Top 47 slang terms nurses use


13. The Whine Line

Definition: A term used among prison nurses referring to inmates who suddenly need to see medical because it’s raining and they don’t want to go to work. In the hospital they are the uninsured that show up in the ER at 0200 with sniffles, etc.

Usage: It’s cold and rainy out there. Gonna have a whine line this morning.

Contributed by reader, Linda

14. Malibu Barbie School of Medicine

Definition: Where the resident doctors who wear six inch heels, short skirts, and acrylic nail tips attended medical school.

Contributed by reader, Kelli Waller

15. lantern test

Definition: To shine a pen light in a patient’s mouth and see their eyes light up (i.e. they have no brain).

Usage: She thought Smucker’s could be used as contraceptive jelly. I think she’d fail the lantern test.

16. young invincibles

Definition: A term used by the healthcare industry along with the government to describe the growing population of uninsured twenty-somethings. This group is considered to be among the healthiest. There are many reasons why these young adults lack insurance: They’re no longer on their parents’ plan, they have jobs that don’t offer employer-based coverage, etc. Of the ones who do have insurance, many will decline either because of financial reasons or simply a feeling of being “invincible,” so it’s not a priority. This growing population of uninsured young adults is a concern of the United States Senate Committee on Finance and measures are being undertaken to address this problem.

Usage: Every year, more and more of our new employees are refusing our health insurance. These young invincibles will have to learn the hard way!

Synonyms: invincibles

17. Nintendo thumb

Definition: A video game-related health problem classified as a form of repetitive strain injury (RSI). The symptoms are the blistering, paraesthesia and swelling of the thumbs, mainly through use of the directional pad, though any finger can be affected. This can lead to stress on tendons, nerves and ligaments in the hands, and further onto lateral epicondylitis (“tennis elbow”), tendinitis, bursitis and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Usage: Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A. Ow! I think I have Nintendo thumb.

Synonyms: gamer’s grip, Nintenditis, PlayStation thumb

18. another one bites the dust

Definition: A 1980s funk-rock song by Queen with a tempo that approximates the proper interval between CPR chest compressions when hummed in your head.

Usage: Jane: Am I performing the chest compressions too quickly?” Tammy: “Ever heard the 1980s smash hit ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ by Queen? Just hum that tune, do your compressions in step with the song’s tempo and you’ll be fine.”

Synonyms: staying alive

19. professional patient

Definition: A person who feigns illnesses for various reasons. PPs often include malingerers filling a psychological need, drug runners seeking prescriptions or drugs to be sold later, and those with Munchausen syndrome.

Usage: Man, this guy’s definitely a professional patient. As soon as we offered morphine, he quickly said it made him sick and asked for Dilaudid.

20. pumpkin positive

Definition: The notion that a patient’s brain is so small that shining a penlight into her mouth will result in her empty head glowing like a Halloween pumpkin.

Usage: Well, I just had a patient admit to using Smucker’s as contraceptive jelly. Needless to say she’s pumpkin positive.

Synonyms: dumb, stupid, dolt, idiot, moron

21. Avatar blues

Definition: The depression experienced by a select few people after having viewed James Cameron’s 2009 box office hit movie Avatar. The movie depicts an idyllic world with a tight-knit tribe of aliens battling to save their planet from human invaders. Themes in the movie include analogs to modern-day problems like global warming, war and capitalism, threaded together with a love story. The movie’s most prevalent feature is its cinematic effects, particularly 3-D.

Viewers leaving the theaters have been said to reflect on their current life or how authentically it paralleled the destruction of our own earth, and a helpless feeling.

CNN was the first to report this phenomenon, and it is disputed whether this is a true clinical problem or glorified reporting.

Usage: Person 1: Jack’s not coming out with us tonight—what’s going on? Person 2: He fell victim to the Avatar blues. Same thing happened to him in 1977…but that could have just been his struggle with puberty.

22. Botox Raton

Definition: City in Florida that used to be called “Boca Raton,” but they changed the name for obvious reasons.

Usage: Halfway between Palm Beach and Miami, there’s Botox Raton.

23. fits

Definition: Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity.

Usage: We were watching The Biggest Loser on TV and she just started having fits.

24. fighting Darwin

Definition: A patient is fighting Darwin if he or she refuses essential treatment through stubbornness or stupidity.

Usage: She’s refusing all medical care because it’s the Sabbath. Boy, she’s really fighting Darwin.

25. chart dehiscence

Definition: When a patient’s chart is dropped and everything falls out.

Usage: Oh! Not again! Second chart dehiscence of the night!

Slang terms 25-47 include the infamous “questionable doctor” and “NPS…”


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