Health Promotion and Maintenance

The nurse provides and directs nursing care that integrates health promotion and maintenance.  The RN will incorporate the topics under this category by understanding growth and development principles, encouraging early detection of health problems and illness prevention, and educate clients on how to attain optimal health.

This category accounts for about 9% of the questions on the NCLEX-RN exam. Categories covered under this topic include:

Aging Process

This section will discuss the aging process as covered by the NCLEX-RN exam.  The RN will assess the client’s reaction to expected age-related changes and care for clients throughout the lifespan from childhood (newborns, infants, toddlers, preschool, school-age, and adolescent) through adulthood (adult and elderly client).

Antepartum, Intrapartum, Postpartum, and Newborn Care

This section gives information regarding the Registered Nurse’s responsibilities for antepartum, Intrapartum, postpartum, and newborn care.  The RN will assess the client’s psychosocial response to pregnancy, observe for cultural differences in childbearing practices, calculate the expected delivery date, assess fetal heart rate during routine prenatal exams, and provide prenatal care and education.  The RN will also provide care and education to the antepartum and laboring patient, assess clients for symptoms of postpartum complications, provide postpartum care and education, assist patient with performing and learning newborn care, evaluate client care of the newborn, and provide discharge instructions to the postpartum patient and newborn.

Developmental Stages and Transitions

This section discusses how Registered Nurses must perform a careful assessment of the patient and their current and expected developmental stages and transitions while providing appropriate nursing care.  The RN must identify expected physical, cognitive, and psychosocial stages of development, cultural and religious influences, and compare client development to the expected developmental stage and report any deviations. The RNs must assess family structures, roles of family members, and how the dynamics of change influence a family structure.  The RN should also promote client coping with life transitions, modify nursing care according to developmental stage, provide education about expected age-related changes, growth, and development, and evaluate the patient’s developmental milestones including body image changes.

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

This section discusses the scope of health promotion and disease prevention for a Registered Nurse.  The RN must identify risk factors for disease, assess clients for those particular health risks, assess the client’s readiness to learn with any barriers to learning and understanding their preferred learning style, and educate the client about those health risks.  The RN should participate in community health education, educate the clients on health promotion and disease prevention activities, and inform the client of relevant immunization schedules.  The RN should integrate any complementary therapies into their health promotion activities for the healthy client, provide information about health promotion and maintenance recommendations, provide follow-up resources to the client, evaluate the client’s understanding, and implement community-based care. 

Health Screening

This section explains the Registered Nurse’s role in health screening.  The RN must identify risk factors linked to patient population and ethnicity, apply specific pathophysiology knowledge, and perform a relevant health history and risk assessment.  The RN must perform targeted screening assessment for a variety of health issues like vision, hearing, and nutrition screens.

High-Risk Behaviors

This will discuss the Registered Nurse’s role in identifying a client’s high-risk behaviors. The RN will assess a client’s lifestyle to identify risks that may influence their health, encourage the client to identify those behaviors or risk factors that may increase their risk for disease, and provide education regarding treatment and prevention of those high-risk health behaviors.

Lifestyle Choices

This section will discuss lifestyle choices as covered by the NCLEX-RN exam.  The RN must assess the client’s lifestyle preferences, recognize a client who is socially or environmentally isolated, and evaluate client complementary or alternative medicine practices.  The Registered Nurse should assess patient perceptions on sexuality, identify any need for contraception, educate regarding contraceptive methods, identify any contraindications or expected outcomes for family planning methods, and educate the client on sexuality issues.


This section will discuss the Registered Nurse’s role in the promotion of self-care in the client.  The RN must assess the client’s capacity to perform self-care in their home and plan their care delivery accordingly, consider client self-care strengths and limitations before creating a nursing care plan, identify need for equipment or community resources to promote self-care, and assist primary caregivers who work with the client to meet their personal self-care goals.

Techniques of Physical Assessment

This section will cover techniques of physical assessment that the Registered Nurse should be competent with.  The RN must apply nursing knowledge of procedures and skills to techniques of physical assessment while choosing physical assessment equipment and techniques that are appropriate for the individualized client.  The RN must be able to perform a comprehensive health assessment and evaluate any abnormal assessment findings.