Four patients all require the attention of the nurse. Who should the nurse see first?


•A patient with a pneumothorax who is experiencing shortness of breath needs immediate attention to prevent respiratory failure or other negative outcomes. The patient with compromised oxygenation should be the priority.

Incorrect options:

•A patient waiting to be discharged is stable and a low priority.

•Post-surgical pain is expected and not an emergency. Unless a post-op patient has signs of hemorrhage (decreasing BP, increasing HR), they are generally not the priority.

•Ambulation should be encouraged, but it is not an urgent need.

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