Monday, September 22, 2008

ER Math Quiz

Okay, school is back in session.  Everybody please put your books away and sharpen your number 2 pencils.  No talking during the test.

And let's begin:

1. You are assisting a primary nurse with charcoal administration down an orogastric tube. The room measures eight feet by twelve feet. The patient starts to retch before the tube is pulled. Knowing that charcoal can spew out of a tube in a five foot radius (even with a thumb over the opening) and the stretcher is two feet wide, how many feet per second do you have to back up to get less charcoal on you than the primary nurse?

2. Doctor A picks up a chart out of the rack. S/he finds that it is a repeat patient with abdominal pain. Doctor A puts the chart back. Doctor B picks up the chart five minutes later and also returns it to the rack. Doctor A leaves the nurses' station heading south at three miles per hour. Doctor B leaves the nurses station for the doctors' lounge at five miles per hour. How long before the patient is at equal distance from Doctor A and Doctor B?

3. You were assigned two large treatment rooms and the gynecologic room. By the end of the day you have cared for ten patients. Four patients were female over the age of 80, all complaining of weakness. Two patients were male, ages 72 and 50. The last four were female, between the ages of 24 and 40, all complaining of abdominal pain. It is 3:00 p.m. and time to restock the rooms. How many bedpans will you need?

4. You are the primary nurse for an elderly patient with congestive heart failure. The IV stick was exceptionally difficult, but you are able to start an 18 gauge catheter on the second attempt. You leave the room to check on another patient. A relative thinks that the IV has stopped dripping and opens the clamp. How much IV fluid will infuse before you return?

5. You are sent for your morning coffee break. You need to use the restroom but can't find one unoccupied and have to walk down to the lobby. The coffee pot is dry and you have to make more. When you get to the cafeteria, the line extends ten feet into the hallway. You can't remember exactly when your break began. How much time do you have left?

6. You are the primary nurse taking care of a particularly shy female in the gynecology room. Her private physician arrives to see her, but you can see that he is not in a particularly good mood. After much coaxing, the patient agrees to a pelvic exam. How many people will open the door during the exam?

7. An elderly man arrives in the Emergency Department by rescue squad. Twenty minutes later his wife arrives and registers him. She is shown the entrance to the department and slowly shuffles in. How many rooms will she walk into before she finds him?

8. You are assigned to the EENT room. You have a patient to be checked for a peritonsillar abscess. The ENT physician has been paged and expects to arrive in 45 minutes. Three hours later, he arrives and is at the patient's side, asking for a flashlight. Lightly jogging at 22 miles per hour, how many rooms will you have to search before you find one?

9. You have been asked to cover a coworker's rooms during her break. One of her patients is an elderly, confused male with an enlarged prostate. A catheter has been inserted and his physician is coming to see him. Somehow he manages to get off the stretcher. The drainage bag is firmly hooked to the side rail. Knowing that the catheter is 16 inches long and the drainage tubing is three feet long, will he be able to reach the door before pulling out the catheter?

10. A college student named Muffy is brought to the Emergency Department with a sore throat. She has no relatives in the area. Will there be enough chairs in the waiting room for deeply concerned significant others?

No, I didn't write this one, but I found it today hidden amidst my big pile of word files that have collected from here and there over the years.  Luckily for you, me, and my lawyer, I had included the author and source when I saved this to a word file.  This was written by Myka Clark, and appeared in the JEN Volume 21, Number 4, August 1995.  Amazing how nothing has changed in that time.


EDNurseasauras said...


ToradolQueen said...

Love it!
I have one to add:
x variable = nearest door to ice machine from Fast Track closed due to construction. Calculate number of miles walked using 'x' variable in predicting ratio of extremity injuries VS sore throats presenting in a 12 hour shift.

Nurse K said...

Arbitrarily, I'll answer #4:

An #18 going wide open on a non-bendy spot (wrist, AC, etc) will probably infuse at a rate of 500cc over 18 minutes or so, faster if the pole is hanging from the ceiling hook (6 feet off the ground) vs. the cart hook (5 feet off the ground).

#3: Four, one bedpan per weak old lady, the rest will not need one.

Myk said...


I enjoy reading your blog and was wondering if we can exchange links, I also have a nursing blog -- NurseReview.Org Here is my link information if you decide to exchange links with me.

Title: NurseReview.Org
URL: http://NurseReview.Org

Once you have added my link, please leave me a comment so that I can link back to your blog.

Have a good one and thanks in advance.


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Emergi-runt said...

I love your posts... I have been reading them for like a month now and I finally decided to get myself an ID and so I could comment. I know, I suck... but what can I say... I'm a voyer! Damn-it...I'm a voyer? WTF? Anyway, thanks for keeping me lauging while working. I'm still an ED nurse because I come home and read these blogs, laugh and keep going to work. You rock!

Anonymous said...

How about... the answer to #6 = to the answer to #10?

Carin Diaz said...

Life in the ER, so interesting.