7 nursing slang terms I really wish would catch on
We all know “GOMER” and “circling the drain.” What we need, as a profession, is a plethora of new slang terms to replace some of the old, tired ones. Here, then, are my contributions.
Vulture Precautions: When that little old DNR patient is circling the drain, you put ’em on vulture precautions.
The Great Boston Molasses Tragedy: Back in 1919, a burst tank at a molasses factory in Boston led to a flood of sugary syrup that killed 21 people and devastated entire neighborhoods. It’s about time we reclaimed that phrase to describe the outcome of several enemas and a dose of Dulcolax.
Therapeutic CT (or X-Ray or EKG): When a patient has a neurological change or complains of chest pain, and the trouble resolves as soon as you scan them, they’ve had a therapeutic CT or therapeutic EKG.
The Titanic: A patient who’s going down, going down hard and going down irreversibly, but not without a certain amount of style.
A Full House: Slightly different from a “trainwreck,” this is a patient with multiple comorbidities, all semi-managed, and four pages of medications that they take on a regular basis. They may not be as sick as a trainwreck, but there’s a whole lot going on.
Barbie: Any female patient who applies a full face of makeup first thing every morning. Bonus Barbie points if she refuses an assessment until her makeup is finished.
RoboCop: A patient in the ICU who has more than two machines attached. An example would be the intubated, sedated patient with a ventricular assist device, continuous dialysis, warming blankets and a continuous passive motion machine.
What would you add to the list?!
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Agatha Lellis