Electrolytes Question #9


The nurse, caring for a group of clients, notes that one client has a serum potassium level of 5.5 mEq/L. Which client should the nurse suspect has this level?


  1. The client with colitis
    • Rationale:
  2. The client with Cushing's syndrome
    • Rationale:
  3. The client who has been overusing laxatives
    • Rationale:
  4. The client who has sustained a traumatic burn
    • Rationale:



The correct answer is D. Clients in the early stages of massive cell destruction, such as with heavy burns, are at risk for hyperkalemia. A potassium level greater than 5.1mEq/L is an indication of hyperkalemia. The clients with Cushing’s syndrome, colitis, and laxative overuse are at risk for hypokalemia.

NCLEX TIP: Using critical thinking is recommended when reading priority questions. Recognizing key words in the answer choices will allow you to know how to choose the correct answer for the question. Go through each answer choice and decide is it: Maslow’s hierarchy, safety-related, or following the nursing process (ADPIE). Never complete a nursing action that is outside the scope of practice.

Learning Outcomes

Test Taking Tip

Video Rationale