Medical Surgical Gastritis #2


A client calls the medical clinic and reports symptoms of stomach burning, decreased appetite, and indigestion the past month. Which question is priority for the nurse to ask the client?


  1. When was your last bowel movement?
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the client is exhibiting signs and symptoms of gastritis. Losing blood in the stools would be the most important question to ask.

  2. Have you noticed any dark tarry stools?
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the priority question is addressing circulation or bleeding. Asking the client about the presence of black tarry stool, immediately addresses whether the client might be bleeding. Other questions are pertinent, but not priority. Remember ABCs!

  3. Do you take glucocorticoids for anything?
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because although corticosteroids may contribute to having gastritis, prioritizing asking the client about the ABC’s in triage is the most important question to ask.

  4. How long has this been going on?
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the client has already stated that the symptoms have been occurring over the past month. When thinking about priorities, this question is not the most important to ask the client.


Dark tarry stools may be a sign of losing blood. The client is reporting symptoms of gastritis to the medical clinic, which include stomach burning, decreased appetite, and indigestion. Clients should be monitored for signs and symptoms of gastritis and potentially prescribed medications to help avoid gastritis risks.


Learning Outcomes

Gastritis is a deterioration in the lining of the stomach. The stomach is protected by a layer of mucosal called prostaglandins. Acid is continuously sitting in the stomach, so prostaglandins protect the lining of the stomach from the acid. Gastritis may be caused from eating spicy foods, certain medications, such as corticosteroids, drinking alcohol excessively, smoking, and stress causes the prostaglandins to be decreased. Signs and symptoms of gastritis include stomach burning and pain, nausea and vomiting, black tarry stools, and appetite loss.

Test Taking Tip

Applying ABCs priority in nursing triage will help the test-taker determine the priority question to be asked.

Video Rationale