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Last updated: March 23, 2021

Common Medical Terminology in the Hospital

Common Medical Terminology in the Hospital

Learning medical terminology is like a completely different language. Healthcare professionals speak to one another fluently, without even realizing how difficult it may be for patients, students, or other hospital employees to understand. These flashcards will get you started.

CC Chief complaint            
BMI Body Mass Index, a measure based on height and weight            
BP
SBP
DBP
Blood Pressure
Systolic Blood Pressure - BP in arteries when the heart beats (contracts)
Diastolic Blood Pressure - BP in arteries when the heart rests in between beats
           
Hypertension
Stage 1
Stage 2
Elevated blood pressure (BP) is divided into stages, depending on how high.
SBP from 130-139 or a DBP from 80-89 mmHg
SBP of 140 or higher or DBP of 90 mmHG or higher
           
CPR Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: life-saving technique            
DNR-CC Do Not Resuscitate- Comfort Care is a protocol where no resuscitative actions to maintain life are performed by the healthcare team. These actions include clearing the airway, giving oxygen, improving patient position, treat bleeding.            
DNR-CC Arrest Do not resuscitate- Comfort Care Arrest occurs when a patient experiences either cardiac or respiratory arrest. Patients will only receive comfort care.            
ED
ER
Emergency Department
Emergency Room
           
HR
BPM
Heart rate
Beats per minute
           
High fowler’s position
Semi fowler’s position
The Head of the bed is elevated between 60 and 90-degree angles.
Head of the bed elevated between 15 and 45-degree angle.
Fowler and Semi-fowler
           
Supine
Prone
Laying flat on the back
Supine and Prone
Laying on stomach
           
Chronic Persistent, recurrent condition            
Acute Persistent, recurrent condition. A condition that begins abruptly but with a short duration and may be severe.            
IV Intravenous- inside of the vein. IV medication administration yields quick-acting effects and is given through an IV catheter.            
MI Myocardial infarction, known as a “heart attack”            
Dyspnea or SOB Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath            
Stat Immediately            
Rx Prescription            
PT Physical Therapy            
OR Operation Room            
NICU Neonatal Intensive Care Unit            
MVA Motor vehicle accident            
A&Ox 3 or 4
AA&OX3 or 4
Alert and oriented to person, place, and time (3) or person, place, time, and circumstance (4)
Awake, alert, & oriented
           
WNL Within normal limits.            
SBAR Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation. Used as a communication tool among healthcare professionals.            
Void Passing urine            
I&O Input & Output            
Fracture The breaking of a bone or cartilage            
CBC
WBC
RBC
HGB
HCT
Complete Blood Count- a laboratory blood test for white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin, and hematocrit.
White blood cells
Red blood cells
Hemoglobin
Hematocrit
           
CMP Complete Metabolic Panel- a laboratory blood test of 14 different substances that describes date regarding chemical balances and metabolism.            
UA and C&S Urinalysis, culture & sensitivity. A urine dip to evaluate for blood, pH, and other cells. If infection is found, it is sent to be cultured and the bacteria that is grown is tested with antibiotics to evaluate which type it is sensitive to.            
BSX4 quads Bowel sounds in all four quadrants (active, hypoactive, hyperactive, absent)            
RUQ, LUQ, LLQ, RLQ Right upper quadrant, Left upper quadrant, left lower quadrant, right lower quadrant.            
IS Incentive spirometer            
Ambulate Walk from place to place            
ROM Range of Motion is the measurement of movement of a joint            
Outpatient Care out of the hospital            
Inpatient Care in the hospital            
Metastasize Spread from the point of origin to elsewhere in the body. Often used to describe cancer.            
Malignant Presence of cancerous cells            
Benign Not cancerous            

Written by on Dec 15, 2020

Caitlin Goodwin MSN, CNM is a board-certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurse with more than 12 years of experience as a nurse. She currently works as a Certified Nurse-Midwife for the Cleveland Clinic.

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