CST Surgical Technologist Practice Test

CST Surgical Technologist Practice Test

Here are 60 free practice questions for the CST Certification!

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) administers the Certified Surgical Technologist examination.

The exam tests the knowledge and skills required for entry-level surgical technologists.

Candidates must answer 175 questions, out of which only 150 are scored.

This CST exam prep consists of 60 questions covering all areas tested on the official exam.

CST Surgical Technologist Practice Test

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Question 1
A nurse is encountering a language barrier with a patient and cannot find an interpreter nearby. Please identify which of the following would be an appropriate action for the nurse.
A
Demonstrate the meaning of the words with her body while speaking to increase the chance of understanding
B
Stop communication with the patient and wait until an interpreter is available to prevent misunderstandings
C
Speak louder than usual and accent the mouth movements when pronouncing the words
D
None of the above
Question 1 Explanation: 
A nurse who encountered a language barrier with a patient and cannot find an interpreter nearby should be demonstrating the meaning of the words with her body while speaking to increase the chance of understanding.
Question 2
A nurse is conducting preoperative teaching of a patient with memory problems. Please identify what which of the following would be an appropriate action for the nurse.
A
Make sure to avoid correcting the patient's understanding when necessary not to offend his/her feelings
B
Make sure to speak slowly
C
Make sure to eliminate any distractions during the teaching such as switching off the television
D
None of the above
Question 2 Explanation: 
A nurse conducting preoperative teaching of a patient with memory problems should make sure to eliminate any distractions during the teaching, such as switching off the television.
Question 3
A nurse needs to take precautions when measuring a patient on a sling scale. Please identify which of the following is an appropriate action in this case.
A
Making sure the patient is having the same garments on for each measurement
B
Make sure the bedrails are pulled up while moving the patient onto the scale to prevent unwanted injury
C
A and B
D
None of the above
Question 3 Explanation: 
A nurse measuring a patient on a sling scale should make sure the patient is having the same garments on for each measurement and that the bedrails are pulled up while moving the patient onto the scale.
Question 4
An obese patient is more likely to experience certain complications during surgery. Please identify which of the following is such an example.
A
Obesity increases the likelihood for the patient contracting an infection during the surgical process
B
Obesity decreases the wound healing ability of the patient
C
Obesity increases the likelihood for the patient losing excessive amounts of blood during the surgical process
D
None of the above
Question 4 Explanation: 
Obesity increases the likelihood for the patient contracting an infection during the surgical process.
Question 5
A nurse is preparing a patient for surgery observes a preoperative blood pressure of 141/91. Please identify which of the following is an appropriate action for the nurse to take.
A
Take the patient's vital signs and record them
B
Ensure the patient has a quiet environment to rest
C
Regularly check on the patient, the latest half an hour later
D
All of the above
Question 5 Explanation: 
All of the above are actions a nurse should take in this case.
Question 6
Please identify which of the following statements refers to the goal of basic hemodynamic monitoring during surgery.
A
To ensure there is an appropriate tissue perfusion
B
To ensure there is adequate oxygen delivery
C
To predict the potential occurrence of hemodynamic instability
D
All of the above
Question 6 Explanation: 
All of the above statements explain the purpose of basic hemodynamic monitoring during a surgical procedure.
Question 7
Near the end of a surgery, during the extubation procedure, the nurse has suctioned the tube and deflated the cuff. Please identify what would be the appropriate action that comes next in this case?
A
Secretions that have accumulated in the trachea must be removed
B
At this point a suction catheter should be inserted into the tube
C
Pull out the tube while simultaneously the suction action is on
D
All of the above
Question 7 Explanation: 
The appropriate action that comes next in this case is to remove accumulated secretions from the trachea by inserting a suction catheter and applying suction simultaneously as the tube is being pulled out.
Question 8
The use of Hypaque for Arteriography requires from the nurse to first inquire whether...
A
the patient is of Hispanic descent.
B
the patient has an allergy to iodine-containing foods, such as shellfish.
C
the patient has a history of anxiety.
D
None of the above
Question 8 Explanation: 
The use of Hypaque for Arteriography requires from the nurse to first inquire whether the patient has an allergy to iodine-containing foods, such as shellfish.
Question 9
Please identify which of the following is correct about the insertion of a nasogastric (NG) tube as a preoperative procedure.
A
The patient needs to be placed in the left lateral recumbent position
B
Water should be given to the patient from time to time to ease the insertion
C
To confirm the correct placement of the NG tube an x-ray scan is performed
D
None of the above
Question 9 Explanation: 
During the insertion of a nasogastric (NG) tube, the patient should be given water from time to time in order to ease the insertion.
Question 10
Using a tongue depressor is needed to inspect which of the following in a patient?
A
The twelfth paired cranial nerve
B
The seventh cranial nerve
C
The hypoglossal nerve
D
The trigeminal nerve
E
A and C
Question 10 Explanation: 
Using a tongue depressor is needed to inspect the twelfth paired cranial nerve (hypoglossal nerve).
Question 11
Please identify which of the following actions can cause contamination to a sterile area?
A
Touching too close to the sterile area
B
Repositioning the drape after draping a patient
C
A and B
D
None of the above
Question 11 Explanation: 
A drape is placed to ensure sterility of an area. It should not be repositioned nor adjusted once placed. Modifying the drape after draping the patient can compromise the are sterility.
Question 12
Please identify which of the following statements explains the purpose of having the central processing unit send operating supplies for a surgery in a surgical case cart.
A
It makes it more convenient for the nursing staff to select the necessary supplies
B
It ensures there are no mistakes because the central processing unit double checks the supplies needed for a specific surgery
C
It ensures more space for the surgical procedure as this practice allows for less supplies to be stored in the operating room
D
None of the above.
Question 12 Explanation: 
Having the central processing unit to send a surgical case cart ensures more space for the surgical procedure as this practice allows for less supplies to be stored in the operating room.
Question 13
Please identify which of the following is correct about how a laser unit is used in a surgery.
A
Only the physician is allowed to move or transport this type of equipment
B
The nurse must handle and transport the laser unit with care as it can easily sustain damage
C
Place the necessary solutions next to the laser unit
D
None of the above
Question 13 Explanation: 
The nurse must handle and transport the laser unit with care as it can easily sustain damage, which can lead to malfunctioning and fatal consequences.
Question 14
In preparation for a temporal craniectomy, a patient would likely be placed in which of the following positions?
A
Reverse-Trendelenburg position
B
Supine position
C
Sitting position
D
Fowler's position
Question 14 Explanation: 
In preparation for a temporal craniectomy, a patient would likely be placed in a sitting position.
Question 15
Please identify which of the following precautions must be observed when administering furosemide.
A
The nurse must closely monitor the patient for signs of shallow, rapid breathing
B
The nurse should monitor potassium levels after a dose of furosemide was administered
C
The nurse should make sure to stretch the administration time to approximately 1-2 minutes
D
All of the above
E
B and C only
Question 15 Explanation: 
When administering furosemide, the nurse should make sure to stretch the administration time to approximately 1-2 minutes and monitor potassium levels after the dose was administered.
Question 16
Please identify what is an appropriate action for the nurse on a patient with thrombocytopenia in order to prevent blood clotting from occurring in this patient.
A
Place a pillow under the patient's legs while in a lying position
B
Instruct the patient to remain in a lying position
C
Administer prophylactic aspirin
D
None of the above
Question 16 Explanation: 
A nurse should administer prophylactic aspirin in a patient with thrombocytopenia in order to prevent blood clotting from occurring.
Question 17
Please identify what is the next appropriate action for a nurse in a patient whose blood pressure currently measures 149/99, but the patient has no cardiovascular history.
A
The nurse should assess the patient for anxiety
B
The nurse should assess the patient for pain
C
The nurse should assess the patient's lung sounds
D
All of the above
Question 17 Explanation: 
All of the above are appropriate measures for the nurse in a patient with high blood pressure, but no cardiac history.
Question 18
Please identify which of the following elements of the post-anesthesia care unit or PACU promote a positive patient's psychological condition post-surgery.
A
The nurses are constantly entering and exiting the PACU to give the patient a feeling of safety
B
The PACU has subdued lighting as opposed to strong, bright lights
C
The PACU provides a qutet environment conductive to rest
D
B and C only
E
All of the above
Question 18 Explanation: 
The PACU has subdued lighting as opposed to strong, bright lights, and provides a quiet environment conductive of rest.
Question 19
Please identify which of the following nursing diagnoses is common in the post-operative period.
A
Anxiety
B
Ineffective thermoregulation
C
Excessive fluid volume
D
None of the above
Question 19 Explanation: 
Ineffective thermoregulation is a common nursing diagnosis in the post-operative period.
Question 20
A patient in the PACU is having strained respirations and his/her oxygen saturation is gradually decreasing from 94%. Please identify what would be an appropriate action for the nurse in this case.
A
The patient should be stimulated to try to breathe deeply.
B
The physician should be called.
C
Oxygen should be administered immediately.
D
None of the above
Question 20 Explanation: 
An appropriate action for the nurse in this case. would be to stimulate the patient to breathe deeper. If this fails, oxygen can be administered.
Question 21
Please identify which of the following is an appropriate action for the nurse upon moving a patient to the surgical unit in terms of ensuring a lower risk of infection.
A
The nurse should administer Indomethacin
B
The nurse should remove the patient's Foley catheter as soon as ambulation is possible
C
The nurse should encourage the patient to consume plenty of fluids
D
None of the above
Question 21 Explanation: 
The nurse should remove the patient's Foley catheter as soon as ambulation is possible.
Question 22
Please identify which of the following actions is a priority for the nurse if a patient in the PACU says they feel the urge to vomit.
A
Provide a kidney dish
B
Turn the patient in a side-lying position
C
Instruct the patient to concentrate on breathing deeply
D
None of the above
Question 22 Explanation: 
In this case the nurse should immediately turn the patient in a side-lying position.
Question 23
A patient is scheduled to undergo fiberoptic colonoscopy. Please identify which of the following should the nurse ensure the patient understands.
A
The fluid consumption must be reduced two weeks before the procedure
B
Eating is strictly forbidden up to 8 hours prior to the fiberoptic colonoscopy
C
There may be a need to insert a nasogastric tube to apply the lavage solution
D
None of the above
Question 23 Explanation: 
The nurse should instruct the patient that there may be a need to insert a nasogastric tube to apply the lavage solution.
Question 24
The hole of the needle is facing up during penetration. Please identify which of the following statements explains the purpose of this.
A
The hole of the needle is facing up during penetration because this makes it more difficult for vein damage to occur.
B
The hole of the needle is facing up during penetration because this makes the needle insertion easier.
C
The hole of the needle is facing up during penetration because this reduced the risk of infection
D
All of the above
E
And B only
Question 24 Explanation: 
The hole of the needle is facing up during penetration because this makes it more difficult for vein damage to occur and makes the needle insertion easier.
Question 25
Please identify which of the following statements refers to a correct nursing action in case of a patient with anxiety caused by a scheduled surgical procedure.
A
The nurse talks to the patient and shows them relaxation techniques
B
The nurse orders a social worker to be sent to talk to the patient
C
The nurse requests family members to come and help relax the patient
D
All of the above
Question 25 Explanation: 
In case of a patient with anxiety caused by a scheduled surgical procedure, talking to the patient and showing them relaxation techniques is an appropriate nursing action.
Question 26
Please identify which of the following statements is correct about the use of depilatory cream in preparing a patient for a surgical procedure.
A
Prevents potential injury to the skin prior to the surgical procedure
B
Provides for the possibility of the patient applying it on their own if the case allows
C
Depilatory cream is healthier than shaving
D
Both A and B
Question 26 Explanation: 
Using depilatory cream prevents potential injury to the skin happening prior to the surgical procedure, which may be the case with shaving. If the case allows, the patient can apply it on their own.
Question 27
Please identify whihc of the following is an accurate way of assessing heart murmur in a patient.
A
The nurse asks the patient about its loudness
B
The nurse asks the patient where in the chest exactly can it be heard
C
The nurse asks the patient to describe the sound of the murmur
D
None of the above
Question 27 Explanation: 
In assessing heart murmur in a patient, the nurse should ask the patient about how loud it is.
Question 28
What does the Prothrombin Time Test measure?
A
How fast the bone marrow makes red blood cells
B
How fast it takes for the blood to clot
C
How fast it takes for platelets in the blood to clump together
D
All of the above
Question 28 Explanation: 
The Prothrombin Time Test measures how fast it takes for the blood to clot.
Question 29
An enema administration is a pre-operative technique that aims to...
A
ensure the patient does not defecate during the surgery.
B
ensure the patient is not constipated after the surgery.
C
reduce the patient's need for fluid intake after the surgery.
D
None of the above
Question 29 Explanation: 
An enema administration is a pre-operative technique that aims to ensure the patient does not defecate during the surgery.
Question 30
A polycythemia patient scheduled for surgery is likely to exhibit which of the following signs?
A
The patient has a bluish coloration of the skin.
B
Th patient has a significantly pale skin
C
The patient complains of itching
D
Both A and C
Question 30 Explanation: 
A polycythemia patient scheduled for surgery is likely to complain of itching and have a bluish coloration of the skin.
Question 31
Please identify which of the following makes a patient indicated for a vitrectomy surgery.
A
Having foreign bodies in the eye
B
Diabetic retinopathy
C
Macular degeneration
D
Cataract
E
A and B
Question 31 Explanation: 
Having foreign bodies in the eye and diabetic retinopathy both are indications for vitrectomy surgery.
Question 32
Wound dehiscence and evisceration commonly appear as complications in cases of what kind of abdominal incision?
A
Gridiron Incision
B
Vertical midline incision
C
Kocher incision
D
Paramedian incision
Question 32 Explanation: 
Wound dehiscence and evisceration commonly appear as complications in cases of a vertical midline incision.
Question 33
Please identify which of the following is not an appropriate practice in terms of compromising the sterile field.
A
The nurse ensures there is minimum traffic in the OR
B
The nurse has set up the supplies ahead of time to save time
C
The nurse has set up the supplies ahead of time to save time, but they are covered with a sterile towel
D
B and C
Question 33 Explanation: 
A nurse may not set up the supplies ahead of time to save time, even if covered with a sterile towel.
Question 34
Please identify which of the following is an appropriate action for the nurse when it comes to cleaning instruments that are difficult to clean with standard sterilization methods, such as instruments used on a patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
A
The nurse should use a steam sterilizer prior to standard sterilization techniques
B
The nurse should have the instruments stay in sodium oxalate for at least one hour prior to standard sterilization techniques
C
The nurse should have the instruments stay in formaldehyde for at least one hour prior to standard sterilization techniques
D
None of the above
Question 34 Explanation: 
In this case, the nurse should use a steam sterilizer prior to standard sterilization techniques.
Question 35
A type of anesthesia that consists of a combination of small amounts of different neuronal depressants, such as a hypnotic-sedative, a narcotic, or an inhalation agent is called...
A
monitored anesthesia care.
B
balanced anesthesia.
C
regional anesthesia.
D
local anesthesia.
Question 35 Explanation: 
A type of anesthesia that consists of a combination of small amounts of different neuronal depressants, such as a narcotic, an inhalation agent or a muscle relaxant is called balanced anesthesia.
Question 36
Hypothermia during a surgery in a patient can lead to which of the following factors?
A
Slow healing of the surgical wounds
B
Feeling mild pain and tingling in the extremities
C
Nausea and vomiting
D
None of the above
Question 36 Explanation: 
Hypothermia during a surgery in a patient can lead to slow wound healing, among others.
Question 37
Please identify which of the following are examples of the oldest group of anesthetics, inhaled anesthetic agents.
A
Isoflurane
B
Desflurane
C
Halothane
D
All of the above
E
A and B only
Question 37 Explanation: 
Isoflurane, Desflurane and Halothane are all examples of inhaled anesthetic agents.
Question 38
Please identify which of the following actions is appropriate for minimizing airborne contamination in the OP.
A
The nurse makes sure the doors are closed
B
The nurse brings movement out of the operating room to a minimum
C
The nurse applies an air neutralizing spray prior to the procedure
D
A and B
E
None of the above
Question 38 Explanation: 
To minimize airborne contamination in the OP, the nurse should ensure the doors are closed and bring movement out of the operating room to a minimum.
Question 39
Please identify which of the following should be noted in the report from counts of instruments and sponges in the operating room.
A
What kind of sponges and instruments were counted
B
The results of the counts
C
The identification of the nurse who performed the counts
D
B and C
Question 39 Explanation: 
When performing counts of instruments and sponges in the operating room, the nurse should note down who performed the count and the results.
Question 40
Prior to medication administration, the drugs must undergo mandatory checks. When are these checks performed?
A
Immediately before the drug is administered
B
After the drug is retrieved or pulled out for use
C
When the drug is dosed and otherwise prepared for administration
D
All of the above
E
A and B only
Question 40 Explanation: 
All of the above statements are correct and explain the three obligatory checks of a medication before it is administered.
Question 41
Please identify which of the following procedures is used in the post-operative cleaning of the instruments.
A
Sterilization
B
Disinfection
C
Oxidation
D
All of the above
E
A and B only
Question 41 Explanation: 
Sterilization and disinfection are both used in the post-operative cleaning of the instruments.
Question 42
Please identify which of the following statements is correct about the purpose of laying a proper cover over disinfectant solutions when they are not in use.
A
The practice prolongs their expiration date.
B
The practice prevents their odors from spreading.
C
The practice ensures they are not contaminated through air.
D
All of the above
Question 42 Explanation: 
The practice of laying a proper cover over disinfectant solutions when they are not in use prevents their odors from spreading.
Question 43
The Steam Indicator and Integrator Strips are used to...
A
mark items that were flash sterilized
B
mark items that need to be flash sterilized
C
mark items that should be excluded form flash sterilization
D
None of the above
Question 43 Explanation: 
The Steam Indicator and Integrator Strips are used to mark items that were flash sterilized.
Question 44
In cleaning the instruments, the ultrasonic washer uses a process called...
A
rinsing.
B
thermal disinfection.
C
steam-sterilization.
D
cavitation.
Question 44 Explanation: 
In cleaning the instruments, the ultrasonic washer uses a process called cavitation.
Question 45
Please identify which of the following does NOT belong to the list of elements of developing a patient teaching program.
A
Evaluating the level of the patient's ability for understanding medical terminology to adjust the teaching accordingly
B
Evaluating the patient's relationship with close family members and other support structure members
C
Inquiring about the patient's financial situation to assess their ability for receiving adequate care after discharging
D
All of the above are eligible elements
Question 45 Explanation: 
Inquiring about the patient's financial situation to assess their ability for receiving adequate care after discharging is NOT part of the nurse's duties in preparing a patient teaching program.
Question 46
Which of the following is NOT a likely complication of spinal anesthesia?
A
PDPH (post dural puncture headache)
B
Paralysis
C
Intraspinal hemorrhage
D
B and C
E
None of the above
Question 46 Explanation: 
Paralysis and intraspinal hemorrhage are not likely to appear as a complication of spinal anesthesia.
Question 47
A nurse observes a rapid heart rate increase and sudden fever \during a blood transfusion in the OP. Please identify what would be the appropriate course of action for the nurse.
A
Double check whether the transfusion orders were followed correctly
B
Immediately stop administering the blood
C
Inform the physician
D
None of the above
E
B and C
Question 47 Explanation: 
In this case the nurse should immediately stop administering the blood and inform the physician.
Question 48
Please identify which nurse is likely to be performing the following duties: The nurse assists the surgeon with instruments and performs suturing.
A
A Licensed practical nurse (LPN)
B
A Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)
C
A scrub nurse
D
None of the above
Question 48 Explanation: 
A nurse with these duties would have to be a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA).
Question 49
The likelihood of the patient contracting a post-operative infection can be affected by which of the following?
A
Whether the anesthesia was administered correctly
B
Whether the patient had certain medical conditions before the surgical procedure
C
Whether the wound is properly cared for after the surgery
D
B and C
Question 49 Explanation: 
Certain conditions can predispose a patient to post-operative infections. Whether the wound is properly cared for after the surgery is also a factor.
Question 50
If thermal cautery or electrocautery is part of a surgical procedure, certain precautions must be observed. Please identify which of the following is an example of such precautions.
A
The nurse should ensure the alarm is working properly
B
The nurse should ensure the grounding pad is dry during the procedure
C
A and B
D
None of the above
Question 50 Explanation: 
In this case, the nurse should ensure the alarm is working properly and that the grounding pad is dry during the procedure.
Question 51
Please identify which of the following statements is NOT correct regarding instrument and sponge counts.
A
There is a fixed number of sponges and instruments required for any surgical procedure
B
The sponges are kept with the towels
C
A and B
D
None of the above
Question 51 Explanation: 
There is no fixed number of sponges and instruments for any procedure, but each requires a different number. The sponges are kept separate from the towels.
Question 52
Please indicate which of the following is a correct information regarding insufflation.
A
The nurse should inform the patient that the procedure may result in abdominal bruising.
B
The nurse should inform the patient that the procedure may cause excessive bleeding.
C
The nurse informs the patient that carbon dioxide will be used in the procedure, but that it is safe
D
A and C
Question 52 Explanation: 
The nurse should inform the patient that the procedure may result in abdominal bruising. Also, that carbon dioxide will be used in the procedure, but that it is safe.
Question 53
Please identify which of the following is NOT appropriate for the nurse to say to the patient in the operating room, prior to the surgical operation.
A
Talk to the patient about their possible anxieties related to the forthcoming procedure
B
Inform the patient that they will soon start feeling sleepy
C
A and B
D
None of the above
Question 53 Explanation: 
In the operating room, the nurse should prepare the patient for the effect of the anesthesia and this is not a time to discuss their fears and anxieties.
Question 54
Coccygectomy is a surgical procedure that requires which of the following positions for the patient?
A
The kidney position
B
The Kraske position
C
The Sim's position
D
The lithotomy position
Question 54 Explanation: 
Coccygectomy is a surgical procedure that requires the patient to be in the Kraske position.
Question 55
The following group of symptoms are observed in a patient in the OP: rapidly reducing respiratory rate, heart arrhythmia, blood gas tests are showing a pH of 7.60 and an increased PCO2 level. Please identify what can these symptoms refer to.
A
Hypovolemic shock
B
Respiratory acidosis
C
Pulmonary embolism
D
None of the above
Question 55 Explanation: 
This patient is likely experiencing respiratory acidosis.
Question 56
Please identify which of the following is NOT an appropriate procedure for a scrubbing nurse before a procedure.
A
The nurse should make sure to carefully wash both the hand and arms
B
The nurse should position her hands up, maintaining them above the elbow level to promote residue water to move away form the hands
C
Hold the arms and hands tightly close to her body
D
All of the above are correct
Question 56 Explanation: 
The scrubbing nurse should hold the arms and hands away from her body to prevent contamination.
Question 57
Please identify what set of precautions take into account the fact that infectious diseases can be transferred by the nurse if a contact with equipment used for infectious patients occurs.
A
Droplet Precautions
B
Airborne Precautions
C
Contact precautions
D
None of the above
Question 57 Explanation: 
Contact precautions take into account the fact that infectious diseases can be transferred by the nurse if a contact with equipment used for infectious patients occurs.
Question 58
Please identify which of the following is correct about a nurse preparing a specimen for laboratory analysis.
A
A frozen section for surgical pathology analysis should kept fresh, placed in a damp towel formalin
B
A frozen section for surgical pathology analysis should kept in a formalin solution
C
None of the above
Question 58 Explanation: 
It is correct that t frozen section for surgical pathology analysis should kept fresh, placed in a damp towel formalin
Question 59
Please identify which of the following statements is correct about the risk of perioperative neuropathy.
A
Morbid obesity is a factor increasing the risk of perioperative neuropathy in a patient.
B
A diabetic patient faces a higher risk for perioperative neuropathy.
C
A and B
D
None of the above
Question 59 Explanation: 
Patients with morbid obesity and diabetes are more likely to experience perioperative neuropathy.
Question 60
Please identify which of the following is NOT a symptom of botulism.
A
Double vision or blurred vision
B
Diarrhea and abdominal pain
C
Difficulty breathing and swallowing
D
Impeded speech
Question 60 Explanation: 
All of the above are botulism symptoms except for diarrhea and abdominal pain.
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