Terminology That Every New Nurse Should Know

1. Aphasia- Can’t talk
2. Asytole: No heart electrical activity, flat lined
3. Anuric: generally 4. Ataxia: Inability to control body movement, coordination, balance
5. Bilateral- Both sides
6. Bradycardia: Slow heart rate
7. Calculi: Kidney stone
8. Diminished lung sounds: Often in smokers. Lung sounds are often harder to hear due to diminished air flow. There are also other causes for this that are acute in nature.
9. DKA: Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition that can lead to death. These patients often have polyuria, confusion, fruity breath, disorientation, hyperkalemia, and elevated anion gap (among other abnormal labs: See other common abnormal labs with DKA . Diabetics who go into metabolic acidosis many times from uncontrolled glucose. The usually will be placed on an insulin drip and aggressive hydration
10. DNR: Do Not Resuscitate. Usually outlined in an advanced directive. This does not mean do not care for this patient. They should not die from neglect. It is generally if they are dying from natural causes that no CPR and no other life extending procedures be performed
11. DVT: Deep vein thrombosis, generally in legs. Could potentially travel to lungs
12. Dysphagia: Difficulties eating
13. Dysphasia: Difficulties with speech
14. Edema: Swelling
15. Erythema: Red
16. Expiration time: Time of death
17. Fistula: Vascular access for dialysis for end stage renal disease patients
18. Hyperglycemia: High glucose
19. Hyperkalemia: High potassium
20. Hypernatremia: High sodium
21. Hypomagnesemia: Low magnesium
22. Hyponatremia: Low sodium
23. Hypocalcemia: Low calcium
24. Hypoglycemia: High glucose
25. Hypokalemia: Low potassium
26. Macule: Flat lesion, no raised edges.
27. Oliguric: Generally urine output < 500 cc a day
28. Organomegaly: Enlarged organ to palpation
29. Pruritis: Itching
30. Rhonchi: Snoring quality to lung sounds. May hear in pneumonia, bronchitis
31. Sun Downers: Often happens with Alzheimer’s patient. As the name implies, The may begin to become agitated, disoriented, forgetful, combative when sunsets (early evening)
32. Symmetrical: Both sides are equal, the same
33. Tachycardia: Fast heart rate >100 beat per minute
34. Tachypnea: Fast respirations > 20
35. Orthopnea: Shortness of air upon laying down
36. Polyuria: Urinating >2500 ml a day (peeing a lot, often linked to diabetes)
37. Polydipsia: Excessive drinking fluids, excessive thirst (often linked to diabetes)
38. Polyphagia: Excessive eating (often linked to diabetes)
39. Nocturia: Excessive need to urination during nightitme
40. Melena: Black tarry stools, may represent a GI bleed

There many more medical terms but these are some to get you started. We will continue to post more for your reference and studying!


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