Nurse jargon feels like alphabet soup

I rather like the ‘You know you’re a nurse’ blog posts. It definitely pokes humor at the unique nature of our profession. While Acronyms sure aren’t exclusive to the nursing profession, we sure do see our fair share of them! Heck, I’d dare say we see too much of them!

This is one of those situations where you really cannot understand or appreciate the humor unless you happen to be a nurse or a health care professional. The following paragraph is something that we might actually write, read or say nonchalantly during a typical day on the job. You know you’re a nurse when you can understand this jargon:

44 YR male. History COPD, CHF, HTN, CAD, AFIB. Previous surgeries of CABG X4, R TKR, L THR. Also history of MRSA, VRE. Pt c/o of CP, SOB. JVD also present. Admit from ED for possible PE vs MI. Have not R/O PE or DVT. Labs: Trop, CBC, BMP BNP pending. Scheduled for CT, MRI probable. Cardiology consulted for possible TTE after EKG with numerous PVCs, PACs. No VTACH, but widening QRS and questionable prolonged QT. No U wave noted.

Pt became confused in ED. SPO2 89%declined fast. No history of CVA. Desaturated. Pt intubated. ETT placed. Vent setting AC 12, TV 450, FIO2 50%, PEEP 5. SPO2 95%. EEG will be ordered per PCP’s CRNP. Covering MD also notified. On call PA-C present.

If CVA confirmed, possible EVD placement.

I &O recorded. No BM.

OK. OK. Now my lil paragraph there doesn’t make a great deal of sense for those of us who understand the jargon (take it with a grain of salt please), but you get the idea. I spit out that ‘mock’ scenario in 5 minutes using all those acronyms from memory. If I sat here long enough I could keep adding more. The list is really endless.

Just imagine how the layperson feels whenever we talk to colleagues or fellow health care professionals in our native tongue.

Take this quiz on healthcare acronyms then share your favorites in the comments!

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13 Responses to Nurse jargon feels like alphabet soup

  1. king

    hahaha, i couldnt agree more 😀

  2. Sean Dent

    @king Glad you liked it!

  3. Fyrefli

    My husband hates it when I leave him notes; He says he can’t read half of it. I’m so used to writing it, it just comes out!

  4. Tricia

    Love, love, love it, and as a nursing student, was really impressed that I knew 90% of it. And was forming poc for patient w/interventions and rationales, and here I was thinking I wasnt learning anything. Lol

  5. Tricia

    Scary with a sense of pride!!!

  6. august

    am i the only one that thinks texting would be easier if we had a keypad with medical abreviations? i constantly find myself texting friends using abreviations such as “noc, Rx, /c, /s” they never understand

  7. Amy

    Only recognized about 25% of these abbreviations… Still, I don’t think that’s too bad for a rising senior in high school :)

  8. karen wall

    You know you’re a nurse when:
    Someone mentions bodily functions at the dinner table and I keep eating without missing a beat.

    • Sean Dent

      @Karen Yep, most definitely. We here at Scrubs have mentioned that great fact many times. LOL