Fundamentals Question #44

Question

During a preoperative admission history and assessment, a client denies the use of street drugs but the nurse notices track marks on the client’s arms. What therapeutic question would elicit the best information before surgery?

Answers

  1. “Are you using drugs right now?”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because asking the client, “Are you using drugs right now?” is not therapeutic. Asking if the client is using drugs sounds accusatory and could be answered as before with a yes or no, which closes communication.

  2. “Do you have a history of alcoholism?”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because asking the client about alcohol use is not specifically asking about drug abuse. Asking about a history of using drugs is a question that does not accuse the client and will most likely elicit the most information to report to the surgeon before going to surgery.

  3. “Can you tell me about your history of using drugs?”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because asking about a history of using drugs is a question that does not accuse the client and will most likely elicit the most information to report to the surgeon before going to surgery. The purpose of therapeutic communication is to help the client feel safe, not judged, and open to talk.

  4. “Did you have an accident before coming to the hospital?”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because asking about an accident is not asking about drug use. Asking about a history of using drugs is a question that does not accuse the client and will most likely elicit the most information to report to the surgeon before going to surgery. The purpose of therapeutic communication is to help the client feel safe, not judged, and open to talk.

Overview

The most therapeutic way to obtain information from a client suspected of drug use about their drug use is best done by asking, “Can you tell me about your history of using drugs?”

 

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

The preoperative admission history and assessment includes various things. One thing that can be a little awkward is asking a client about illicit drug use. It is especially awkward if the client shows physical signs of drug use, such as track marks, indicating IV drug use. The nurse should therapeutically approach the situation in a very matter of fact way by asking, “Can you tell me about your history of using drugs?” The purpose of therapeutic communication is to help the client feel safe, not judged, and open to talk.

 

Test Taking Tip

Stop a minute when there is a need to speak to a client in a therapeutic manner during an awkward situation because choices of words are especially important during this time. The purpose of therapeutic communication is to help the client feel safe, not judged, and open to talk.

Video Rationale