The NCLEX prioritization questions and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory


The NCLEX prioritization questions

In tackling the NCLEX prioritization question, we use Maslow’s theory as a blueprint to decision making. Abraham Maslow theorized that human needs are satisfied in a particular order, and he arranged human needs in a pyramid or hierarchy. According to Maslow, basic physiological needs, such as airway, breathing, circulation, water, food, and elimination needs, are the priority.

These basic physiological needs are followed by safety and then the psychosocial needs, including security needs, love and belonging needs, self-esteem needs, and self-actualization needs, in that order.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory is a helpful guide when prioritizing client needs. When you are answering a question that requires you to prioritize, select an option that relates to a physiological need, remembering that physiological needs are the first priority.

If a physiological need is not addressed in the question or noted in one of the options, then continue to use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory as a guide and
look for the option that addresses safety. If neither physiological nor safety needs are addressed, then look for the option that addresses the client’s psychosocial need.


Abraham Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs model in 1940-50s USA.

The Hierarchy of Needs theory has remained valid up to today for understanding human motivation, management training, and personal development.

Maslow’s ideas surrounding the Hierarchy of Needs concerning the responsibility of employers to provide a workplace environment that encourages and enables employees to fulfil their own unique potential (self-actualization) are today more relevant than ever. Abraham Maslow’s book Motivation and Personality, (Pub. 1954 2nd ed. 1970) introduced the Hierarchy of Needs, and Maslow expanded his theory in other work, notably his later book Toward A Psychology Of Being.

Abraham Maslow was born in New York in 1908 and died in 1970.

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