Maternal / Newborn Question #49


The clinic nurse receives a phone call from a worried mother of a child who was provided a letter from the school about examining the child for lice. Which instructions will the nurse provide the mother on how to observe for nits from pediculosis capitis.


  1. Check the forehead.
    • Rationale:

      Nits, or lice eggs, are found on the hair shafts. The forehead may be the site for lice but not the eggs.

  2. Check in the folds of the skin like elbows.
    • Rationale:

      Lice is found in body hair; therefore, this is not an appropriate action to observe for nits.

  3. Check the hair shafts at the nape of the neck and behind the ears.
    • Rationale:

      Nits, or lice eggs, are often found on the hair shaft behind the ears and at the nape of the neck; therefore, this is the best method to recommend to the parents.

  4. Check the hair brushes for live lice.
    • Rationale:

      The hair brushes should be disinfected prior to reusing after a lice infestation; however, this is not the best method for observing for nits.


Pediculosis capitis is the medical term for head lice.


Learning Outcomes

Head lice most often affects children who are in direct contact with one another or who share personal items (e.g., brushes, hats, scarves). Clinical manifestations include itching, visible lice on the scalp, and lice eggs (i.e., nits) on the hair shafts. Medicated shampoos often help, but lice are becoming resistant to some. Patiently combing and removing nits, sometimes over several days, is often necessary. The best method to observe for nits is to check the hair shafts at the nape of the neck and behind the ears.

Test Taking Tip

Consider the evidence-based practice guidelines for lice to answer this question correctly.

Video Rationale