Top 47 slang terms nurses use


Shutterstock | Tyler OlsonShutterstock | Tyler Olson

If you’ve ever treated a “frequent flyer” patient with a case of “Nintendo thumb” or “Avatar blues,” you may be familiar with this list of 47 humorous nursing lingo terms.

Courtesy of our Scrubs magazine readers and, we present the newly-updated slang terms nurses use. Scroll to the bottom to submit your favorites!


Definition: Pain in the as$

Usage: The patient’s whiny girlfriend is such a PITA!

Contributed by Scrubs readers Lisa, Amy Wortley, Jeanne Vacca and Mikki Loive


Definition: Broke all to sh*t.

Usage: That poor kid has a BATS fracture from falling out of a tree.

Contributed by Scrubs reader Becca


Definition: “Fluff my pillow” syndrome. A demanding patient that acts sicker than they really are.

Usage: Watch out for room 304; she’s got a real case of FMPS.

Contributed by Scrubs reader Sharon

4. CAH

Definition: Crazy as hell.

Usage: The patient is sweet, but I’m diagnosing his mother with CAH.

Contributed by Scrubs reader Vernika

5. FTF

Definition: Failure to fly. Usually used in cases of head bumps, but can be used to describe various traumas.

Usage: She broke her leg jumping off the roof–I’m diagnosing it as a FTF.

Contributed by Scrubs reader NurseDaisy

6. Rotater

Definition: A patient so complex or high maintenance that they have to be rotated to a different nurse each day to prevent staff burnout.

Usage: She uses the call button so often that she’s going to be a rotater!

Contributed by Scrubs reader Rebecca

7. Dr. Too Long

Definition: A nurse’s message for a physician who is tied up with a very long-winded patient and can’t escape.

Usage: Excuse me, Doctor? Dr. Too Long needs to speak with you immediately!

Contributed by Scrubs reader Jan D

8. Jack in the Box

Definition: A patient who can’t stand or walk yet insists on trying.

Contributed by Facebook fan, Susan Broadway


Definition: An acronym used in the ER which stands for ‘Fall Down Go Boom.’

Contributed by Facebook fan, Tiffany Pizzimenti

10. F/U

Definition: A shortened version of ‘Follow Up.’

Fun (and cautionary) fact: The contributor of this term actually got in trouble by the state surveyor for using it in his charting!

Contributed by Facebook fan, John Allen Hough

11. Crispies

Definition: A patient who is a tanning booth victim.

Contributed by Facebook fan, Ruth Metzger

12. Trainwreck

Definition: A patient with multiple health problems and multiple diagnoses that has no business on a med-surg floor but doesn’t “qualify” for ICU until they code in the middle of the night.

Contributed by reader, Tabatha

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