Medical Surgical Potassium K+ #14

Question

A client with severe hypokalemia is prescribed intravenous (IV) potassium. In which way will the nurse administer the medication?

Answers

  1. Rapid IV push
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because rapid IV push increases the likelihood of cardiac dysrhythmia which can be life-threatening; therefore, the nurse does not administer the prescribed potassium in this manner.

  2. In 100 mL diluent over 1 hour
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the safest method to administer the prescribed dose of IV potassium is in a diluent, over one hour, which provides the potassium time to even out the levels within the body.

  3. Slow IV push in 10 mL diluent over 3 minutes
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because IV potassium should not be administered by IVP as it increases the client’s risk for developing life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmia and could kill the client.

  4. By administering oral K-Dur as a one-time dose
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the nurse cannot change the route to administer the potassium supplement as this is outside of the scope of nursing practice.

Overview

Potassium replacement therapy is often required for clients who experience complications associated with hypokalemia. Potassium solutions should never be given as a push, and should always be given as a diluent.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Potassium can be administered intravenously or by mouth. Potassium solutions should never be given as a push, and should always be given as a diluent. Giving it in 100 mL diluent over 1 hour will give the potassium time to even out the levels of potassium in the body, and prevent a rapid increase in potassium level. High concentrations of potassium are damaging to smaller peripheral veins.

Test Taking Tip

Consider safe medication administration guidelines for potassium to answer this question correctly.

Video Rationale