Medical Surgical Potassium K+ #7


The nurse is teaching a client about prescribed potassium replacement therapy. Which client statement indicates that teaching has been effective?


  1. “I will take the medication and wait 6 hours before eating.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because there is no reason for the client to wait 6 hours before eating as food does not interfere with the absorption or distribution of the prescribed therapy.

  2. “I should never crush the medication if I cannot swallow it.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because crushing the medication can cause throat irritation, nausea, and vomiting. All of the medication will also be released at once, instead of over the 24 hours, and therefore will not keep the potassium level at a steady balance for the day.

  3. “I will increase my spironolactone if I start to have cramps in my muscles.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the client should take medication as prescribed and not increase the amount of a dose. Potassium pills normally are dispensed in long-acting doses usually extended release and should never be increased unless ordered by the health care provider.

  4. “I should take my pulse and hold the drug if it is less than 60 beats per minute.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because potassium is not held for a low pulse. An example medication that should be held in this circumstance is digoxin.


Potassium replacement therapy is prescribed when serum potassium levels require replenishment and/or for clients who are experiencing ongoing potassium losses (e.g., loop diuretic therapy).


Learning Outcomes

Potassium is an electrolyte that assists in a range of essential body functions. When potassium replacement therapy is prescribed to treat or prevent hypokalemia, the nurse must provide education to the client regarding safe and effective administration. Once the education is provided, the nurse must evaluate for correct client understanding. The client statement that indicates a correct understanding of the teaching regarding potassium replacement therapy is, “I should never crush the medication if I cannot swallow it.”

Test Taking Tip

Consider each statement as true or false. Effective teaching is indicated when the client makes a true statement.

Video Rationale