Pair of glasses placed on top of books with blue background.

Nursing Terminology Cheat Sheet

October 21, 2021

Whether you are just getting started in your nursing career, or you are an experienced veteran, it is never a bad idea to brush up on standardized nursing terminology. The technical jargon and abbreviations involved with nursing medical terminology can be a bit overwhelming at times, so Advantis Medical has put together a nursing terminology cheat sheet for common terms.  

Nursing Terminology List

Blood Pressure (BP): Blood pressure is the measurement of the amount of force placed on the artery walls with each heartbeat

Charge Nurse: A supervisory role, responsible for overseeing other nurses in a particular environment

Chart: The documentation associated with a particular patient, including medical history, test results, medications, and other relevant information

Charting: The process of updating a patient’s chart

Clinicals: The period of time during medical education where nurses work with patients in a supervised setting

Code Blue: A medical emergency, typically cardiac arrest

Heart Rate: The number of a patients’ heartbeats per minute

NCLEX: The standard nursing exam that all nurses must pass in order to become an LPN or RN

Pain Scale: A scale of 1 to 10 that patients can use to identify their level of pain

Respiratory Rate: The number of breaths per minute

Specimen: Another name for a sample of tissue from a patient

Vital Signs: Indicators of a patients’ health, including heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, pain level, and blood pressure

Common Nursing Acronyms

ABC: Airway, breathing, circulation, which is the order that nurses assess a patient who is unresponsive

CAB: Chest compressions, Airway, and Breathing, which is the proper order for administering CPR

CBR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an emergency procedure used when a patient has stopped breathing

DNR: Do not resuscitate, identifying patients who do not wish to be revived

EHR: Electronic health records are digital medical records that are updated with each new visit

ICU: Intensive care unit

IV: Intravenous

L&D: Labor and delivery

NICU: Neonatal intensive care unit, the ICU for newborns

OTC: Over the counter, a medication that can be purchased without a prescription

PPE: Personal protective equipment, like gloves and masks

RX: Prescription

SOP: Standard operating procedure

WNL: Within normal limit, meaning that test results or other activity are considered typical

Nursing Tools

Catheter: Any hollow, flexible tube used for a medical procedure

Pulse Oximeter: A device used to measure the amount of oxygen present in a patients’ blood

Sharps Container: A hard plastic container used to dispose of biomedical waste, such as needles, scalpel blades, or catheters

Stethoscope: A device that allows the nurse to listen to a patient’s pulse

Tourniquet: A device used to create pressure, like a band or a strap, in order to control bleeding after an injury or surgery  

Remembering common terminology in nursing can be difficult under stressful circumstances, but studying the terms is a great way to have them fresh in your memory. Advantis Medical is committed to connecting quality candidates to respected and esteemed top healthcare facilities and is here to help you every step of the way.  

Nursing terminology memorization tips in a speech bubble.
Share this post: