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Mental Health Nursing Sample Questions

Mental Health Nursing Sample Questions



Mental Health Nursing Sample Questions

The following sample questions are similar to those on the examination but do not represent the full range of content or levels of difficulty. The answers to the sample questions are provided after the last question. Please note: Taking these or any sample question(s) is not a requirement to sit for an actual certification examination. Completion of these or any other sample question(s) does not imply eligibility for certification or successful performance on any certification examination.

After read the questions, choose the best answer for each question. When you are finished, see the answer at the bottom of the page.

This practice exam is not timed, and you may take it as many times as you wish. Good luck!

1. To evaluate whether patient teaching for coping skills has been effective, the psychiatric and mental health nurse asks an adolescent patient to:



  • consider the outcomes objectively.
  • keep a written journal.
  • perform a return demonstration.
  • set measurable goals.

2. A patient who was admitted yesterday with an adjustment disorder and depressed mood has not left his or her room. The psychiatric and mental health nurse’s most appropriate approach at meal time today is to respond:

  • “I will bring your tray to your room, if it will make you more comfortable.”
  • “I will walk with you to the dining room and sit with you while you eat.”
  • “Where would you like to eat your meal this noon?”
  • “You will feel better if you go to the dining room and eat with the others.”

3. A 17-year-old, female patient with anorexia nervosa has just been released from the hospital. To facilitate recovery at home, the psychiatric and mental health nurse instructs the family to:

  • discourage the patient from sneaking food between meals, by unobtrusively reducing her access to the kitchen.
  • encourage the patient’s interest in menu planning, food magazines, and cooking lessons, by leaving information and materials around the house.
  • inform the patient that she is expected to join in routine family meals and clear the dishes after dinner, even if she does not eat.
  • permit the patient to eat her meals privately in her bedroom to discourage family preoccupation with meals.

4. A patient is admitted to the inpatient unit with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The patient has had episodes of school absenteeism, withdrawal from friends, and bizarre behavior, including talking to his or her “keeper.” The psychiatric and mental health nurse’s most appropriate response is to:

  • acknowledge that the patient’s perceptions seem real to him or her, and refocus the patient’s attention on a task or activity.
  • encourage the patient to express his or her thoughts, to determine the meaning they have for the patient.
  • ignore the patient’s bizarre behavior, because it will diminish after he or she has been given the correct medication.
  • inform the patient that his or her perceptions of reality have become distorted because of the illness.

5. Nursing staff members at a community mental health center are formulating an outpatient treatment plan with a 30-year-old patient with schizophrenia. A major consideration is that:

  • the patient will likely need weekly supportive treatment for life.
  • the patient will require a referral for vocational rehabilitation services.
  • the patient’s contact with the center will diminish as he or she becomes stable, but the patient will continue to need support.
  • the patient’s contact with the center will gradually decrease until his or her therapy can be terminated.

6. A supervisor observes inconsistency in the psychiatric and mental health nurse’s behavior toward a patient; the nurse is unreasonably concerned, overly kind, or irrationally hostile. The most appropriate explanation is that the nurse is displaying:

  • countertransference.
  • empathic resonance.
  • negative transference.
  • splitting behavior.

7. During an initial patient interview, the psychiatric and mental health nurse begins by asking the patient to describe his or her:

  • current situation.
  • feelings about the current situation.
  • personal history.
  • thoughts about the current situation.

8. In which circumstance is a breach of patient confidentiality appropriate?

  • A supervisor inquires about the patient.
  • The family inquires about the patient without his or her knowledge.
  • The patient appears sincere in threatening to harm another person.
  • The patient has participated in illegal activity.

9. A short-term goal for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease is:

  • improved problem solving in activities of daily living.
  • increased self-esteem and improved self-concept.
  • optimum functioning in the least restrictive environment.
  • regained sensory perception and cognitive function.

10. A 23-year-old patient with borderline personality disorder reports a frequent desire to cut him- or herself and insists that only a specific psychiatric and mental health nurse can help the patient. The nursing care plan for the patient includes:

  • allowing the patient to choose the nurse assigned to him or her.
  • decreasing the patient’s stimuli.
  • holding frequent, interdisciplinary staff meetings to provide consistent care.
  • providing one-to-one suicide precautions.

Key answer

Question 1
perform a return demonstration..

Question 2
“I will walk with you to the dining room and sit with you while you eat.”.

Question 3
inform the patient that she is expected to join in routine family meals and clear the dishes after dinner, even if she does not eat..

Question 4
acknowledge that the patient’s perceptions seem real to him or her, and refocus the patient’s attention on a task or activity..

Question 5
the patient’s contact with the center will diminish as he or she becomes stable, but the patient will continue to need support..

Question 6
countertransference..

Question 7
current situation..

Question 8
The patient appears sincere in threatening to harm another person..

Question 9
optimum functioning in the least restrictive environment..

Question 10
holding frequent, interdisciplinary staff meetings to provide consistent care..



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