In this section of the NCLEX-RN examination, you will be expected to demonstrate your knowledge and skills of high risk behaviors in order to:

  • Assess client lifestyle practice risks that may impact health (e.g., excessive sun exposure, lack of regular exercise)
  • Assist the client to identify behaviors/risks that may impact health (e.g., fatigue, calcium deficiency)
  • Provide information for prevention and treatment of high risk health behaviors (e.g., smoking cessation, safe sexual practices, drug education)

This section of your NCLEX-RN review will be briefer than other sections of this review because many of the concepts that will be covered here were already discussed in another context, so here, we will remind you about these previously learned concepts and apply them to a new context relating to risks and risk potential.

Assessing the Client's Lifestyle Practice Risks That May Impact On Health

As discussed before, some risks are preventable and correctable and others are not. For example, genetics, age and gender are NOT modifiable risks, but the risks associated with life style choices are modifiable, correctable and able to be eliminated when the person changes their behavior in reference to these risky behaviors.

Registered nurses assess their clients in terms of their life style practices that are, or may, impact on their health. Some of these life style choices that are assessed include:

  • Excessive sun exposure
  • The lack of regular exercise
  • A poor diet
  • Cigarette smoking and the use of other tobacco products
  • Alcohol use
  • Illicit drug use
  • Unprotected sex
  • Avocational and hobby choices such as rock climbing
  • Inadequate sleep and rest

Assisting the Client to Identify High Risk Behaviors

Registered nurses assist the client in the identification of high risk behaviors and then they teach and counsel the client how to change and eliminate these risky behaviors. For example, the nurse plans and provides education relating to safe sexual practices to avoid the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS; They may teach the client about the importance of calcium and how a calcium deficit, for example, can lead to osteoporosis; they can also assist the client in their understanding about the positive correlation between fatigue and illnesses and accidents; and they may refer the client to a community based smoking cessation class or program.

Providing Information for the Prevention and Treatment of High Risk Health Behaviors

Nurses provide their clients with written and oral information about the treatment and prevention of high risk health behaviors as based on their needs. They also refer clients to online and community resources.

Again, they may provide the client with information and resources relating to smoking cessation, safe sexual practices, drug education and other areas of concern such as health impact (e.g., excessive sun exposure, lack of regular exercise), assisting the client to identify behaviors/risks that may impact health (e.g., fatigue, calcium deficiency) and providing information for prevention and treatment of high risk health behaviors (e.g., smoking cessation, safe sexual practices, drug education).

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Alene Burke

Alene Burke

Alene Burke RN, MSN is a nationally recognized nursing educator. She began her work career as an elementary school teacher in New York City and later attended Queensborough Community College for her associate degree in nursing. She worked as a registered nurse in the critical care area of a local community hospital and, at this time, she was committed to become a nursing educator. She got her bachelor’s of science in nursing with Excelsior College, a part of the New York State University and immediately upon graduation she began graduate school at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Adelphi with a double masters degree in both Nursing Education and Nursing Administration and immediately began the PhD in nursing coursework at the same university. She has authored hundreds of courses for healthcare professionals including nurses, she serves as a nurse consultant for healthcare facilities and private corporations, she is also an approved provider of continuing education for nurses and other disciplines and has also served as a member of the American Nurses Association’s task force on competency and education for the nursing team members.
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