It is important to know patient prioritization for nursing school, the NCLEX, and the real nursing world. Do you prioritize the patient who is nauseous or the patient who’s blood pressure is dropping and going into shock? Unfortunately, you’ll be placed in situations where you have more patients than you feel like you can handle. You have to know patient prioritization to answer and provide patient safety.

Expected vs. Unexpected

  • You expect patients to have nausea after surgery.
  • You do not expect patients to go into shock.

Chronic vs. Acute

  • Prioritize patient with an allergic reaction over a patient with the influenza.

Stable vs. Unstable

  • Prioritize patients who deteriorated from their normal baseline. (i.e. patients who are nonresponsive on dialysis when the blood pressure drop.)
  • Patients who have signs of shock are not stable.

Potential Problem vs. Actual Problem

  • Prioritize postoperative patients who just got out of surgery vs teaching preoperative patients about the potential problems.
  • Prioritize Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. (Physiological needs before love and belonging)

Safe vs. Unsafe

  • Prioritize any situation when the LPN or UAP is doing anything out of their scope of practice.
  • Prioritize malfunctioning equipment or tubing.