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How to Study for Endocrine NCLEX Questions (Sample Questions Included)

When you’re reaching the end of your nursing school years, the talk surrounding the NCLEX exam seems to steadily increase. And for good reason — the NCLEX exam is likely the most important exam you’ll take up until this point. But as many of your peers agree, it can feel overwhelming trying to fit your regular studying in on top of NCLEX exam prep. 

And this is precisely why we put together a comprehensive guide on how to get ready for this specific area of the NCLEX exam. Today, we’re going to discuss how to study for endocrine NCLEX questions. 

We’ll begin by laying out an overview of the endocrine system, endocrine disorders, and how to manage endocrine conditions as a nurse. Plus, we’ve included a few sample endocrine NCLEX questions to enhance your understanding of the topic and get you ready for the NCLEX style of testing.

What Is the Endocrine System?

The role of the endocrine system is to provide your body with hormones it needs to survive through endocrine glands. Endocrine glands produce hormones based on the information they receive from the bloodstream. So if your blood levels of glucose are high, this signals your pancreas to make more insulin to ensure homeostasis of blood sugar levels. 

This bloodstream-to-endocrine gland communication helps hormone levels regulate to avoid a hypoactive or hyperactive state. In addition, hormones are responsible for many important bodily functions including metabolism, reproduction, growth, and mood.

The Parts of the Endocrine System

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There are 10 different parts of the endocrine system to understand for endocrine NCLEX questions. Having this knowledge base helps you think through questions in a logical manner so that you have higher odds of passing the NCLEX

Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is located in the brain and acts as a middleman between the nervous system and the endocrine system. It keeps the body in homeostasis by signaling other parts of the endocrine system to release hormones based on the body’s needs at that time. Also, the hormones produced by the hypothalamus control things like sleep, sex drive, hunger, mood, body temperature, and heart rate.

Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland is also located in the brain and is often called the “master control gland” because of its immense responsibilities which include stimulating other glands to produce hormones. For example, the pituitary gland releases adrenocorticotropic hormone which is necessary for properly functioning adrenal glands.

The pituitary gland also helps produce breastmilk, maintain thyroid function, control growth, regulate metabolism, control body fluid homeostasis, and releases sex hormones.

Pineal Gland

The pineal gland is the final gland from the endocrine system that’s located in the brain. It’s very small, only the size of a pea. But it's important because it coordinates sleep cycles by releasing melatonin. Melatonin is released when you are in the darkness, ready for sleep. Proper production of melatonin keeps your circadian rhythm in check.

Thyroid

The thyroid is located in the neck and is responsible for secreting thyroid hormone, which controls your metabolism. 

Parathyroid

The parathyroid is located in the neck as well and consists of four pea-sized glands that sit on top of the thyroid. It secretes parathyroid hormone that keeps calcium and phosphorus levels balanced.

Thymus

The thymus is different than all other endocrine glands because it’s part of both the endocrine system and the immune system. It plays a critical role in immune system development of children and shrinks once puberty hits. 

Adrenal Glands

There are two adrenal glands and they sit on top of each of the kidneys. The two glands make corticosteroids and hormones involved in fight or flight, such as adrenaline. 

Pancreas

The pancreas sits behind the stomach. It helps break down food in addition to releasing insulin and glucagon to regulate blood sugar.

Ovaries and Testes

The ovaries are present in females and reside in the pelvic region. They secrete hormones like estrogen and progesterone which help women have menstrual cycles, develop breasts, and have a healthy pregnancy.

The testes are found in the pelvic region of males. They make a key hormone for men called testosterone which helps males grow facial hair and produce sperm.

Understand Endocrine Disorders 

As you can see, glands that make up the endocrine system have a vital role in the way the body functions. When the endocrine glands aren’t functioning properly and hormone levels are affected, there are many disorders that can develop as a result. 

Some of these disorders to study for endocrine NCLEX questions include:

  • Acromegaly — This disorder occurs when the pituitary gland releases too much growth hormone causing bones to grow larger than normal.
  • Hyper- or hypothyroidism — These disorders occur when the body makes too much or too little thyroid hormone.
  • Diabetes mellitus — This occurs when the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin.
  • Addison’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome — Too little cortisol production by the adrenal glands causes Addison’s disease and too little production causes Cushing’s syndrome.
  • Diabetes insipidus and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) — Too little antidiuretic hormone released by the pituitary gland causes diabetes insipidus. Too much antidiuretic hormone production causes inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion.
  • Myxedema coma and Graves disease — These diseases are caused by too much or too little production of T3 and T4 by the thyroid gland. Underproduction causes myxedema coma and overproduction causes Graves. 
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome — This disorder occurs when the hormones in the ovaries are disrupted, resulting in difficulty ovulating. 

Nursing Care for Endocrine Disorders

A nurse consulting patient about their endocrine disorder

Because the endocrine system encompasses so many glands, hormones, and disorders, keep overviews of topics in mind when studying for endocrine NCLEX questions. To start, be sure you have a good handle on how each gland works and the hormones it secretes. Next, have a basic understanding of the disorders associated with each gland’s functions so that you can then move into how to treat each disorder. 

As a general rule, be sure to study laboratory values for endocrine NCLEX questions for common hormones related to each gland. Also, be aware of common endocrine medications and their mechanism of action within the body for various endocrine disorders. 

From an assessment and nursing care perspective, remember to:

  • Gather health history 
  • Ask questions about the patient’s current illness or complaints
  • Ask if there are any recent changes in health
  • Assess lifestyle patterns
  • Conduct thorough physical examination with vital signs
    • Inspect
    • Palpate
    • Auscultate
  • Review laboratory values
    • Blood glucose, antidiuretic hormone (ADH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), parathyroid hormone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), to name a few
  • Review any imaging done

Sample Endocrine NCLEX Questions

Let’s go over some practice questions so that you can test your knowledge in preparation for the real endocrine NCLEX questions on exam day. Answering a daily NCLEX practice question helps boost your confidence while ensuring you are reaching your full studying potential.

Endocrine NCLEX Question #1

A female client at the clinic you’re working at is exhibiting signs of hypothyroidism. Which of the following isn’t a symptom of hypothyroidism?

  1. Weight gain
  2. Oily skin
  3. Constipation
  4. Delayed puberty

Answer: B — Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include unexplained weight gain, enlarged gland (goiter), fatigue, constipation, delayed puberty, hair loss, bradycardia, hypocalcemia, and depression. Oily skin isn’t associated with hypothyroidism. 

Endocrine NCLEX Question #2

You are the nurse caring for a client who has just been diagnosed with uncontrolled hyperparathyroidism. The current laboratory values show hypercalcemia and he’s experiencing rising heart rates and blood pressures. Which of the following diagnoses should you be watching for?

  1. Thyroid storm
  2. Hypoparathyroidism
  3. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
  4. Hashimoto’s disease

Answer: A — When a patient has uncontrolled hyperparathyroidism, you should always be watching for thyroid storm to develop. Someone with hyperparathyroidism will have elevated serum calcium levels, weight loss, excessive urine output, fatigue, loss of appetite, or kidney stones. Once hyperparathyroidism progresses into a thyroid storm, the heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure will become increasingly elevated. If left untreated, these can turn into a loss of consciousness and even death. The other conditions listed aren’t associated with uncontrolled hyperparathyroidism.

Endocrine NCLEX Question #3

What laboratory values would you expect to see in a patient diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome?

  1. Hypocalcemia
  2. Hyponatremia
  3. Hyperkalemia
  4. Hypokalemia

Answer:D — Hypokalemia or low serum potassium is consistent with Cushing’s Syndrome. Hypocalcemia (low serum calcium), hyponatremia (low serum sodium), and hyperkalemia (elevated serum potassium) are not associated with Cushing’s Syndrome. 

Endocrine NCLEX Question #4

You’re caring for a 34-year-old woman with a tumor on her pituitary gland. This tumor had led to diabetes insipidus as her body isn’t producing enough antidiuretic hormone (ADH). Which of the following nursing interventions isn’t appropriate?

  1. Begin IV fluids
  2. Desmopressin
  3. Humalog injection
  4. DDAVP nasal spray

Answer: C — Diabetes insipidus isn’t treated with Humalog because it’s not a type of diabetes mellitus (Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes). It’s specifically related to a problem with the pituitary gland or kidneys. Mild cases can be treated with increasing fluid volume through oral or IV fluids. Desmopressin is often prescribed to do the job of ADH by decreasing urination. It’s also a prescription as a nasal spray, tablet, or injection and can go by the name DDAVP or Minirin as well. Watch sodium levels as too much desmopressin causes hyponatremia.

Make Endocrine NCLEX Questions Easy With Daily Practice Questions

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Taking time each day to answer an NCLEX practice question increases your odds of passing the NCLEX on the first try. And doing so helps with more than just endocrine NCLEX questions, it helps with all types of NCLEX questions. 

We can help you successfully complete the NCLEX exam with flying colors with the Daily NCLEX Challenge. Our comprehensive daily practice questions challenge you while also training your brain to answer all types of NCLEX questions both quickly and easily. 

Join thousands of other nursing students today who are also enjoying the benefits of daily NCLEX practice questions. You too can simplify your NCLEX prep with NCLEX practice questions delivered right to your inbox each morning. 

If you’re looking for study guides for other areas of the NCLEX exam, look no further. We have complete study resources for other topics like the GI system, diabetes, burns, and maternal health. Each includes free NCLEX practice questions with answer rationales.


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