Hey there! Welcome to our insightful guide on NCLEX topics.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the NCLEX RN and PN topics.

By the time you finish this piece, you’ll have a clear picture of the topics tested in the NCLEX exam.

In a nutshell, here’s what we’ll discuss:

  • NCLEX-RN topics and content distribution
  • NCLEX-PN exam topics and content distribution

Let’s get started right away.

NCLEX-RN Topics and Content Distribution

NCLEX-RN Topics and Content Distribution

The National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses has four client needs categories, and two of these categories have subcategories.

Thus, there are eight topics in the NCLEX exam.

All the patients’ needs that nurses care for are in these four categories.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing integrates communication and documentation, nursing process, caring, culture and spirituality, clinical judgment, and teaching/learning into the eight NCLEX topics for successful nursing practice.

That said, here is the breakdown of the content areas in the NCLEX-RN exam.

Safe and Effective Care Environment

NCLEX RN and PN topic Safe and Effective Care Environment

A safe and effective care environment makes the first client need category since it’s a priority for clients.

Nurses’ primary responsibility is to provide client care in a safe environment.

This category encompasses everything that goes into the management of care and safety and infection control, which comprise around 31% of the NCLEX-RN exam.

The two subcategories here include:

Management of Care 15–21%

Management of care makes up around 18% of the NCLEX-RN test.

This subcategory is all about providing the best care for clients in collaboration with other healthcare members.

It is centered on nursing care that promotes effective delivery.

Some of the topics in this subcategory are client plan of care, documenting care appropriately, ethical practices, time management, supervision of client care by others, client confidentiality, performance improvement, prioritization, and so much more.

Safety and Infection Control 10–16%

This category aims to equip nurses with the skills to protect their clients and healthcare professionals from health and environmental hazards.

The content covered in this subcategory includes but is not limited to principles of infection control, client care environment, staff safety, client safety issues, and accuracy and appropriateness of treatment orders.

Safety and infection control make up around 13% of the NCLEX exam.

Health Promotion and Maintenance 6–12%

As its name suggests, this category is all about personal health.

The main area of focus is preventative strategies for a healthy lifestyle.

Prevention involves educating patients and their families on good health.

It delves into the expected human growth and development stages from inception to old age.

Early detection of health issues, prevention measures, strategies for optimal health, expected growth, and development principles are the main areas of nursing care.

Health promotion and maintenance content areas include comprehensive health assessment, prevention and treatment of high-risk health behaviors, community health education, preventative care and health maintenance recommendations, and health risks based on family, community, and population.

This category of the NCLEX makes up 9% of the NCLEX test.

Psychosocial Integrity 6–12%

Psychosocial integrity is all about clients’ emotions and feelings.

It entails supporting clients’ mental, emotional, and social well-being when it comes to illnesses, mental health issues, or stressful life events.

Nurses strive to help clients express themselves, cope, adapt, and solve life challenges.

This category makes up 9% of the NCLEX exam.

Test-takers are tested on grief and loss, mental health concepts, sexual abuse, domestic violence, chemical dependency, counseling techniques, coping mechanisms, support systems, etc.

Physiological Integrity

Physiological Integrity is a part of both nclex rn and pn study guides

The final category covers issues to do with acute and chronic illness.

It’s about supporting clients’ health and wellness by reducing risk, providing comfort and care, and maintaining their health.

This section of the exam has four subcategories.

Basic Care and Comfort 6–12%

Basic care tests nurses’ abilities to provide comfort and assistance to clients in their activities of daily living.

Nurses must ensure their clients are comfortable when providing care for them.

The topics tested here include elimination, rest and sleep, nutritional and oral hydration, assistive devices, comfort intervention, and personal hygiene, to mention a few.

This section covers around 9% of the NCLEX-RN exam.

Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapy 13–19%

This subcategory tests learners on oral medication and parental therapies administration.

Making 16% of the test-takers exam, this section covers medication administration, total parenteral nutrition, expected effects, pharmacological agents and actions, central venous access devices, etc.

Reduction of Risk Potential 9–15%

This content area covers reducing the chances of clients’ conditions worsening from complications resulting from treatment and procedures.

The specific areas tested in the exam include but are not limited to lab values, vital signs, pathophysiology, system-specific assessments, therapeutic procedures, and potential complications of diagnostic tests.

Reduction of risk potential makes around 12% on average in the actual test.

Physiological Adaptation 11–17%

Physiological adaptations contribute around 14% of the NCLEX questions.

This subcategory tests nursing students on managing and caring for clients suffering from life-threatening conditions, including acute or chronic diseases.

The main responsibility of nurses here is to monitor the body’s functions for abnormalities.

Exam coverage includes electrolyte imbalance, medical emergencies, unexpected responses and therapies, evaluation and treatment plans, and interventions for recovery, among several other topics.

NCLEX-PN Topics and Content Distribution

NCLEX-PN Topics and Content Distribution

National Council Licensure Examination for licensed practical/licensed vocational nurses also has four client needs categories.

Two out of the four categories have subcategories, just like NCLEX-RN.

Although the client needs categories are the same, the content coverage differs as the NCLEX-RN goes in depth in each category, unlike NCLEX-PN.

Coordinated Care Substitutes Management of Care in the Safe and Effective Care Environment category.

Again, the percentage of test questions per client need category differs from the NCLEX-RN.

Let me now walk you through the NCLEX topics’ content coverage.

Safe and Effective Care Environment

A safe and effective care environment is clean and comfortable for clients and other healthcare professionals.

This category is divided into two, contributing around 34% to the PN exam.

Coordinated Care 18–24%

Coordinated care is about 21% of the NCLEX-PN exam.

This subcategory focuses on collaboration between licensed practical nurses and other healthcare personnel like doctors, registered nurses, and other staff members.

Ethical issues and legal responsibilities, client confidentiality, client data collection, cost-effective care, interdisciplinary teams, new medical research and all the other aspects that involve working together to provide nursing care are tested in this subcategory.

Safety and Infection Control 10–16%

This subcategory assesses aspiring nurses’ ability to provide clients and healthcare professionals with a safe environment.

The focus here is on both health and environmental safety.

Nurses should be able to identify unsafe conditions in the healthcare facility, prepare for disasters, and educate clients on safety precautions.

Infection control is minimizing the chances of transmission of diseases and preventing injuries.

This subsection of the NCLEX makes up 13% of the exam.

Health Promotion and Maintenance 6–12%

The health promotion and maintenance client needs category is centred on preventative measures, a big part of the health industry.

Nursing students must understand the growth and development stages and naturally expected changes.

Areas of focus include developmental milestones, patients’ history, vaccinations, barriers to communication and learning, etcetera.

This NCLEX topic contributes around 9% of the exam question.

Psychosocial Integrity 9–15%

While the first two categories focus on physical health, psychosocial integrity in this exam shifts to emotional and mental well-being.

This category assesses nursing students’ ability to support clients undergoing stressful life events.

The content areas covered include client psychosocial functioning, client group session, end-of-life care, education for clients, emotional support, and therapeutic environment, among others.

Around 12% of the NCLEX questions are from the psychosocial integrity category.

Physiological Integrity

NCLEX RN Physiological Integrity

Test-takers should be prepared to answer questions regarding the best ways to provide comfort and safe care for their clients.

This category has almost half of the NCLEX-PN questions, contributing about 45% to the test.

Basic Care and Comfort 7–13%

As the name suggests, basic care and comfort is about providing comfort to clients.

The questions here are about 10% of the test, and test-takers should be ready to answer questions about elimination, rest and sleep, special food requirement, cleaning, and clients’ nutritional needs, among several other aspects of activities of daily living.

Pharmacological Therapies 10–16%

Aspiring nurses must learn about administering medication.

This is because one of the most crucial responsibilities of nurses is to understand dosages, medication administration, side effects of medicines and the interaction of medications with other drugs and supplements of food.

Here, the assessment covers the different ways of administering medication, pain control devices, medication safety practices, and client response to medication, to mention a few.

This NCLEX topic contributes roughly 13%.

Reduction of Risk Potential 9–15%

Reducing the risk of infection, illness, or injury is crucial to nursing care.

And so, this sub-section covers key elements that candidates must know to minimize risk when caring for clients.

The NCLEX exam tests learners on monitoring patients’ vital signs, reading lab values, helping clients before and after surgery, checking urinary retention, maintaining central venous catheters, etc.

This section makes up roughly 12% of the test.

Physiological Adoption 7–13%

The last subcategory is physiological adoption.

Contributing 12% to the NCLEX exam questions, this category tests nursing students on caring for and supporting patients with chronic and acute conditions.

Knowledge of emergency responses, human anatomy, life-threatening conditions, etc., is crucial to ace questions in this subcategory.


Conclusion ON nclex rn and pn topics

That ends our NCLEX review on the topics tested in the National Council Licensure Examinations.

The exam questions range from 85 to 150, so you must take your test prep seriously to pass.

The main focus of the NCLEX is to ensure entry-level nurses have the required clinical judgment skills to make the right choice and provide the best nursing care for clients.

Understanding the eight client needs categories is just one part of the equation.

You must also be able to apply the knowledge in real-world situations.

Thus, review your nursing program curriculum and the NCLEX test plan to develop a study plan that will guide you through reviewing the NCLEX topics thoroughly and passing the exam the first time.

NB: Download the NCLEX test plan for your respective test from the NCSBN website for detailed instructions on the NCLEX exam content.



What topics should I study for NCLEX?

Here is a list of client needs categories you should study for the NCLEX:
– Safe and effective care environment
– Health promotion and maintenance
– Psychosocial integrity
– Physiological integrity
Safe and effective care environment and physiological integrity have subcategories.

What are the 8 topics on the NCLEX?

Here are the eight topics that you’ll cover in the NCLEX-RN exam.
– Health Promotion and Maintenance
– Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
– Physiological adaptation
– Management of care
– Psychosocial Integrity
– Reduction of Risk Potential
– Basic Care and Comfort
– Safety and Infection Control

What topic is mostly on NCLEX-RN?

Physiological integrity has the most questions on the NCLEX because it makes up 51% of the NCLEX questions. This category has four subcategories:
– Basic Care and Comfort 6–12%
– Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies 13–19%
– Reduction of Risk Potential 9–15%
– Physiological Adoption 11–17%

What are the type of questions on the NCLEX exam?

There are several types of questions in the NCLEX, including multiple-choice, select-all-that-apply (SATA), enhanced hotspot, drag and drop, matrix, ordered response, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-response, and cloze. You should take NCLEX practice questions and use study materials like the NCLEX study guide and flashcards to better prepare for the test day.

What is the NCLEX?

NCLEX stands for the National Council Licensure Exam. It’s a national exam administered by the National Council of State Board of Nursing in the USA, Australia and Canada to nursing students. There are two types: NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN for registered nurses.






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