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Lesson 10 Med Terms

Common Abbreviations A through R

a (before) The patient's orders state, "Enema a pre-op." Explanation The abbreviation a is Latin for ante and means before.
aa (of each) The patient will takes two drops (gtts) aa medication at bedtime (hs). Explanation Standing for another word, the Latin ana, aa means of each.
abd abd (abdominal) The patient's abd is soft and nondistended. Explanation This is a short reference for the abdomen.
a.c. a.c. (before meals) The patient is to take the medication a.c. Explanation This is Latin for ante cibum and means before meals.
ADL (activity of daily living) The patient's ADL has decreased since her stroke. Explanation ADL tells what patients can or should do on a daily basis.
ad lib (as desired) The patient may be out of bed (OOB) ad lib. Explanation Ad lib denotes that the patient may have something as desired.
a.m. (morning) The patients are to be bathed in the a.m. Explanation This stands for the Latin ante meridiem and means before noon.
amt. (amount) The patient ate 30% of the amt. of his diet. Explanation Amount usually describes volume.
AROM (active range of motion) The doctor ordered AROM exercises for the patient. Explanation Active range of motion, AROM, usually refers to physical therapy or patient activity. It denotes normal full motion.
AX (axillary) The infant's temperature was 98.2 (AX). Explanation Axillary refers to temperature under the arm. In newborn infants, temperatures are usually recorded in this manner to not damage the rectum.
BID (two times a day) The doctor ordered the patient to sit up in the chair BID. Explanation BID is Latin for bis in die, or two times per day.
BM (bowel movement) The infant had BMs x7 for the previous 24 hours. (The x means times.) Explanation BM denotes the number of actual bowel movements the patient has. This is usually recorded for intake and output purposes.
BP (blood pressure) The patient's BP was 122/78. Explanation Blood pressure is measured by use of a cuff. The beginning beat systolic is the pressure by the heart when it contracts. The ending beat diastolic and is the pressure created by the heart at rest.
BRP (bathroom privileges) The recovering fractured hip patient was granted BRP. Explanation Patients may be placed on bed rest but allowed to get up out of bed to go to the bathroom.
C (Celsius) The liquid oxygen was stored at -30° (Celsius). Explanation C with a degree mark (°) next to the letter denotes the temperature in Celsius. To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit; multiply by 9, divide by 5, and add 32.
c(line over it) (with) The patient is to take the medication water. Explanation This symbol is commonly used in nurses' notes and doctors' progress notes. The small c with a line over the top denotes "with."
cal (calorie) The dietician recommended that the patient be placed on a 2400 cal ADA diet. Explanation Cal is utilized in the description of a particular diet: 2400 cal ADA diet.
cath (catheter) The doctor ordered a urinary cath for the patient with retention (who could not urinate). Explanation A catheter is a tubular instrument that allows passage of fluid from or into a body cavity.
CBR (complete bed rest) The patient with the myocardial infarction was placed on CBR. Explanation Patients are placed on complete bed rest when activity could cause complications. Such an order is common for patients following a heart attack.
cc (cubic centimeter) The patient was to receive 30cc's of the medication PO (by mouth). Explanation A cc is a unit of measure commonly used in the medical profession. It is exactly equal to a ml.
CHF (congestive heart failure) The doctor ordered lasix, a diuretic, for the patient with CHF. Explanation Congestive heart failure is a condition in which too much fluid presses against the lungs and the heart.
cm (centimeter) The infant's abdominal girth was 32 cms. A cm is a unit of measure that is commonly used in the medical profession. One inch equals 2.54 cms.
CN (charge nurse) The CN wanted a report on the patient's vital signs. Explanation A charge nurse is usually a registered nurse who is in charge during a hospital shift.
CNS (central nervous system) The concussion caused the patient to have CNS depression. Explanation The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord.
c/o (complains of) The patient c/o angina with exertion. (Chest pain with activity.) Explanation The abbreviation c/o means a patient's complaints.
DC (discontinue) The doctor ordered the patient's IV to be DC'd. Explanation Discontinue means to stop. As you can tell, the D stands for the prefix dis, and the C stands for continue.
DON (director of nurses) The DON was preparing the staff for a JACH visit. Explanation This is pronounced D - O - N, not don. It refers to the head of nursing in a facility. There is only one DON to a facility.
Dr. (doctor) The Dr. was in the OR and not available for consultations. Explanation Dr. is a shortened for doctor. Doctors were not always called doctors. In fact, a surgeon was usually the town barber because he was the one who had all the blades.
DX (diagnosis) The doctor was not prepared to offer a DX at this time. Explanation DX is shortened reference for diagnosis. A diagnosis is an educated guess as to what is wrong with a patient.
F (Fahrenheit) The boy had an oral temperature of 100 (F). Explanation Fahrenheit is the unit of measure for temperature used in the United States. To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, you must subtract 32, multiply by 5, and divide by 9.
fx (fracture) The boy fx'd his femur (the large bone located in the thigh). Explanation This is a shortened reference for fracture.
GI (gastrointestinal) The patient was admitted in GI distress (stomach hurt). Explanation GI refers to things concerning the gastrointestinal system.
gtt (drop) The patient was to take 3 gtts of medication in the left eye (O.S.). Explanation This abbreviation refers to the Latin word gutta, which means drop. It's used in connection with medication.
GU (genitourinary) The man with a swollen prostate was admitted for GU complications. Explanation GU is a shortened reference for genitourinary.
h (hour) The patient was to stay up in the chair for x3h. Explanation An h means hour.
H2O (water) The patient tolerated 100 cc's of H20 Explanation H2O is the chemical designation for water (hydrogen and oxygen).
HOB (head of bed) The doctor's order stated that the patient should be kept in reverse Trendelenberg position. Explanation HOB is an acronym for head of bed.
HOH (hard of hearing) The patient's chart indicated that he was HOH. Explanation HOH is an acronym for hard of hearing.
HS (hour of sleep) The patient was ordered 15mg of restoril (a sleeping pill) @ hs. Explanation HS is an acronym for hour of sleep. You'll usually find this on med sleep orders.(The symbol @ means "at.")
I/O (intake and output) The patient with CHF (congestive heart failure) was placed on I/O. Explanation Patients with certain conditions may require an accurate recording of the amount of fluid they take in and release over a given 24-hour period.
IV (intravenous) The patient's IV was infiltrated. Explanation IV refers to the placement of a catheter into a vein for the infusion of fluids, nutrients, or medications.
kg (kilogram) The patient weighed 110 kgs. Explanation One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds
L (liter) The patient had 2.4 L of fluid recorded on her I/O sheet. Explanation One liter equals 1,000 cc's or 33.8 ounces.
lb. (pound) The baby weighed 7 lbs., 6oz. (ounces) at birth. Explanation This abbreviation is a shortened reference for the Latin libra. Sixteen ounces = 1 pound. The plural is lb
LE/LLE/LUE (lower extremity; left lower extremity; left upper extremity) The patient was c/o LUE pain. Explanation These are acronyms for lower extremity, left lower extremity, and left upper extremity.
Lt. (left) The patient c/o Lt. side tenderness. Explanation Lt. is a shortened reference for left.
MI (myocardial infarction) The patient who suffered an MI was admitted to CCU. Explanation A myocardial infarction is a heart attack.
mm (millimeter) The wound was approximately 6 mm's in diameter. Explanation One mm equals .1 cm (centimeter), or we could say that ten mm's equal 1 cm. To convert mm's to inches, multiply by 10 and divide by 254.
noc (night) The patient was to receive a sedative @ noc. Explanation This abbreviation comes from the Latin nocte, meaning "at night," as in nocturnal (awake at night.)
NPO (nothing by mouth) The pre-op patient was NPO. Explanation NPO stands for nothing per oral. It's always used in reference to a patient.
N/V (nausea and vomiting) The patient was c/o N/V x2 days. Explanation N/V is a very logical abbreviation for nausea and vomiting.
O.D. (right eye) The patient was to receive 3 gtts O.D. Explanation O.D. stands for the Latin oculus dexter. You'll also see it as the abbreviation for overdose.
OOB (out of bed) The patient was allowed OOB following the surgery. Explanation OOB is an acronym for out of bed.
O.S. (left eye) The patient was to receive 3 gtts O.S. Explanation O.S. stands for the Latin oculus sinister. It was once thought that left-handed people were evil, so left was interpreted as sinister or evil.
O.U. (both eyes) The patient was to receive 3 gtts O.U. Explanation This is Latin for oculus uterque.
oz. (ounce) The baby weighed 6 lbs., 5 oz. Explanation Oz. is the abbreviation for ounce. 3 tsps. or 15 cc's = 1 tbsp. 1 tsp. = 5 cc's. 1 cup = 250 cc's 1 ounce = 30cc's. 1 cc = 1 ml.
p(line over it) (after) The patient was to have his dressings changed his a.m. care. Explanation This is an abbreviation for post or after.
P (pulse) The patient had a 78 P rate. Explanation P is an abbreviation for pulse. A pulse is recorded in beats per minute. A radial pulse -wrist, popliteal pulse-knee, an apical pulse on the chest, a carotid pulse neck, and a pedal pulse on the foot.
p.c. (after meals) The patient has Maalox 30cc's ordered p.c. Explanation The abbreviation p.c. stands for the Latin post cibum.
PO (by mouth) The patient tolerated 240 cc's PO. Explanation PO stands for the Latin per os, meaning "by mouth." (The measurement 240 cc's is the standard volume of a coffee cup.)
p.m. (evening) The patient did not want to take his bath until the p.m. Explanation The abbreviation p.m. stands for post meridiem (after noon).
prn (as needed) The sedative was ordered on a prn basis. Explanation This abbreviation is Latin for pro re nata, which literally means "for an occasion that has arisen"
PROM (passive range of motion) The arthritic patient was given PROM exercises. Explanation PROM usually refers to passive exercises that are stopped when resistance of any kind is met.
pt. patient) The pt. was ambulating ad lib. Explanation The abbreviation pt. refers quite logically to patient.
qd (every day) The patient's Procardia XL was ordered 15mg qd. Explanation The abbreviation qd is Latin for quaque die. This usually refers to medications. A qd medication time is usually 9 a.m.
qh (every hour) The CCU patient's BP was ordered qh. Explanation Qh is Latin for quaque hora. It usually refers to how often a procedure should be performed; in this case, every hour.
q2h (every two hours) The BP order was changed to q2h. Explanation This, like the single qh, usually refers to how often a procedure should be performed. In this case, it's every two hours.
qid (four times a day) The patient's Maalox order was changed to qid. Explanation The Latin phrase for qid is quater in die. This usually refers to how often both a procedure should be performed and medications should be given.
qod (every other day) The order was for physical therapy qod. Explanation The Latin phrase for qod is quaque outro die. This means that usually a procedure should be performed every other day.
QNS (quantity not sufficient) The amt. on urine output was QNS. Explanation The Latin phrase for QNS is quantum non sufficit.
QS (quantity sufficient) The patient's urine output was QS in regard to his I/O. Explanation Okay, after all these Latin phrases, I'll bet you know what this stands for. Here it is, though, just in case you got sleepy: quantum sufficit.
® (rectal) The patient had a 99.6° F ® temp. Explanation This is not a registered trademark but a reference to rectal concerning temperature.
R (respirations) The patient's vital signs showed that she had tachypnea (fast respiration rate) with a rate of 44 R. Explanation Respirations are counted in how many breaths are taken per minute.
RE/RUE/RLE (right extremity; right upper extremity; right lower extremity) The patient had poor circulation in his RLE. Explanation These would be referring to the right arm or leg, hand or foot.
ROM (range of motion) The patient was given ROM exercises following her a.m. care. Explanation ROM indicates exercises that promote normal range of motion.
Rx (prescription) The doctor ordered the patient's Rx and left it with the pharmacist. Explanation Rx actually stands for recipe of prescription.
Created by: selonimes