RMA Medical Assistant Practice Test 6

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Spirometry is used to measure what?

Correct! Wrong!

A spirometer measures breath flow from the lungs. It is useful in diagnosing asthma, bronchial conditions and many other diseases. It's important to note that spirometry generally involves forceful expelling of air and so may be harmful to some patients, for example those who have recently undergone thoracic or abdominal surgery.

Which of these is not part of the measurement of vital signs?

Correct! Wrong!

The monitoring of vital signs comprises monitoring temperature, respiration and pulse. However, at the same time as monitoring the vital signs any other abnormal signs should be noted, for example excessive sweating, trembling or incoherence, and reported if necessary.

Used sharps should be disposed of in what?

Correct! Wrong!

Every year some institutions will be caught disposing of contaminated sharps in ordinary trash or non-approved containers. This increases the risk of infection for garbage collectors and the general public; never cut corners if it's your responsibility to dispose of sharps, always insist on an FDA approved container.

Which of these is the abbreviation for a microgram?

Correct! Wrong!

A microgram is one millionth of a gram and is abbreviated mcg. It is vital that all people prescribing medicine know the difference between different units, as a mistake can be dangerous or even fatal. For example if a milligram of a drug is administered instead of a microgram the patient will be receiving a dose 1000 times stronger than the one prescribed.

If a patient has a problem such as deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism they may need a drug to stop the blood thickening. This is called an…?

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When a patient's blood is clotting too quickly, which can cause DVT or pulmonary embolism, they may need an anticoagulant to slow this process. Common anticoagulants include Coumadin (aka Warfarin) and Heparin.

When a medicine is a preparation of oil suspended in fluid it is known as what?

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Tiny particles of oil suspended in fluid are known as an emulsion. Examples are cod liver oil and castor oil (taken orally) and many types of skin cream.

If a patient is displaying any abnormalities in their vital signs, how should this be reported?

Correct! Wrong!

All abnormalities in vital signs could be crucial indicators that a patient needs immediate treatment. Any abnormalities must be reported to a physician immediately.

What is a healthy BMI for a normal adult?

Correct! Wrong!

BMI (Body Mass Index) is calculated by dividing the body mass in kilograms by the body height in meters squared (there are many charts to save you having to make this calculation yourself). A BMI between 18 and 25 is considered healthy; anything under 18 is underweight, over 25 is overweight and over 30 is obese. Be aware that some people may fall outside the normal range and still be healthy, for example a power athlete carrying a lot of muscle may have a BMI over 25 and still be perfectly healthy.

Which of these is the most common and effective place to read a pulse?

Correct! Wrong!

The pulse is usually measured from the radial artery, on the side of the wrist nearest the thumb. However, if there are reasons preventing taking a reading from here (for example if the patient has both wrists in casts) there are other points from which the pulse may be taken.

In order to prescribe controlled substances a medical practitioner needs a license from…?

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A license from the DEA is required for all persons prescribing controlled substances. The license lasts for three years (though it can be taken away at any time for malpractice) and costs $731.

Drugs designed for pain relief are designated what?

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Analgesic drugs are used for pain management. Analgesics can range from mild, e.g. aspirin, to extremely strong, e.g. opiate drugs. They may be either narcotic or nonnarcotic. Care must be taken with all analgesic drugs as they can be damaging or fatal in overdose and many can be addictive.

If medication is taken sublingually it is taken…?

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Medications administered sublingually are placed between the cheek and gum to dissolve. Cardiovascular drugs, steroids and barbiturates are some examples of drugs that can be administered in this fashion. The advantage of this method of administration is that the medication passes directly into the bloodstream through the capillaries in the mouth, rather than going through the gastric system and the liver, which can degrade drugs and make them less effective.

A normal pulse rate for a healthy adult should be between…?

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The normal range for the pulse rate of a healthy adult is between 60 – 100 beats per minute. Any pulse rate outside this range should be reported to a physician. However, you should be aware that a pulse rate outside this range can still be healthy, for example a very fit athlete may have a pulse rate as low as 40 BPM.

What are drugs designed to cause vomiting called?

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Drugs that cause vomiting are called emetics. They are often used for patients who have deliberately or accidentally consumed harmful substances, or substances in harmful doses, e.g. alcohol, painkillers. When administering an emetic remember the process of vomiting may leave the patient dehydrated and take steps to prevent this.

When sterilizing instruments using an autoclave, the machine should be filled with what?

Correct! Wrong!

Autoclaves must be used with distilled water. Most modern autoclaves have purity sensors that will abort the sterilization procedure if distilled water is not used. Even if your machine does not have a purity sensor, using even boiled water will risk compromising the effectiveness of sterilization and greatly increase the need for cleaning – it may even damage the machine.

What does asepsis mean?

Correct! Wrong!

The ideal situation in a medical environment is for it to be sterile, but in practice this is virtually impossible to achieve, as even healthy people carry bacteria with them. Therefore the aim of cleaning procedures in hospitals is to achieve asepsis (which is also used as a term for the procedures), which means there are no disease causing agents present. Medical asepsis such as would be used on a ward aims to reduce the number of disease-causing organisms, whereas surgical asepsis as used in theatre aims to eliminate them.

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