A translation guide for physician-speak

Image: Corbis Photography | Veer

Are you a new nurse? Do you find yourself bewildered by doctor-speak? Don’t panic! Auntie Agatha has your translation guide right here.

Physician: “This will feel like a pinch.”

Translation: “This will feel like I’m shooting you with a small-caliber handgun in slow motion.”

Physician: “The patient presents with an interesting medical history…”

Translation: ”Way too much to go into here; check out the previous doctor’s dictation.”

Physician: “….With certain factitious elements.”

Translation: “Munchausen.”

Physician: “The patient is an extremely pleasant middle-aged man.”

Translation: ”The patient talks a lot.”

Physician: “The patient has a good fund of general knowledge”

Translation: ”She reads more than I do.”

Physician: “Every four hours around the clock.”

Translation: ”This person won’t take pain medicine and needs to be encouraged to do so.”

Physician: “Emphasize proper follow-up care.”

Translation: ”This person came to see me four years ago and I haven’t seen her since.”

Physician: “There will be moderate discomfort.”

Translation: ”This procedure will hurt like blazes.”

Physician: “Patient states…”

Translation: ”I can’t possibly do justice to what he just said.”

Physician: “Walk TID with Nursing.”

Translation: ”Good luck getting her out of bed.”

Physician: “Nursing to provide education on…”

Translation: ”Good God, I’m pressed for time.”

Physician: “Proper diet and exercise regimen was encouraged.”

Translation: ”Please, Nursing, go over the ADA diet again. Thanks.”

Physician: “The patient prevents with sociopathic elephants and compliance of derriere spoonerisms.”

Translation: ”This was the transcriptionist’s first day on the job.”

This post originally appeared in The Head Nurse blog.

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Agatha Lellis

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 askauntieaggie@gmail.com.

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One Response to A translation guide for physician-speak

  1. Mary Jo Nagorsen

    On behalf of that poor innocent transcriptionist, I’ll bet she was typing precisely what she heard. And she probably had to look the physician up to see what his specialty and/or nationality was,desperately hoping to find a clue as to the muffled, fast-paced garbled,mumbo-jumbo she was wearing the foot pedal going forward and reverse trying to decipher what she heard. Been there. Done that.