Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) Exam Review

The Certified Pediatric Nurse is a specialized Registered Nurse who provides care to pediatric patients. This includes performing nursing assessments, medication and treatment interventions, and education of the patient and the family.

In order to take the Certified Pediatric Nurse Exam, the applicant must be a licensed Registered Nurse. The Certified Pediatric Nurse Exam is offered throughout the year at various testing sites in the United States. Once the application for the CPN exam is received and processed, the RN will receive a testing admission ticket in the mail. There is a 90-day window in which the CPN exam must be taken.

Effective 12/15/08, the CPN exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and 3 hours is allotted to complete the CPN exam. Approximately one-quarter of the exam tests the RN's knowledge of child development, including developmental milestones. Another one-quarter of the CPN exam contains questions regarding specific pathologic illnesses that can affect the pediatric population. The remainder of the CPN exam is made up of questions pertaining to psychosocial issues, health promotion, and family education.

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Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) Practice Questions

1. A 6-week-old male infant is brought into the emergency room by his mother. He has a weeklong history of progressively worsening emesis that is projectile in nature. What is his most likely diagnosis?

  1. Intussusception.
  2. Appendicitis.
  3. Pyloric stenosis.
  4. Pancreatitis.

2. An 8-year-old male has contracted chicken pox (varicella virus). With which of the following family members can the child have contact?

  1. 20-year-old aunt on chemotherapy.
  2. 35-year-old uncle with HIV.
  3. 95-year-old grandfather on long-term steroid therapy.
  4. 2-year-old brother who has never had varicella but has had the vaccine.

3. A 4-year-old child is found to have a lateral bowing of the tibia that does not increase after walking. What is this condition known as?

  1. Metatarsus adductus.
  2. Metatarsus varus.
  3. Genu varum.
  4. Genu valgum.

4. Rheumatic fever is assessed using the Jones criteria that divide the signs and symptoms of the disease into major and minor criteria. Which of the following characteristics is considered a minor and NOT a major criterion?

  1. Polyarthritis.
  2. Fever.
  3. Carditis.
  4. Chorea.

5. A 13-year-old male has had nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, and headaches for the past 6 months. He uses an OTC nasal spray that alleviates the symptoms but has prompt recurrence once the spray wears off. What is his likely diagnosis?

  1. Nonallergic rhinitis with eosinophilia syndrome (NARES).
  2. Rhinitis medicamentosa.
  3. Vasomotor rhinitis.
  4. Nasal polyps.

Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) Answer Key

1. Answer: C

Projectile vomiting in a 6 week-old male is the classic presentation for pyloric stenosis, obstruction of the pyloric sphincter between the gastric pylorus and the small intestine, caused by hypertrophy and hyperplasia of the circular muscle of the pylorus, which obstructs the sphincter. This diagnosis can be confirmed with an ultrasound.

2. Answer: D

The 2-year-old brother, who has had the vaccine, is likely immune to varicella, so contact is safe. All of the other relatives have some form of immunosuppression from infection (HIV) or medications (chemotherapy and steroids) and should avoid contact with the patient.

3. Answer: C

Genu varum refers to bowing of the legs. Genu valgum is the abnormal closeness between the knees (knock-knees). Metatarsus varus and adductus refer to forefoot conditions.

4. Answer: B

Fever, along with arthralgias and lab findings, such as elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C:reactive protein, are considered minor Jones criteria. Polyarthritis, carditis, and chorea are major criteria. Rheumatic fever is diagnosed when 2 major criteria or one major and 2 minor criteria are met.

5. Answer: B

Rhinitis medicamentosa is rebound rhinitis caused from the prolonged use (usually about a week) of nasal vasoconstrictors. Discontinuation of the offending OTC medication is necessary to reduce symptoms.

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Last Updated: 07/05/2018


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