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Common Medical Abbreviations

Samuel is in a nursing assistant class. In class he learned that knowing the common medical abbreviations used in healthcare is important. The teacher said that using abbreviations can save time. The teacher also said that it is very important to know and understand the most common abbreviations because making a mistake on an abbreviation can be bad for a patient.

Today Samuel is studying with his friend Abdi. The two friends study after class every day. They are helping each other to remember some of the abbreviations they learned last week. There will be a test on common abbreviations at the end of the week.

Abdi asks Samuel, “What does BID mean?”

Samuel says, “Oh, that’s easy.” He gives the correct answer. “It means twice a day.”

Abdi asks another question. “What does TID mean?” Samuel has to think for a moment. He gives the correct answer. “It means three times a day.” He also remembered that QID means four times a day.

Now Samuel asks Abdi some questions. Samuel says, “What does H2O mean?”

Abdi answers correctly that it means water. The next question is “What does PRN mean?”  “Oh, I remember!” says Abdi. “It means as needed.”

The two friends continued to study together for a few hours.  They reviewed some of the other common medical abbreviations from class.  Here is a list of the other abbreviations they reviewed:

ASAP = as soon as possible or right now

ADL = activities of daily living

BM = bowel movement

Ht = height

P.O. = by mouth; orally

Pt. = patient

Rx = prescription

TPR = temperature and pulse and respiration

WT = weight

Samuel and Abdi know they have more medical abbreviations to learn and remember.  Studying together makes learning easier and is a fun way to practice what they learn in class.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners