CCRN Sample Exam Questions

The CCRN exam incorporates Professional Caring and Ethical Practice, based on the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care. This section makes up 20% of the exam. The remaining 80% of the exam covers Clinical Judgment. 

Adult CCRN Sample Questions

  1. If a patient with a documented myocardial infarction suddenly develops a loud systolic murmur, the most likely cause is which of the following?
    • pulmonary embolism
    • congestive heart failure
    • ruptured papillary muscle
    • increased systemic vascular resistance
  2. A patient with unstable angina has an IABP inserted. Hemodynamics are: HR = 148 (sinus tachycardia); MAP = 40 mm Hg; PAOP = 25 mm Hg; CI = 1.4 L/min/m2. Which of the following should be included in this patient's plan of care?
    • checking timing of the IABP, decreasing balloon to 1:2 frequency
    • STAT echocardiogram, furosemide (Lasix), checking timing of the IABP
    • dobutamine (Dobutrex), isoproterenol (Isuprel), 12-lead ECG
    • adenosine, stat Hgb and HCT, dobutamine (Dobutrex)
  3. The family of a critically ill patient wishes to spend the night, which is contrary to visiting policy. The nurse's best action would be to:
    • adhere to the visiting policy.
    • allow the family to stay in the room.
    • obtain a motel room near the hospital where the family may spend the night.
    • allow one or two family members to stay, then evaluate the patient's response.
For questions 4 & 5

One day following gastroplasty surgery an obese male has a sudden onset of restlessness, dyspnea and chest pain. His heart rate is 122/min., and auscultation of heart sound reveals an increased intensity of a pulmonary S2.

  1. These findings should lead the nurse to suspect that the patient has developed:
    • aspiration pneumonia.
    • a spontaneous pneumothorax.
    • a pleural effusion.
    • a pulmonary embolus.
  2. The nurse should expect which of the following to confirm the patient's diagnosis?
    • chest x-ray and arterial blood gases
    • pulmonary radioisotope scan
    • blood enzyme studies
    • pulmonary artery pressures
  3. The nursing staff is resisting being assigned to a disruptive patient. An appropriate resolution would be to:
    • request the physician to transfer the patient.
    • rotate the patient assignment among staff.
    • confront the family and demand an end to the disruptive behavior.
    • hold a nursing team conference to discuss possible alternatives.
For question 7

A patient who is 72 hours postoperative repair of a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm suddenly becomes dyspneic and his respiratory rate increases from 24 to 40/min. An arterial blood gas sample obtained while the patient is receiving oxygen via a nasal cannula at 6L/min reveals the following results:

pH 7.50
pCO2 31
pO2 48

A chest x-ray is obtained and a "ground-glass-like appearance" is reported. Auscultation of the lungs reveals basilar crackles that were not previously present.

  1. On the basis of this information, the nurse should suspect that the patient has developed:
    • a pulmonary embolus.
    • bacterial pneumonia.
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
    • acute lung injury (ALI).
  2. Members of the nursing staff are developing written patient education materials for a group of patients with diverse reading abilities. It would be most effective for the staff to:
    • design individual handouts for each patient.
    • develop a computer-based education series.
    • write the materials at a fourth-grade reading level.
    • limit text and provide color pictures.


Neonatal Sample Questions

  1. After application of a warm saline-soaked gauze dressing to an infant's abdominal wall defect, the most effective method for preventing evaporative heat loss is to:
    • place the infant in a warmed isolette.
    • place the infant under a radiant heat source.
    • moisten the gauze dressing every 30 minutes.
    • cover the gauze dressing with plastic.
  2. A baby has just been intubated for respiratory failure due to respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). The infant's breath sounds are heard on the right side but not on the left. Which of the following interventions would be most appropriate?
    • Leave the tube in position and increase bag pressure.
    • Advance the tube until breath sounds are heard bilaterally.
    • Withdraw the tube until breath sounds are heard bilaterally.
    • Remove the tube and re-intubate.
  3. A preterm infant with necrotizing enterocolitis and resultant bowel perforation has returned from the operating room with an ileostomy. The first step in management of the ostomy should include:
    • contacting the dietitian for recommendations regarding easily digested formula.
    • contacting the enterostomal nurse to provide a pattern for the ostomy appliance.
    • applying a dry sterile dressing over the ostomy.
    • clinitesting stool to determine degree of malabsorption.
For question 4

An infant at 38-weeks-gestation is born via cesarean section. At four hours of age, heart rate is 155 and respiratory rate is at 60. Physical assessment reveals grunting, mild retractions and nasal flaring. A chest x-ray reveals perihilar streaking bilaterally. The following arterial blood gas (ABG) results are obtained:

pH 7.40
pCO2 35
pO2 40
HCO3- 22

  1. Appropriate management of this patient would consist of:
    • intubation and mechanical ventilation.
    • surfactant replacement therapy.
    • chest tube insertion.
    • oxygen administration.
  2. A meeting is planned to discuss the parent's ethical concerns regarding life support interventions for their neonate with Trisomy 18. The nurse's role would be to:
    • assist the parents in articulating their questions and concerns.
    • provide legal information regarding end-of-life decisions.
    • describe reasons for the infant's poor prognosis.
    • inform the parents that the goal of the meeting is to obtain a DNR order.
  3. An infant with documented hypoglycemia is being started on a continuous dextrose infusion following a bolus injection of glucose. An appropriate rate of dextrose infusion would be:
    • 1 - 3 mg/kg/min.
    • 4 - 8 mg/kg/min.
    • 9 - 12 mg/kg/min.
    • 13 - 16 mg/kg/min.
  4. An infant with hydrops fetalis is delivered at 28 weeks of gestation by cesarean section. Which of the following interventions should be anticipated in the initial management of this infant?
    • administration of sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kayexalate)
    • placement of an umbilical venous catheter and slow push of O-positive whole blood
    • thoracentesis and/or paracentesis
    • a difficult intubation
For question 8

The following results were obtained from a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sample obtained by lumbar puncture:

40 WBC/mm
65% polymorphonuclear cells
Glucose 50 mg/dl
Protein 165 mg/dl
Bacteria shown by Gram-staining

  1. On the basis of these results, the most appropriate additional study would include:
    • drawing blood for sedimentation rate.
    • obtaining surface cultures.
    • continuing monitoring without intervention.
    • obtaining blood and urine cultures.
  2. The mother of an infant with severe persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) would like to hold her infant. The infant's oxygen saturation is 88-92% at rest and the mean blood pressure is 28. The nurse's best response would be to:
    • explain signs and symptoms that demonstrate instability of the infant.
    • assist the mother in holding the infant skin-to-skin.
    • encourage the mother to talk to the infant.
    • show the mother how to provide gentle infant massage.


Pediatric Sample Questions

  1. In caring for a patient with salicylate intoxication, the critical care nurse would anticipate which of the following as a primary treatment measure?
    • administration of protamine sulfate
    • administration of glucose
    • transfusion of packed RBCs
    • replacement of fluid and electrolytes
  2. An adolescent with the developmental age of a 4-year-old requires placement of a chest tube. The best way to prepare the patient for this procedure is to:
    • use short simple sentences and limit descriptions to concrete explanations.
    • show the patient a chest tube and explain how it will feel.
    • explain in detail why a chest tube is needed and how it works.
    • tell the parents what will be done so they can explain it to their child.
  3. An 8-year-old is admitted with a gunshot wound to the head, accidentally inflicted by an older sibling. The parents are overcome with grief, and appear to be ignoring the following statements made by the older sibling: "It was an accident; I didn't mean to do it; I'm sorry!" Which of the following actions by the nurse would be most appropriate?
    • Discuss the importance of gun safety with the older sibling while the parents are at the bedside.
    • Seek additional support for the parents for ways they can assist the older sibling.
    • Tell the parents that they need to provide support for the older sibling.
    • Tell the older sibling, "Accidents happen; I know you didn't mean to do it."
  4. Which of the following laboratory findings is indicative of the syndrome of inappropriate ADH secretion (SIADH)?
    • an elevated serum sodium, elevated urine sodium and elevated urine specific gravity
    • a decreased serum sodium, elevated urine sodium and elevated urine specific gravity
    • a decreased serum sodium, decreased urine sodium and decreased urine specific gravity
    • an elevated serum sodium, decreased urine sodium and decreased urine specific gravity
For question 5

A 3-year-old is admitted to the ICU with a 10-hour history of an acute-onset asthma attack. Initial assessment reveals the following:

HR 160   pH 7.25
RR 48   pCO2 35
BP 112/76   pO2 40
T 32C (oral)   HCO3- 22

  1. In this situation, the nurse would expect initial treatment to include:
    • administration of NaHCO3.
    • fluid resuscitation.
    • racemic epinephrine.
    • intubation.
  2. A 2-year-old with heart failure is experiencing manifestations of digoxin (Lanoxin) toxicity. BP is 94/60 and the electrocardiogram reveals supraventricular tachycardia with a heart rate of 200. The critical care nurse would anticipate which of the following interventions?
    • performance of cardioversion
    • administration of activated charcoal
    • performance of vasovagal maneuvers
    • monitoring of HR and rhythm
  3. A 13-year-old with asthma is readmitted just a week after discharge from the hospital. On questioning, the nurse learns that the patient refuses to use the inhalers at school. The nurse should:
    • talk to the teen about long term consequences of the disease if the treatment plan is not followed.
    • talk to the school nurse to find out why they are not monitoring the meds at school.
    • help the parents set up a disciplinary contract with the teen.
    • arrange for the teen to attend an asthma support group.


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