gasses
Heart Murmur Causes: SPASM
Stenosis of a valve
Partial obstruction
Septal defect
Mitral regurgitation
Heart Sounds: All People Enjoy the Movies
Aortic: 2nd right intercostal space
Pulmonic: 2nd left intercostal space
Erb’s Point: 3rd left intercostal space
Tricuspid: 4th left intercostal space
Mitral or Apex: 5th left intercostal space
Hypertension Care: DIURETIC
Daily weight
Intake and Output
Urine output
Response of blood pressure
Take pulse
Ischemic episodes or TIAs
Complications: CVA, CAD, CHF, CRF
Shortness of Breath (SOB) Causes: 4As+4Ps
Airway obstruction
Pulmonary Edema
Pulmonary Embolus
Stroke Signs: FAST
Compartment Syndrome Signs and Symptoms: 5 P’s
Pulse declined or absent
Pressure increased
Shock Signs and Symptoms: CHORD ITEM
Cold, clammy skin
Rapid, shallow breathing
Drowsiness, confusion
Elevated or reduced central venous pressure
Multi-organ damage
Hypoglycemia Signs: TIRED
Excessive hunger
Depression and diaphoresis
Hypocalcemia Signs and Symptoms: CATS
Stridor and spasms
Hypokalemia Signs and Symptoms: 6 L’s
Leg cramps
Limp muscles
Low, shallow respirations
Lethal cardiac dysrhythmias
Lots of urine (polyuria)
Hypertension Complications: The 4 C’s
Coronary artery disease (CAD)
Congestive heart failure (CHF)
Chronic renal failure (CRF)
Cardiovascular accident (CVA): Brain attack or stroke
Traction Patient Care: TRACTION
Temperature of extremity is assessed for signs of infection
Ropes hang freely
Alignment of body and injured area
Circulation check (5 P’s)
Type and location of fracture
Increase fluid intake
Overhead trapeze
No weights on bed or floor
Cancer Early Warning Signs: CAUTION UP
Change in bowel or bladder
A lesion that does not heal
Unusual bleeding or discharge
Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere
Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
Obvious changes in wart or mole
Nagging cough or persistent hoarseness
Unexplained weight loss
Pernicious Anemia
Leukemia Signs and Symptoms: ANT
Anemia and decreased hemoglobin
Neutropenia and increased risk of infection
Thrombocytopenia and increased risk of bleeding
Clients Who Require Dialysis: AEIOU (The Vowels)
Acid base imbalance
Electrolyte imbalances
Overload of fluids
Uremic symptoms
Asthma Management: ASTHMA
Adrenergics: Albuterol and other bronchodilators
Hydration: intravenous fluids
Mask: oxygen therapy
Antibiotics (for associated respiratory infections)
Hypoxia: RAT (signs of early) BED (signs of late)
Tachycardia and tachypnea
Extreme restlessness
Pneumothorax Signs: P-THORAX
Pleuritic pain
Tracheal deviation
Onset sudden
Reduced breath sounds (and dyspnea)
Absent fremitus
X-ray shows collapsed lung
Transient Incontinence Causes: DIAPERS
Atrophic urethra
Pharmaceuticals and psychological
Excess urine output
Restricted mobility
Stool impaction
Dealing with Constipation:
Constipation is difficult or infrequent passage of stools, which may be hard and dry.
Causes include: irregular bowel habits, psychogenic factors, inactivity, chronic laxative
use or abuse, obstruction, medications, and inadequate consumption of fiber and fluid.
Encouraging exercise and a diet high in fiber and promoting adequate fluid intake may
help alleviate symptoms.
Dealing with Dysphagia:
Dysphagia is an alteration in the client’s ability to swallow.
Causes include:
Certain neurological disorders
Modifying the texture of foods and the consistency of liquids may enable the client to
achieve proper nutrition.
Clients with dysphagia are at an increased risk of aspiration. Place the client in an
upright or high-Fowler’s position to facilitate swallowing.
Provide oral care prior to eating to enhance the client’s sense of taste.
Allow adequate time for eating, utilize adaptive eating devices, and encourage small
bites and thorough chewing.
Avoid thin liquids and sticky foods.
Dumping Syndrome:
Dumping Syndrome occurs as a complication of gastric surgeries that inhibit the ability
of the pyloric sphincter to control the movement of food into the small intestine.
This “dumping” results in nausea, distention, cramping pains, and diarrhea within 15 min
after eating.
Weakness, dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, and hypoglycemia may occur.
Small, frequent meals are indicated.
Consumption of protein and fat at each meal is indicated.
Avoid concentrated sugars.
Restrict lactose intake.
Consume liquids 1 hr before or after eating instead of with meals (a dry diet).
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD):
GERD leads to indigestion and heartburn from the backflow of acidic gastric juices onto
the mucosa of the lower esophagus.
Encourage weight loss for overweight clients.
Avoid large meals and bedtime snacks.
Avoid trigger foods such as citrus fruits and juices, spicy foods, and carbonated
Avoid items that reduce lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure, such as alcohol,
caffeine, chocolate, fatty foods, peppermint and spearmint flavors, and cigarette
Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD):
PUD is characterized by an erosion of the mucosal layer of the stomach or duodenum.
This may be caused by a bacterial infection with Helicobacter pylori or the chronic use
of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Avoid eating frequent meals and snacks, as they promote increased gastric acid
Avoid alcohol, cigarette smoking, aspirin and other NSAIDs, coffee, black pepper, spicy
foods, and caffeine.
Lactose Intolerance:
Lactose intolerance results from an inadequate supply of lactase, the enzyme that
digests lactose.
Symptoms include distention, cramps, flatus, and diarrhea.
Clients should be encouraged to avoid or limit their intake of foods high in lactose such
as: milk, sour cream, cheese, cream soups, coffee creamer, chocolate, ice cream, and
Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
A high-fiber diet may prevent diverticulosis and diverticulitis by producing stools that
are easily passed and thus decreasing pressure within the colon.
During acute diverticulitis, a low-fiber diet is prescribed in order to reduce bowel
Avoid foods with seeds or husks.
Clients require instruction regarding diet adjustment based on the need for an acute
intervention or preventive approach.
Cholecystitis is characterized by inflammation of the gallbladder. The gallbladder
stores and releases bile that aids in the digestion of fats.
Fat intake should be limited to reduce stimulation of the gallbladder.
Other foods that may cause problems include coffee, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels
sprouts, cabbage, onions, legumes, and highly seasoned foods.
Otherwise, the diet is individualized to the client’s needs and tolerance.
Acute Renal Failure (ARF):
ARF is an abrupt, rapid decline in renal function. It is usually caused by trauma, sepsis,
poor perfusion, or medications. ARF can cause hyponatremia, hyperkalemia,
hypocalcemia, and hyperphosphatemia. Diet therapy for ARF is dependent upon the
phase of ARF and its underlying cause.
Pre-End Stage Renal Disease (pre-ESRD):
Pre-ESRD, or diminished renal reserve/renal insufficiency, is a predialysis condition
characterized by an increase in serum creatinine.
Goals of nutritional therapy for pre-ESRD are to:
Help preserve remaining renal function by limiting the intake of protein and phosphorus.
Control blood glucose levels and hypertension, which are both risk factors.
Protein restriction is key for clients with pre-ESRD.
Slows the progression of renal disease.
Too little protein results in breakdown of body protein, so protein intake must be
carefully determined.
Restricting phosphorus intake slows the progression of renal disease.
High levels of phosphorus contribute to calcium and phosphorus deposits in the
Dietary recommendations for pre-ESRD:
Limit meat intake.
Limit dairy products to ½ cup per day.
Limit high-phosphorus foods (peanut butter, dried peas and beans, bran, cola,
chocolate, beer, some whole grains).
Restrict sodium intake to maintain blood pressure.
Caution clients to use vitamin and mineral supplements ONLY when recommended by
their provider.
End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD):
ESRD, or chronic renal failure, occurs when the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is less
than 25 mL/min, the serum creatinine level steadily rises, or dialysis or transplantation is
The goal of nutritional therapy is to maintain appropriate fluid status, blood pressure,
and blood chemistries.
A high-protein, low-phosphorus, low-potassium, low-sodium, fluid-restricted diet is
Calcium and vitamin D are nutrients of concern.
Protein needs increase once dialysis is begun because protein and amino acids are lost
in the dialysate.
Fifty percent of protein intake should come from biologic sources (eggs, milk, meat, fish,
poultry, soy).
Adequate calories (35 cal/kg of body weight) should be consumed to maintain body
protein stores.
Phosphorus must be restricted.
The high protein requirement leads to an increase in phosphorus intake.
Phosphate binders must be taken with all meals and snacks.
Vitamin D deficiency occurs because the kidneys are unable to convert it to its active
This alters the metabolism of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium and leads to
hyperphosphatemia, hypocalcemia, and hypermagnesemia.
Calcium supplements will likely be required because foods high in phosphorus (which
are restricted) are also high in calcium.
Potassium intake is dependent upon the client’s laboratory values, which should be
closely monitored.
Sodium and fluid allowances are determined by blood pressure, weight, serum
electrolyte levels, and urine output.
Achieving a well-balanced diet based on the above guidelines is a difficult task. The
National Renal Diet provides clients with a list of appropriate food choices.
Nephrotic Syndrome:
Nephrotic syndrome results in serum proteins leaking into the urine.
The goals of nutritional therapy are to minimize edema, replace lost nutrients, and
minimize permanent renal damage.
Dietary recommendations indicate sufficient protein and low-sodium intake.
Nephrolithiasis (Kidney Stones):
Increasing fluid consumption is the primary intervention for the treatment and prevention
of the formation of renal calculi. Excessive intake of protein, sodium, calcium, and
oxalates (rhubarb, spinach, beets) may increase the risk of stone formation.
Test taking tips!
Prioritization includes clinical care coordination such as clinical decision making, priority
setting, organizational skills, use of resources, time management, and evaluation of
Clinical decisions are made by completing a thorough assessment which will help you
make good judgments later when you see a changing clinical condition. A poor initial
assessment can lead to missed findings later on.
Priority setting refers to addressing problems and prioritizing care. It is critical for
efficient care. The RN uses his/her knowledge of pathophysiology when prioritizing
interventions with multiple clients.
Orders of prioritization:
1. Treat first any immediate threats to a patient’s survival or safety.
Ex. obstructed airway, loss of consciousness, psychological episode, or anxiety attack.
2. Next, treat actual problems. Ex. nausea, full bowel or bladder, comfort measures.
3. Then, treat relatively urgent actual or potential problems that the patient or
family does not recognize. Ex. Monitoring for post-op complications, anticipating
teaching needs of a patient that may be unaware of side effects of meds.
4. Lastly, treat actual or potential problems where help may be needed in the future.
Ex. Teaching for self-care in the home.
Here are some great principles to help you as you prioritize:
Systemic before local
Acute before chronic
Actual before potential
Listen don’t assume
Recognize first then apply clinical knowledge
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
Prioritize according to Maslow with physiological and safety issues before psychological
esteem issues.
Organizational skills:
Make effective and efficient use of time by combining nursing activities like physical
assessment and bath.
Use of resources:
Use other members of the health care team to help you when necessary when turning
and repositioning, lifting, or inserting a catheter. Seeking help can make things safer
and easier for you and client.
Evaluation of care plan:
Evaluate the care plan for multiple clients and revise care as need.
"Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes."Benjamin Disraeli
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