Top 47 slang terms nurses use

26. pack-years

Definition: A crude indicator of a person’s cumulative cigarette consumption, equal to the number of packs of cigarettes smoked/day multiplied by years of consumption.

Usage: We should really measure his consumption in pack-years. It’s probably close to 150.

27. jimmy leg

Definition: An uncontrollable shake or tremor of the leg.

Usage: I couldn’t fall asleep next to her, dude she’s got the jimmy legs.

Synonyms: jimmy legs, the shakes

28. baci

Definition: Bacitracin. An antibiotic used in wound irrigation operatively. Pronounced bass-e (bass like the fish).

Usage: Tech to relief tech: “This has baci in it.”

Synonyms: bacitracin

29. Band-Aid hospital

Definition: A popular term for a healthcare facility that provides for minimal care of significance.

Usage: I was hoping to get a job at a Level I trauma center, not at a Band-Aid hospital. I guess you don’t always get what you want. I learned that from the Rolling Stones.

30. noctor

Definition: The nurse who just came off of a six-week training course and acts as though she is a doctor.

Usage: What’s with the new noctor on the floor? Can you believe she had to gall to demand the patient with the Swan?

31. pharm party

Definition: Where kids get together to share drugs pilfered from their parents’ pill bottles. Painkillers such as Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin and other similar drugs are preferred for their “feel good” and numbing effect. Alcohol is routinely combined while taking the drugs.

There have been reports of kids openly sharing the pills in one communal bowl with no identifying information about the drug; sometimes the drugs are presented mixed together in a bag they call “trail mix.”

Some experts argue there is a lack of substantive data to label this as a phenomenon or a growing problem, and is more likely something sensationalized by media, law enforcement and educators.

Usage: Person 1: What do you guys want to do tonight? Person 2: Pharm party at Andy’s. I’m trying to get some of my brother’s OxyContin.

Synonyms: pharma party, pharming party, pill party

Created by hollywood, Mar 16, 2010

32. pothole sign

Definition: A clinical sign of acute appendicitis, referring to the severe pain evoked by every bump (or pothole) in the road felt on the drive to the hospital.

Usage: Yeah, he was positive for the pothole sign—said the ride in was brutal.

33. negative wallet biopsy

Definition: When a patient is transferred to a cheaper, less intensive hospital after discovering he has no health insurance.

Usage: Yeah, the negative wallet biopsy meant he was going to King-Harbor. Welcome to healthcare in America.

34. black vomit

Definition: Vomit from old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever.

Usage: I saw the black vomit and I knew she was in trouble.

Synonyms: xekik

35. silent killer

Definition: A slang term for a condition that can progress to very advanced stages before manifesting itself clinically.

Usage: They say that obesity is the silent killer, but I’d say that it’s really all the heroin that he’s been doing for the past 10 years.

36. fluid overload

Definition: Hypervolemia. It’s the medical condition where there is too much fluid in the blood. This fluid, primarily salt and water, builds up in various locations in the body and leads to an increase in weight, swelling in the legs and arms (peripheral edema), and/or fluid in the abdomen (ascites). Eventually, the fluid enters the air spaces in the lungs, reduces the amount of oxygen that can enter the blood and causes shortness of breath (dyspnea). Fluid can also collect in the lungs when lying down at night, possibly making nighttime breathing and sleeping difficult (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea).

Usage: I’m a little worried that we may run the risk of fluid overload if we perform the surgery.

Synonyms: hypervolemia

37. medical futility

Definition: Either a judgment that further medical treatment of a patient would have no useful result or a medical treatment whose success is possible although reasoning and experience suggest that it’s highly improbable.

Usage: What do I think? Medical futility.

38. the patient is high risk

Definition: The patient has HIV, Aids, or Hepatitis, so be aware.

Usage: Be sure to wear eye protection, the patient is high risk.

Created by hollywood on, Apr 06, 2010

39. questionable doctor

Definition: A physician who has been sanctioned for serious state and federal offenses and placed on a list by the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

Usage: Umm, he’s a questionable doctor. He’s been sanctioned for handing out painkillers like Tic Tacs.

Synonyms: impaired physician

40. NPS

Definition: New parent syndrome. A propensity to bring your child to the hospital for every trivial thing. Used in charting.

Usage: Baby had hiccups, sent home. NPS.

Synonyms: parenthood

41. frequent flyer

Definition: One who visits healthcare providers, emergency departments, etc. for every little health problem, often drug seeking or wanting work excuses.

— contributed by reader, Kelly

42. boyfriend

Definition: The cute little old men who are a joy to take care of.

— contributed by reader, Grace


Definition: An acronym used in the ER which stands for ‘Big ‘Ol Needle in the A$$.’

Usage: I’m about to give this patient a bonita.

— contributed by Facebook fan, Tiffany Pizzimenti

44. DFO

Defintion: Acronym for ‘Done Fell Out.’

— contributed by Facebook fan, Nanci Leigh Nix

45. MD

Definition: Acronym for Makes Decisions.

Usage: Do you see MD after my name? That means Makes Decisions.

— contributed by Facebook fan, Maranda Thompson

46. RN

Definition: Acronym for Refuses/Resists Nonsense.

Usage: Do you see RN after my name? It stands for Resists/Refuses Nonsense!

— contributed by Facebook fan, Maranda Thompson

47. TMB

Definition: Acronym for ‘Too Many Birthdays.’

— contributed by Facebook fan, Amanda Belcher Klumpp

More humorous slang terms can be found at

Thank you to all the nurses who have contributed to this article! What are the slang terms you hear in your specialty? Share them below.

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242 Responses to Top 47 slang terms nurses use

  1. Jennifer W

    “circling the drain”

  2. I’ve also heard about the 3 o’clock break — when the kid comes home, has a snack, climbs a tree, falls out of the tree and breaks his/her arm. And the Sunday Bagel, where the person decides to slice the bagel while holding it and slices their palm as an extra morning treat.

    Loved this article. Thanks!


  3. Kelly

    “frequent flyer”–one who visits healthcare providers, emergency departments, etc. for every little health problem, often drug seeking or wanting work excuses

    • ladyrn59

      This also refers to the little old ladies (usually), who show up like clockwork every 3-4 weeks for a few days R&R, usually knowing exactly what to say to be admitted, like “I’m having a little chest pain and dizziness”. They come with their fancy nighties, know just how long they’ll stay, and ask for food, the call light, the remote, and the phone before their admission is started on the floor.

  4. Grace

    Boyfriend- the cute little old men who are a joy to take care of

  5. Tabatha

    trainwreck- pt with multiple heath problems and multiple diagnosises that has no buisness on a med-surg floor but doesn’t “qualify” for ICU….. that is until they code in the middle of the night. It’s my favorite word/label, we’re usually pretty close to right when we label them too…… darn doctors….

  6. Linda

    We have the “whine line”. In prison it’s the inmates suddenly needing to see medical because it’s raining and they don’t want to have to go to work. In the hospital it’s the uninsured that show up in the ER at 0200 with sniffles, etc.

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

  7. AFN was once a popular term used on the Emergency Department whiteboard to protect the privacy of psychiatric patients at a facility I worked at, until the patients realized what it stood for.=D


    I heard a psych nurse use a new one the other day–drunkacidal. They come to the ER drunk with suicidal ideation, but as they sober up they deny any suicidal/homicidal thoughts or attempts.

  9. FUBAR – we used to refer to critically critical trauma victims as FUBAR to indicate the hopelessness of the case but we were trying anyway.

    MALIBU BARBIE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE- where the resident doctors who wore 6 inch heels, short skirts, and acrylic nail tips attended medical school (the higher the heel, the more help they needed making decisions about what tests to order for the patient… yipes… I know, it sounds kind of sexist, but it was a real term…)

  10. Lisa

    PITA-Pain In The Ass (can be patient or family)

    “Patient is great but the family is a real PITA”

  11. NONE of the terms submited are accually ‘slang terms for nurses’. none of the terms mean “nurses”. They are more of ‘slang terms and abreviations that nurses use’ and or ‘slang terms and abreviations that are used by nurses’.
    I was realy looking forward to reading some diferant terms and workds and can be used in place of the word “nurse”.
    This needs to be fixed ASAP or much sooner, please. ok????

    • Miriam Bookey

      Hi…we agree, and have changed the title to slang terms “nurses use.”

      All best,
      Scrubs Mag


      NONE of the terms submited are accually ‘slang terms for nurses’. none of the terms mean “nurses”. They are more of ‘slang terms and abreviations that nurses use’ and or ‘slang terms and abreviations that are used by nurses’.
      I was realy looking forward to reading some diferant terms and workds and can be used in place of the word “nurse”.
      This needs to be fixed ASAP or much sooner, please. ok????

      Really?? quit nit-picking an article, might I suggest taking a spelling class?? Ah, better yet spell check. Get a freggin life.. and yes, take your own advice “This needs to be fixed ASAP or much sooner, please. ok????”

  12. Sharon

    Here are a few slangs that are used in the ER where I work…
    CCFCP-Coo Coo For Cocoa Puffs (as in that pt is crazy, wierd, eccentric, etc).
    WADAO-Weak and DizzyAll Over (pronounced wahdayo)
    FMPS-Fluff my Pillow syndrome (used for a pt that is super demanding and acts sicker than they really are)
    Chandelier Sign- (when a pt hits the roof with palpation of a specific area) That pt exhibited a positive chandelier sign when I palpated her abdomen.


    Code brown – when an incontinent patient has a mishap. Most of the time a c-diff pt.

    We have a code brown in room 180.

  14. IrishNurse

    LOL,FOF – Little old lady found on floor.
    LOL,DFO- Little old lady, done fell out.
    Acute FOS syndrome – Acute full of sh%t syndrome.
    Vitamin X- Xanax (see above disorder)
    Chronic Alphabetitis – A patient who has Hep B, Hep C, HIV and most likely an STD. AKA – Double glove!

  15. Vernika

    CAH- Crazy As He77
    (family or patient)

    The patient is sweet, but Im diagnosing her mother with CAH

  16. C.B.

    FLK- funny looking kid.

    Man that’s a FLK but he’s kinda cute

  17. NurseDaisy

    AJU= All Jacked Up (multiple issues)

    FTF= Failure to Fly (usually head-bonks, but can be used throughout traumas)

    FLK with GLM/GLD= Funny Lookin’ Kid with Good lookin’ Mom/Dad…probably a syndrome
    -likewise–FLK with FLM/FLK= Funny Lookin’ Kid with Funny Lookin’ Mom/Dad…probably just genetics

    Capital A circled…can mean either ‘anxious’ or ‘a**hole’, depending on the situation…one step above PITA.

    I’m sure I’ll think of more later….

    • anna34r8

      I need to use circled A. Love that. Anxious and an a**. Common where i work

  18. The “Q” sign–Dead. (Picture a round cartoon face with the X-ed eyes and the tongue hanging out )

  19. Repeat Offender–same as Frequent Flyer

  20. Barbara

    the “O” sign, not quite dead yet. Will soon become the “Q” sign

  21. Caleb

    GOMER- get out of my ER.

    F&N- Freakin nuts, usally a different first word.

  22. katy

    I prefer “tanorexic” for those with too much tanning booth usage :)

  23. Terri

    FTD-Fixing to Die

  24. Amanda

    “Celestial Discharge”-patient has passed.
    bad but cute!
    CTD-Circlin’ the drain. (Getting ready to die)
    BSC- Bat s**t crazy

    • anna34r8

      Hang on ive got Bsc after my name. At graduation they said it meant batchlor of science. Mind you after a 12 hour shift..

  25. becca

    B.A.T.S. fracture
    broke all to sh*t

  26. Stacey James

    DND: damn near dead

    In the Med/Surg ICU I work in alot of our patients are DND when they hit the doors.

  27. CMH

    Drunk Tank – the hallway beds in the ER where we keep our frequent flyer, homeless, ETOH abusers that have soiled their clothing with emesis, urine, stool or all of the above.

  28. CCURN

    Vitamin H–Haldol

  29. nursetmm

    code brown- major BM either all over the bed or floor

  30. nursetmm

    coo coo for coco puffs- crazy patient who needs a psych consult big time

    alphabet soup- patient with extensive history that consists of acronyms: HTN, CABG, CAD, PVD, PAD, MI, DM…

  31. JOyce

    DRT – Dead Right There
    DQ – Drama Queen

  32. Texasnurse

    TOBP- I get this alot working in OB. repeat visits requesting to have their baby now

    Tired Of Being Pregnant

  33. Diana

    How about Code Brown= poopy pants or FOS=full of shit–literally needing some MOM stat!! LOL

  34. lorrie

    HAM: Cocktail of Haldol, Atvan and Morphine used for end of life patients who are in pain and very restless.

    usage: Room 212 has been hammed up this evening.

    Toe Juice: Clortrimazole liquid used on toenails to keep fungus at bay.

    Usage: Room 200 has had his toe juice put on this morning.

  35. B. Reed

    TSTL-Too Stupid to Live.

    All that patient needs is a little pillow therapy-smothering with a pillow

  36. acey

    Vitamin A shot – ativan shot for agitation.

  37. KK

    TOP – Tired of Pregnancy

    DAR – Dumb as Rocks (or it’s sister: RAS – Rocks Are Smarter)

    Gorked – new baby that comes out blue, stunned, and not breathing

    Princess – pt who wants (and expects) to be waited on hand and foot and likes everything on a silver platter

    OTD – out the door – also known as: about to be discharged

    • cirql8

      GORKED- God only really knows. As in no one can figure out what all is wrong.

  38. Meg

    TSTL= Too stupid to live.
    Samsonite Syndrome-patient arrives in ER(usually by ambulance) with fully packed suitcase expecting admission

  39. Nichoel

    walkie talkie- Nursing home patients that can walk and talk. Enfamil- new nurses. Psych Cocktail- benadryl, haldol, and ativan shot.

  40. Mickey

    little-old-lady(man) itis – elderly person with multiple minor complaints or requests to keep you at their bedside

    LT- loony toons

    balance challenged- someone fell

    fobs- fell off bar stool

    ICI (icky)- intelligence challenged idiot- did something incredibly stupid to get hurt (lighting bottle rockets placed in their rectum, for instance- wish that was a lie! LOL)

    4H- Homeless, Helpless, Hapless, Halitosis!

  41. Amy Wortley

    PITA – the patient or family member that is a Pain In The Ass.

  42. Valerie Bailey

    FOS-constipated patient.

  43. ali

    coffee grounds:
    the appearance of vomit following bleeding in the upper GI tract.

  44. CWMC- child well, mother crazy

    Floppin Fish- combative drunk

    Dying Swan- needs to make sure everyone who can hear knows how deathly ill (they think) they are.

    • Cdywilcox

      We use DDS for this one. Means Dying Duck Syndrome.

  45. brenda

    all to cute and real.

  46. Mikki Loive

    PIta =Pain in the ___

  47. rebecca

    HM- high maintainence
    DHM- Double High Maintainence
    As you explain to the new grad nurse ” This is oncology all the patiets are HM but the lady in 510 is DHM.”
    Or to fellow nurse ” I have a DHM in 510, she’s all yours tomorrow.

    A patient so complex or DHM that they have to be rotated each day to a different nurse to prevent burnout of the staff.

  48. Jean

    LOL in NAD. Little old lady in no apparent distress. You don’t hear that one much any more…

  49. Jan D

    “Dr Too Long” needs to speak with you……. nurse message for the physician who is tied up with a very very long winded pt and cannot escape.

  50. jas

    And my newest term: dilaudid deficiency. This one is self explanatory?

  51. Sophia Wormwood

    Bergler…Pt has asberger symptoms…
    Used in a sentence: I know that kid has autism but his father has bergler written all over him…

  52. jennie

    Rearranging deck chairs on the titanic
    aka medical futility or treating toenail fungus of a 99 yo pt w/ MODS, ARDS, etc.

  53. JAC RN

    When a laboring pt. is headed for a c-section we call it “circling the runway”, or their headed for “Vaginal Bypass Surgery” or VBS. When a pt. shows up with questionable ruptured membranes and their pants are soaked we call it “positive pants sign”. Just some OB humor. We also use FLK, as mentioned by someone else, to categorize some new babies that are “Funny Looking Kids”. (mean I know- everyone thinks their kids the cutest.)

    • Michelle RN

      Positive Wheelchair Sign (PWS) when a pt arrives in OB and can’t sit straight in the wheelchair….time to RUN to the labor room because she’s FTHAB or “Fixin’ to have a baby”

      • Michelle RN

        TFTF meaning “Too Fat to Fit” a term we use in our OB department to describe a baby that is macrosomic and fails to descend. Means that mom is “headed for a zipper” AKA c/section!

        synonym = CPD (cephalopelvic disproportion)

      • labordayrn

        We call that a “stop and drop”.

  54. Russ

    finger painting: when a pt. with dementia discovers what’s in their diaper and plays with it for awhile until they’re discovered by an unsuspecting aide or nurse.

  55. Dianna

    Scooby Doo for stool collection.
    DNR (Do not return) Agency nurses that you don’t want back in your unit/hospital.

  56. Carrie

    Bush Gardens: The designated gyno rooms in the ER. Also known as the Fish Market.

    Whack-a-do: Term for a crazy patient who is not being seen for psych issues.

    FOS: Full of Sh*t/Stool

  57. Kathie Daley

    Positive or negative tooth to tattoo sign=patient or family member who actually still has more teeth in their mouth than tattoos on their body.

    Ex. the patient isn’t too bad but most of her family has negative tooth to tattoo sign.

  58. Kathie Daley

    re: tooth to tattoo sign….in the area where I live people with negaitve tooth to tattoo signs act ignorant,abrasive and entitled.

  59. Sherry

    POF order. (Pillow over face)

    That patient’s out in left field without a glove!

  60. We use the official ICD9 code for ‘anal pain’ 569.32

  61. Jennifer Williamson

    “Special” or “Precious”
    The patient of family member that thinks they are the only patient that you have.

  62. Mary Burkitt

    car fax report–used by our ED docs to request a pt’s narcotic list-as in where have they been and how many Lortabs did they get filled so we don’t have to supply them with any today. Oh and of course it is never the correct info cause “that ain’t me on that report!”

  63. Elizabeth Irvin

    TBF…total body failure

  64. Natalie

    Chest compressions to the song “Stayin Alive” by the BeeGees.

    • DeAnne

      Also the same beat to “another one bites the dust”

      • nurselizzie

        Nellie the elephant will also work ….. Well if your quick!

  65. Druann

    How did “Citizen” not make the list?

  66. Druan

    Some of my patient’s need TLC. Thorazine, Lorazepam and Compazine!

  67. Barbara

    “5&2″… Code for “Haldol and Ativan IM”

    • Meike

      We call it a B52 –> Benadryl 50, Haldol 5, and Ativan 2.

  68. Barbara

    “road test” ambulate the patient before we discharge them home.

  69. Jeanne Vacca

    how about PITA-short for Pain in the ass?My head nurse almost wrote this next to a patient’s name!Fortunately i was there to stop her and tell her what it meant!

  70. Desertrn

    “Spoda” We use this term casually in the ER, as in:
    Pt was seen here yesterday, returned today cuz they were “spoda” get the Rx filled, but did not.
    Pt who “spoda” stop smoking but in ER again for COPD exacerbation.
    Pt “spoda” have Tylenol at home for their baby with temp of 103, but did not want to buy it.
    Most of our “spoda” pts are regulars.

  71. Denise 'da Nurse

    #1…A positive “Benton’s Sign”…when pt. rolls into ER pale, decreased responsiveness, low b/p, and knees are mottled: all criteria for septicemia/shock diagnosis. #2…”JPC”…acronym for pt. with issues/ need for psychiatric care, and a STAT order for a “B52” ( JPC : Just Plain Crazy, B52: Benedryl, Haldol 5mg, and Ativan 2mg IM, given with an 18 gauge, while 72 year old security officer has ’em in a head-lock )

    • traumabrat

      Gotta remember B52. That is hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. Su RN

    BOBS: Big Ol’ Baby Syndrome. Diagnosis for the patient who complains that they have multiple symptoms/needs but there is not much wrong with them

    “The patient says he is nauseous AND wants a second dinner tray – he’s got BOBS.”

    LOLS: Little Old Lady Syndrome. Similar to BOBS but with the little old lady who wants to be waited on somewhere more exciting than home.

    Broadway: The way the hall looks when every patient is hitting their call light incessently. Alternate term: Christmas

    “The place looks like Christmas out there! Where are the CNAs?”

    • kenryjax

      I don’t know, where are the CNAs? Probably doing what you think you’re too good to do. Get off your phone/ass and answer your own damn call lights!

  73. colzanurse

    BUFA baby: baby up for adoption

    The “H” word: Hospice

  74. Roo

    FOSS= Full of Sh!t Syndrome-those that feign every pain they can in hopes of a script for pain meds…usually specifically asking for “them Loratabs”. These are typically frequent flyers as well.

    “We have three FOSS’s on the schedule before lunch”

  75. traumabrat

    I didn’t see…
    CCFCCP – coo-coo for cocoa puffs (crazy patient)

    CTD – circling the drain

    MTF – metabolize to freedom (may be discharged when alcohol has been adequately metabolized)


    WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (Military alphabet – think about it)

    • Meike

      India Delta 10 Tango

      • nurselizzie

        VSF = Very Severely F***ked
        Patient is not at all well

    • Jo-Dee Brown

      WTF…is my favorite, as I use it in my conversations like a word right out of vocabulary. I am union rep and when I use it in Human resources, they get it

  76. traumabrat

    Cranial-Rectal Inversion (head up their arse)

    We have one ER doc who is always saying, “Stupid should be painful.”

    Veterinary medicine…..testing for everything because the patient is too drunk, stupid, high, combative or all of the above to tell you what’s wrong.

    Vitamin A deficiency – needs more ativan

    Like ol’ Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid.” And that means nurses will always have job security!

    • NurseDaisy

      CRCI= Chronic Rectal Cranial Inversion…one of my faves!

  77. JennRN

    We call some of our patients walkie talkies,…. meaning they are totally independent and dont need assistance for much.

    • Shannon

      We have 6 floors on our hospital and when a patient passes we say Transfered to the 7th floor

  78. jonoe

    I don’t use about 3/4 of the official list, more of the reply list. But here’s a few.

    ECU= Eternal Care Unit (ie: That patient has is going/has gone to the ECU.)

    Laying of Hands= Used for an elderly patient who is ready to die but the family is in denial and wants everything done. (ie: That patient needs a laying of hands)

    Bounceback= A patient that bounces back from medical floor to ICU or nursing home to ICU frequently.

    The Clicker= The quad patient (that became that way by suicide attempt usually) that clicks his tongue literally every 2 minutes for something.

  79. rakhel

    CAN: umbilical Cord Around fetus’ Neck
    Bili Baby: baby under phototherapy for increased bilirubin
    PUPPPs rash: Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (pregnancy rash)
    IOL for mat anx: Induction Of Labor for maternal anxiety
    BUFA: Baby Up For Adoption
    NWS: Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome

  80. rakhel

    smoking breast: breastfed baby of mother who smokes

  81. owgirls

    “circling the drain” Hospice Pt. with systems shutting down, about to die….”I need comfort kit now, pt. is circling the drain.”

  82. owgirls

    “time bomb” home pt. smoking while on oxygen per nasal canula

  83. skoenlaper

    POF — I had a doctor once who would write this in his orders for difficult patients. (Pillow over Face)

    • skoenlaper

      “Failure to die” regarding a pt that was put on Hospice because they were dying but they are still alive 6 months or more later.

  84. karma3904

    My fav. AMYOYO = Alright Mf, you’re on your own, as in I have done everything I can and you still insist on ignoring me. Ignoring MD orders. Heard a doc use this as he stormed out of a pt room.

  85. Stephanie D

    “Hospitalitis”–the condition in which someone has been a patient long enough to have apparently lost all ability to do for themselves. Similar to “FMPS”: Fluff My Pillow Syndrome already mentioned.

    “The patient in 364 kept me in there forever, moving her pitcher around on her bedside table, pulling her blanket up from her knees to her waist and back down to her knees again, placing her phone at just the right angle to pick it up easily. Time for discharge. She obviously has been stricken with hospitalitis.”

  86. drummerrn

    summer teeth– meaning some are here, some are there.

  87. rosebogdon


  88. lisamarie25

    “hypolorazepamia” – pt wants ativan

  89. Sarah L

    “Positive Teddy Bear Sign”

    On the Psych Unit, we use this to describe individuals with Borderline Personality D/O.

  90. queenie

    DILLIGAF : Do I look like I give a f**k?

  91. momtofive

    CYA=Cover Your Ass!

    • Camoflahj

      Yes! Learned this type of charting in nsg school. Served me well over the years!

  92. magnoliarn

    FUF: effed up family

  93. audreysherwen

    Here are some from NZ
    PAFO- pissed (drunk) and fell over
    CARE plan- Cover Ass, Remain Employed
    Pie cart – trolley used for transportation of deceased patients

  94. marpan8iv

    “Downtown” – any woman who comes in for a pelvic exam (from Elaine’s reference on Seinfeld) “Yeah, we’ve got a downtown in 11”
    “Christmas Shopper” – anyone who comes in with pain complaints who’s had their narcotic refills mapped for excessive refills (they’re selling them on the street)

  95. coferb

    Rectal ocvulitis.Sh*tty outlook on life:)

  96. acarey726

    SARS- Sh*t Ain’t Right Syndrome

    That patient has a case of the SARS

  97. psychrn65

    Bus therapy: the pt is homeless so he cant be discharged home. The staff starts a fund to buy a bus ticket to his nearest relatives house

    BSC: bat shit crazy!

    Transferred to The Eternal Care Center: passed away while in hospice

  98. lkmckenzie

    As a recovering ER nurse I used to hear these a lot.

    FTD = Fixing to die

    DRT = Dead right there.

  99. lkmckenzie

    Positive Blue Cross Sign = A patient that undergoes an unnecessary procedure by an unethical physician because they have insurance that will pay for it.

  100. nrsjeni

    CTD-circling the drain. It sounds better to say “Nita is CTD” I use it almost everyday.

  101. shayrae

    Pod “C”- where we put the “crazy” psych pts. That pt is being admitted to pod C

    TDMA- Too Damn Many Acronyms

  102. nursedude420

    “High Five”- patient who is HIV+
    GOMER- “get out of my ER” (patients who use the ER as a regular doctor visit- usually uninsured)

    • flursefleely

      OTB or WOTB
      “Out There Bad or Way Out There Bad
      The patient in room 1 has complaints of seeing aliens….diagnosis: OTB or WOTB as the case may be………..

  103. happyinillinois

    VitaminD=dilaudid seeker

  104. ginx

    Discharged to Oklahoma- died.
    Fecal fingerpainting- self explanatory

    • Susan Jones

      Lol! I LIVE in Oklahoma—it must be heaven! Actually I don’t want to go anywhere else so I guess to me it is! :)

  105. Amessmer

    Prairie dog syndrome- where a resident repeatedly stands up out of their wheelchair

    • ladyrn59

      Prairie-dogging is also what happens when you’ve been too busy to use the restroom and now you HAVE to, so you take a few steps, then stop and stand very straight until the urge passes enough to take a few more—until you can make it to the restroom. Common also among truck drivers who have to park a long way out from the building at a truck stop. LOL

  106. nrsrob03



  107. kfiglioli

    hahahahaha “Jack in the box”

  108. Nurse_Dee

    crainial rectal ectomy

    I am know for not liking Ron White Syndrome (can’t fix Stupid). I had an intern enter a room during a code and he pulled out his little pocket guide, looked me in the eyes and asked me what page we were on. Wirhout missing a beat I asked him if he had scheduled his CRE and untill he did he could not work on a code.

  109. hugnrn

    I like wifty – as in “not all there”.

    That sundowner is wifty.

  110. Meike

    Code P –> psych complaint

    FTB –> failure to breathe unassisted

    PPBBB –> place pine box by the bedside while patient circles the drain

    DC2G –> patient is discharged to (the care of) God (death)

    Squirrels –> another name for frequent fliers. Physicians are encouraged to not feed (feed the narcotic habit) the squirrels,

    3HE –> triple H enema (soap suds) — high, hot, and hell of a lot

    SOB –> shortness of breath / sober, out (of) beer

    Pillow talk –> see pillow therapy

    B52 –> Benadryl 50mg, Haldol 5mg, Ativan 2mg

    Lol –> lonely old lady/ little old lady

    REDISW –> return to ED if symptoms worsen

    GOMER –> Get (the patient) out of my ER

    NA2L –> patient makes no attempt to learn/listen

    GB 4Fs –> most common gall bladder patient: 40 (patient is about 40 years old), Fat, Fertile (has been pregnant in the past, Female

    2S2L –> too stupid to live

    We can’t fix stupid, but we can sedate it

  111. eric69

    PPP- piss poor protoplasm

  112. jleighjude

    we used to use GOK ( god only knows) for an unknown diagnosis, and NUD for nigh unto death

  113. allisok72

    Did anyone mention JAR?!! Just Ain’t Right
    I worked in a country hospital for a few years and we wanted JAR magnets to put on door frames like the DNR ones we had!

  114. ohlordadoctor

    Can’t believe no-one’s mentioned my favourite – T.F BUNDY -Totall F***ed, but unfortunately not dead yet.

  115. jlp

    We use SPAK for the weekend drunks. Status Post Ass Kicking. AFWAP, another female with abdominal pain.

  116. swimmer07

    FUBAR- F’d up beyond all recognition. Essentially a trainwreck

  117. Brain nurse

    SLS shitty life syndrome

  118. rubysue

    Didn’t see COUP syndrome (child of ugly parents) aka FLK (funny looking kid)

  119. ICURN5

    Can’t remember shit.

    He/She has a case of CRS.

  120. anna34r8

    SOB – shortness of breath or son of a bit*h

  121. ALE4evr

    “DOR” Dead on Rounds. Pt. found dead during IV rounds.

  122. notadoc

    OLCS- old lady crotch smell
    Needs an extra pillow- there is no medical problems that can’t be solved with an extra pillow held firmly over the face
    Needs TLC – thorazene, lorazepam, clonazepam

  123. JKep

    FLK. Funny looking kid. Use in the NICU for babies that just don’t look quite right and usually end up with a genetic work up.

    • Gina Randolph

      I just posted the same thing….hadn’t seen your comment. I’m a pediatric nurse and we see lots of FLKs 😉

  124. zsuda

    I’ m a hungarian nurse in Romania’s biggest and best ER (search for SMURD) and we use many slang terms. Only one in english, my favorite: BBBH Sindrom (big bad bubu in the had).

  125. Pat Slide

    In the U.K. “PITA” is usually applied to the elderly falls risk patients and is written as “PIA”. That way when anybody asks, you can reply “Peripatetic In Absentia”, which is pig latin for “wanders when your back is turned”.

  126. NurseJess

    NQR used for those patients ago are just not quite right

  127. NurseryNurseRatched

    PWT- Poor White Trash

    Crunchy Granola- hippie moms who typically are transferred from a birthing center who do things like refuse baby’s medications, fight you on what the doctor has ordered for the baby and eat their placenta.

    Hooter hider- cloth that covers you up when breastfeeding your baby.

    • Jus10

      House In Vermont: pt has HIV
      (Pt has a house in Vermont)

      Aqueducts In Downtown Sienna: pt has AIDS
      (Pt is here to see the aqueducts in downtown Sienna)

      If the general public knew all the terms we used for/about them do you think they would call us funny or a-holes?

  128. robsanurse

    Aussie ER Slang!
    GPFO: Got Pissed (Drunk) Fell Over.
    FITH: Freaked in the head.
    T F BUNDY: Totally Freaked But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet.
    Revolving Door: See frequent flyer!
    Sickbay jockey: See Revolving door!
    WOFTAM: Waste of eFing time and money.
    Ground sheet: Old Sailors slang for nurse.

  129. GuardianRN

    ADASTW: Arrived dead and stayed that way
    Circling the drain with one foot stuck in the hairtrap.
    BSC: Bat sh1t crazy
    OGNA: Oh, great…not again!
    YGBK: You gotta be kidding!

  130. LydiaB

    Code Brown

  131. honeyrn

    GOMER: Get outta my ER!
    Lizard: Another form of “Loser”
    Frequent Flyer: A person who frequents the ER.

  132. kassie726

    Pediatric nurse: “FOS” – for kids with abd pain that are literally just full of shit. FLK: funny looking kid…

  133. granny53

    O sign: when the patient is comatose and sleeping with mouth open….not a good sign
    Q sign: same as above except the tongue hanging out of the corner…..this is the patient you are hoping is DNR because they are just about OTD (out the door)

  134. ER Nurse B

    HDLT – High Drama Low Trauma

    i.e. The patient who presents in triage with a slight injury or illness screaming, demanding to be taken “straight back”, rates their pain a “20 out of 10”, and is in full drama diva mode.

  135. jleighjude

    GOK God only knows–unknown diagnosis

    NUD nigh unto death

  136. Deb Hodnett Walker

    TCCFCCPFS= when you finish a very difficult triage on a patient and give the Dr. That She Is too Coo Coo For Coco Coco Puff!

  137. JTjmk111

    I realize that nurses need to use humor to cope with some of the stressful situations at work. But do any other RNs out there reading this and making comments, realize how totally unprofessional you are making the nursing profession look by posting these derogatory slang terms, that I assure you, the majority of nurses do not use?

    • kimsuarez

      Lol. I’m very professional, and I take very good care of my patients…I’m devoted to them! But working as a nurse…anywhere…you need a sense of humor. 99% of the patients are unaware of these terms. I’m sure u are far from innocent as well. It’s hard to believe, unless you’re fresh out of school, that you’ve never used even one slang. If so, I’d sure hate to work with you sorry to say.

  138. Roger Himelstein

    For a client that falls – Gravity storm.


    FOFOF – Found on face on floor.

    And of course, what does RN stand for? Refreshments and narcotics. Many think That is what we do.

  139. kimsuarez

    We have an FOS…(full of shit)…down the hall!

  140. fulita

    Baby Crack- oral sucrose solution

  141. PandorasMom

    TFTB- Too Fat to Breathe (obesity hypoventilation syndrome or Pikwikian syndrome)

  142. vickmae

    Some Aussie favourites:

    FITH – F**ked In The Head
    CRAFT – Can’t Remember a F**king Thing
    Tontine Therapy – pillow over the face (Tontine is a brand of pillow)
    High Velocity Lead Therapy – a bullet!!
    The Lunch Box – covered trolley used to transport deceased patients to the morgue

  143. surfergirl1970

    We use cfs= can’t fix stupid
    Csi= can’t stand idiots
    Lights on but nobody is home= lobnis

  144. Michelle Drake

    Vitamin L Deficiency: vitamin leather deficiency, or in other words, needs an ass whipping; usually refers to misbehaved children

  145. redhatnurse

    DTPL = Discharge to parking lot

  146. Kate Phelan

    Curtain Monkey, or CM – patient or family that hangs from the curtain or doorway staring you down.

  147. Nurse Janet

    POWW-Prissy ole white woman. We often pts from a retirement home for the socially elite. They truly expect to be treated as princesses.

  148. Lisa Jackson

    DFO – the patient “done fell out”

  149. Faith Nugent

    I still get into trouble f/u and SOB….. Luckily the EMR is smart enough to recognize them and changes them before a pt realizes what I have typed.

  150. John Dugay

    CCFCCP- coo coo for coco puffs

  151. mojojojo81

    EXAMPLE “That lady is a real C U Next Tuesday. ..

  152. mojojojo81

    Herpagonnococcalsyphillitis. …

    This is an all encompassing term for weird infections you can’t always put a finger on initially…

  153. Rowena Richmond

    This term is used for a PIA patient who has pressed the call light for the 10th time 2 hours into your shift asking for the impossible. You whisper quietly, “He/she needs a little pillow therapy”.

  154. daddiogb

    I’ve been a nurse for 12 years and have heard maybe 3 of these. I don’t know where these come from. Try submitting terms that are actually used by nurses.

  155. Nurseqt

    Repeat offender: has the same meaning as the frequent flyer, mentioned in #41.

  156. bamanani

    ODD DDS AMF YOYO. PITA leaving ER AMA….this was resident’s charted diagnosis. Out de door, down de street, Adios mother f(letcher) you on yo own. 20 years late, I still wish I could use that one!

  157. zornowk

    Going to the Zoo- Used in the NICU for babies who have been there a long time and have a set-back whenever the “H” word (home) is mentioned.

    Going to the 10th floor- Infant who is dying. “Baby Z is trying to go to the 10th floor” (in a 9 floor hospital)

    Repeat Customer- Parents of an infant whose older child was also in the NICU.

  158. Michael Carter

    DSP: Day Shift Problem. Something that happens to happen just before day shift arrives or something during the night that happens that can only be taken care of during the day.

  159. Nurse1978

    Positive Cheetos sign. Presenting complaint at triage vomiting, not keeping anything down for days…. Eating Cheetos or chips in waiting room

  160. fllough2000

    MAIDS : My A$$ Is Draggin Syndrome (I made this one up and use it quite frequently)

    I am suffering from MAIDS today due to being on call for the past 65 hours.

  161. kloggbert

    ICU syndrome
    Definition; a patient who spent a few days in the ICU bacause a critical health state, the same applies to anyone near the patient (spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, family). These often hangs on the bell (mostly the family around the patient), finding it peculiar that we leave the patient and don’t always sit by them, help them fluff their pillows, helps them drink etc (which the patient was in need for in the ICU but isn’t anymore because he/she is on the regular ward, in my case post-op surgical).
    Can be compared with a rotator etc, although it mostly depends on the patients nearest.

    Fantastic list :)

  162. ORRNsRHardcore

    From a beloved crass RN legend……COOTER GUARD….a very obsese female whose stomach is so large that it hangs below their public area

    Ex… When trying to put in a foley, a 2nd person is required to lift up the “COOTER GUARD” just to visualize the pubic vaginal region:)

    • DenAli

      I love the COOTER GUARD. Dealt with it multiple times and never had a name for it


    Don’t forget the everfamous: GOMER (Get out of my Emergency Room). Or maybe I am too old for this. Once watched a Dr. give a pt. a long detailed definition of this DX. Wish I could remember what he said – very quick thinking to his credit!


    I worked with an amazingly good natured ER doc that would frequently diagnosis patients with mild, moderate or extreme cases of “Ohmylordy”. The levels were determined by the volume and frequency that the patient moaned “oh my lordy” while he made his initial consultation with the patient. We also had many frequent flyers that came in asking for a shot of “hound dog”. What they wanted was Haldol. There’s no place like the South!!!

  165. kntncntn

    I worked for an OBGYN for a few years and the receptionist would say to us “we have a SUIT coming in today. Which means something stuck up in there.

  166. ATX Nurse

    There is very large grocery chain in Texas called HEB named for Herbert E. Butts. HEB-itis = Morbidly Obese.

    An oldie but goody, “poor protoplasm” which is kinda like Alphabet soup as it describes a patient whose lifetime of smoking, drinking and eating McDonalds for every meal has resulted in COPD, CHF, DM, multiple TIA’s, MI, PVD, etc…. They are probably “fluffy” which is a gentler way of saying they have some degree of HEB-itis.

    We had to stop calling the computer-on-wheels COWs after a patient’s parent became offended because she thought someone was referring to her. We have to call them WOWs now which is workstation-on-wheels.

  167. cyclamen08

    I want to comment about #24.
    It shows a great deal of ignorance. Maybe if you worked in an area more populated by Jews you’d know that to them health is considered more important than the Sabbath.

  168. Aulora Salas

    “EEE”- ethnic emotional event

    “ACAS”- all crying and sh*t

    family plan- when multiple members of the same family check in to the ER to get checked out by the doctor since they’re “already here anyways”.

  169. tnnurse07

    In the NICU: Whimpy white boy-since statistically white boys are the lowest on the scale when it comes to hardiness. Those babies that just can’t quite get off the O2 or just can’t get over the hump to going home.

    FUK-F***ked Up Kid-mostly pertains to a baby that just don’t look or act right and usually ends up with a genetic consult

  170. Darrn

    FLK — term used in labor and delivery to describe a strange appearing newborn

  171. Ilene Coggin

    SAS or sick as sh*t.

  172. George Wilson

    We get an occasional trauma RTT with a BBB (rat a tat tat with a baseball bat).

    Some patients develop tachy Yis (Yi yi yi yi yi repeated quickly and at volume), especially if they have an enabling audience.

  173. George Wilson

    Said of an icu pt who was not doing well, “He’s not on the bus but he has correct change. “

  174. jailbirdnurse

    Encarceritis- sudden onset of any illness diagnosed with becoming an immediate concern once coming into jail

  175. gingerwilsonrn

    “Those we do not speak of” In home health, it is a term we use when we are talking about a patient that we do not want to have again. We know that if we speak their name, we will get another referral on them. The phrase was taken from the movie “The Village”.

  176. Susan Jones

    “Positive Revlon Sign” when a female pt feels well enough to put on her makeup! Usually time for them to go home! Also we use FLK “funny looking kid” as when a newborn has something going on but we aren’t sure as to what yet—or they inherited the families features.

  177. andi in NJ

    My favorite: Organ Recital, a long list of all the aches and pains.

  178. KIKI

    Only person in the world syndrome.

    This one needs no explaining

  179. Jo-Dee Brown

    SAMSONITE POSITIVE: one who comes to ER with enough belongings to go on a cruise

  180. Mangomadness

    Unfortunate that so many of these seem so derogatory to the patient. Try to remember why you wanted to become a nurse. P.S. I am happy to say that I haven’t heard of most of these. For a good reason. When I worked on the floor, nobody would insult patients all day. You would be written up for trash talking patients.

    • Marilyn Anderson

      OMG. I worked with some very excellent &caring nurses who NEVER would mistreat or “trash talk” any patient where we could be heard by patients or family. The stress of ER for 8 plus hours a day was relieved somewhat by kidding around this way. It wasn’t done in a malicious way at all.

  181. Karen Lloyd

    When I worked in Derriford Hospital in A&E we had NFP
    Definition : Normal for Plymouth. It was used when someone came in after having drunk to excess, normally teenagers

  182. Jane Asher

    Walkie talkie–a patient requiring little care.

    (I’m a frequent flyer, but usually a walkie talkie! Also a mom if a future nurse)

  183. Deb Smith

    We all did FLK! Funny looking kid!

  184. gwinnyb

    yup, ED fro 40 years lots of them familiar but some new to me

  185. Gina Randolph

    As a pediatric nurse, we have another slang called “FLK” This stands for Funny Looking Kid. You know the ones….no syndromes or anything but they are just funny looking! (cute in their own way)

  186. bluecandi

    Knife and gun club: idiots who’ve been out fighting on a Friday or Saturday night. Usually they were sitting on the porch minding their own business when “some dude” comes up out of nowhere and gets them.

    • ER_Guy

      Some that I picked up from working in Canada and Large Urban facilities in the US.
      LOL,Squared ->Little old Lady Lying on Linoleum – Elderly female found on floor by EMS.
      CD-> Celestrial Discharge: Person who has died.
      WBC-> Well Baby Check. Parents who bring baby/child in to ED after minor incident “Just to be checked out”
      OBECALP-> For drug seekers – Give 20mg of Obecalp IM/IV stat: Placebo backwards (usually 5 mls of a saline flush IV to see if they “need something stronger” since they are allergic to EVERYTHING but Demerol. I have even had patients return to the ED and ASK for OBECALP “because it worked last time”
      BOTTLED -> A Canadian classic. EMS has just brought in someone that has been BOTTLED (hit in the head with a bottle, most cases a beer bottle)
      Z-PACK-> NOT WHAT YOU THINK. This case is a group/family from a particular State/Province that are on Medi-Care/Welfare and their health card starts with a “Z” and use the ED and EMS for minor health issues “We have a Z-Pac of 4 in Room 5” Translation we have 4 family members in room 5 that need med.refills / health care check by a doctor.
      CHURCH SYNDROME -> Often goes along with LOLSquared, occurs most often with Little old Catholic Ladies, that get dizzy from standing and kneeing in church
      MALL WALKER-> Most often a LOL, that takes her B/P on the drug store machine in the Mall after doing the “Mall Loop” and finds her B/P “Higher than normal” and her friends tell her to go to the ED for a
      HC-> Health Check – similar to a WBC but an adult.

      YES, Some people might not like this “short hand lingo” but it helps to get the point across to other professional and know one is hurt.

  187. Marilyn Anderson

    GOMER : Get Out of My Emergency Room
    . Used to designate just about anyone we nurses didn’t think should be there.

  188. Alexander Hidalgo

    Cardiac delight= high cholesterol, high calorie, hi fat diet. “That Double Bypass Burger at the Heart Attack Grill is a real Cardiac delight!”

  189. Serene Johnson

    Triple M – Morphine, Midazolam Maxolon infusions for terminals (Triple M is a radio station here in Oz)

  190. Serene Johnson

    Tontine therapy = pillow therapy

  191. medtech

    BSC Working in a mental hospital you know when the Dr calls with those initals it will be a long night Bat Sh*t Crazy is keep on your toes.

  192. amna shahzadi

    Love this article

    • DenAli

      Don’t forget “dirt nap”, patient that has died and haven’t been taken to the morgue yet
      Ie, They are taking a dirt nap.

  193. Nurse420

    Steady on feet- rehab term for PST that are truly ambulatory. Others are wobbly when walking and those won’t stay in bed. Often fof- found on floor


    GOMER: “Get out of my Emergency Room”!


      Oops – didn’t see someone else already posted “GOMER”.

  195. Butrflylvr

    When I worked in a hospital one of the RT’s would come out of a DNR patient’s room and say they are #6 on the buzzard scale. That means there is one on each bedpost and two circling over head.

    Another thing that was used was CTD which stood for circling the drain. It was all serious but we needed something to lighten the mood when it was so depressing.

    One doctor would put in his notes (the patient had gas on a KUB) he has a UBF, I had to ask. Unborn fart!

  196. jumbonav

    “Clean up on aisle (room number)” Usually a Code Brown but could be a mix of any bodily excretions large enough to require excessive time in the room cleaning up.

  197. Jami

    Porcelain level – a suggested lab test for a PT that’s full of $h**.
    ” I think we need to draw a porcelain level on the new admit”


    PCP for Primary Care Provider because there are Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners as well as M.D.s. seeing patients. Steve Hanson LPN

  199. AJsparrow

    “Pogi” A labor patient who is giving birth for the first time. An inversion of G1P0/gravida one, para zero.


    FOS full of___ acronym to describe one who is significantly constipated

  201. Diplomagirl

    GMG- short for Gornish mit gornish, which is Yiddish for nothing with nothing. My first job was at a large Jewish teaching hospital, over the years learned many. But GMG, using still. Just gotta teach everyone how fabulous and descriptive it is!