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30 Nursing Final Examination Questions from the 1960’s

How many of these can you answer?



Nursing Final Examination Questions
Image: Nottingham Hospitals History.

The General Nursing Council for England and Wales required all nurses to complete the final state examination prior to completion of their training.

Below are 30 questions which have been taken from real final state examination papers from between 1960 and 1970.

They highlight the depth and variety knowledge that was required to become a registered nurse and why it was such an admired profession.


How many of these can you answer?

The exam questions…

1) Describe how the structure of blood vessels is related to their function.

2) List the conditions of blood vessels which had lead to their impaired function.

3) What methods may be used to treat varicose veins of the leg?

4) A middle-aged man is in the hospital for investigation and treatment of hypertension.

  • What might have led him to seek medical advice?
  • Why may his wife be fearful about his condition?
  • Describe the nursing care and management of this patient.

5) Following a head injury, a man is admitted unconscious to a surgical ward. Indicate;

  • The observations the nurse should make and report in the first 24 hours.
  • How respiratory infection could be avoided.
  • How nutrition may be maintained.
  • How restlessness could be treated.
  • How bedsores may be prevented.

6) What common accidents occur in the home and how could they be prevented?

7) Laparotomy on a man of 50 has revealed an inoperable carcinoma of the stomach. How can the ward team help in regards to;

  • The patient in regards to anorexia, vomiting, pain and anxiety.
  • The Relatives.

8) An obese middle-aged woman is admitted for the repair of a large umbilical hernia.

  • What particular pre-operative preparation could they be given?
  • What chest and wound complications may occur?
  • How may they be prevented?

9) A man has been admitted to hospital with a severely septic hand and inflamed axillary gland.

  • What are the principles underlying the treatment of acute inflammation?
  • Describe how these principles can be applied in this care?

10) What investigations and nursing treatment may be carried out when preparing a patient for one of the following operations;

  • Hysterectomy for carcinoma of the cervix.
  • Nephrectomy for carcinoma of the kidney.

11) Give a detailed description of the pre-operate preparation and post-operative care required for. Making special reference to diet and feeding methods. 

  • A one-year-old child with a cleft palate.
  • A man of 70 with a cataract.

12) Attempted suicide is not uncommon. What mental illnesses may give rise to this?

13) Scurvy is a deficiency disease. Explain what this means. Describe briefly a typical case of scurvy.

14) What do you understand by the term anxiety neurosis? Discuss the management and treatment of such a case.

15) Give an account of congestive heart failure, paying attention to the signs of symptoms. How can a nurse assist patients suffering from this condition?

16) Describe paranoid schizophrenia. What role can a nurse plan in rehabilitating such a patient?

17) What are the causes of a common headache? What investigations do you think should be made to assist in establishing a diagnosis in a patient complaining of a constant severe headache?

18) Write notes on the following;

  • Mannerisms.
  • Echolalia.
  • Neologisms.
  • Delusions.
  • Illusions.

19) Describe the nursing care of a patient who is suffering from pre-senile dementia.

20) People often ask nurses for advice about the treatment for mental illness. What provisions for care and treatment can you explain to them?

21) What records are usually kept in a ward? How does record keeping help in the care of the patients and in the administration of the ward?

22) What factors should be considered when arranging a programme of occupational and recreational therapy for a patient whose illness is for a short duration?

23) While helping in the kitchen a patients clothing catches fire. What first aid should be given? Outline the subsequent nursing care for this patient.

24) Explaining to a junior nurse why, in hospital, the following procedure are sometimes necessary;

  • Weighing patients.
  • Taking the patients’ blood pressure.
  • Testing urine.

25) How would you ensure that the meals for patients in a ward are adequate and enjoyable?

26) What are the advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding?

27) A nine-year-old boy in your ward, on traction for a fractured femur, develops measles.

  • Describe the general management of his care whilst he is infectious.
  • Explain why some children in the ward will develop measles and not others.

28) A married woman aged 45 years is admitted to hospital with a severe uterine prolapse.

  • With reference to the structures involved, what difficulties may arise from this condition?
  • Give an account of pre and post-operative care this patient may receive.

29) A man aged 65 years is admitted to hospital with an enlarged prostate gland.

  • With reference to the structures involved, what difficulties may arise from this condition?
  • Give an account of pre and post-operative care this patient may receive.

30) Describe the observations which should be made on a primigravida aged 35 years during the three stages of labour.


Former student nurses share their top money-saving tips

“A nursing degree is very different to most undergraduate courses.”



Student money saving tips

Direct from former student nurses, the Student Money Guide is packed with useful tips.

New nursing students should claim fuel reimbursements, car share, compare markets and supermarkets and seek second-hand textbooks to make their student funding, and part-time wages go as far as possible, updated advice from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says.

The College’s latest Student Money Guide for nursing is packed with useful information on childcare, travel expenses, charitable funding and tips for those moving into private rented accommodation.


The top money-saving tips.

Direct from former student nurses, the guide offers some top money-saving tips, which include;

  1. Develop a good relationship with your bank – meet and go through all the options and accounts which will save you most money and give you the best interest rates
  2. Use online materials, the RCN Library for example, instead of buying textbooks – If you do buy them, try advertising on university notice boards for second-hand copies, or, have a look at Use cashback websites, such as Quidco, when making purchases.
  3. Get a Young Persons Rail Card if you spend over £72 a year on rail travel – all full-time students are eligible, regardless of age.
  4. Claim fuel reimbursement if you drive further to placement than to university – it is offered, so you might as well.
  5. Be penny-wise, seek out free pickings – go to sites like Freecycle for free furniture, kitchenware and bicycles.
  6. Check out your local discount warehouses for basics, cleaning products, toilet rolls, washing powder and buy these as a household to split the cost of a bulk buy – it is well worth it.
  7. Share lifts to placement and do food shops with fellow students.
  8. Make sure your supermarket shop is cheapest – check online comparison sites like ahead of your shop.
  9. Use your local butchers and market.
  10. Take a packed lunch and flask to university – you will save a small fortune and probably eat better.

Nursing is different to other degree courses.

Claire Cannings, Senior Welfare Adviser commented: “A nursing degree is very different to most undergraduate courses. The placement element means there is less time for part-time work, and the long shifts mean childcare and travel is often more expensive.

“Fluency with finances, brilliance with budgeting and keeping clued-up on things complimentary can pay dividends. This can, in turn, impact positively on study and well-being through a student’s learning years and beyond. It’s amazing how many grants and funds students are entirely unaware of which is why we’ve collated all the information they need in one place.

“While the RCN will still be making the case to Government to invest in nursing education, we hope the guide will continue to be a valuable resource to our current and potential members.”

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Clinical Updates

Induction framework for General Practice Nurses launched

It also provides guidance for practices employing General Practice Nurses.



nurse working at desk in office

The document provides a framework for both new and experienced general practice nurses.

NHS England, in collaboration with The QNI, has launched a new Induction Template for General Practice Nursing.

The Induction Template is has been designed to enable employers to ensure that nurses in a first career destination role in General Practice are well supported when taking their first career step in primary care.


Not just useful for newly qualified nurses, the 51-page document provides an induction framework for all new general practice nurses, enabling them to develop key skills required for the role.

It also provides guidance for practices employing General Practice Nurses.

Nursing associates, health care assistants and student nurses preparing for a primary care placement may also find the template useful.

A great start to a long and exciting career’.

The author of the document, Queen’s Nurse and experienced nursing mentor and educator, Sharon Aldridge-Bent said; “Developing this template highlighted the urgent need for a comprehensive induction and orientation programme for all nurses new to general practice.

“This most certainly will assist with recruitment and retention of nurses in the primary care setting.”

Paul Vaughan, Head of Nursing Now England, responsible for the delivery of the GPN Ten Point Plan, said: “this new resource will enable employers to ensure they provide nurses new to general practice with a really good experience of working in the sector and ensure they have a great start to their long and exciting career working general practice.”

The resource underpinned by General Practice – developing confidence, capability and capacity – A ten-point action plan for General Practice Nursing (2017) contributes towards the overall strategic goals outlined in the General Practice Five Year Forward View.

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