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Nursing Abbreviations and Acronyms

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By Matt Vera BSN, R.N.

What does HOB or ROM mean? Do you know the different medical and nursing terms from the healthcare industry? We in the fields of nursing and medicine have our unique set of vocabulary. These terminologies are important for us to have a more understandable and efficient communication. 

Differentiating abbreviations from acronyms

  • Abbreviations are shortened forms for written words or phrases used in a place of the whole (e.g., vol for volume).
  • Acronyms are words formed from the initial letter of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term (e.g., CBC for complete blood count).

Medical abbreviations were made to quickly but accurately document. Here’s a list of medical terminologies that you should know.

Abbreviations & AcronymsMeaning
aaOf each, equal parts
ABRAbsolute bed rest
acBefore meals
ADAdmitting diagnosis
A&DAdmission and discharge
Ad libAs desired, if the patient so desired
ADLActivities of daily living
Ad. Spec.Admission urine specimen
A.M. or a.m., AM or amMorning
ambAmbulation, walking, ambulatory,
 able to walk
AP or A.P.Appendectomy
aquaWater or H2O
B&B or b&bBowel and bladder training
bid or B.I.D. or b.i.d.Twice a day
b.m. or B.M.Bowel movement, feces
B.P. or BPBlood pressure
BR or br or B.R. or b.r.Bedrest
BRP or B.R.P. or brpBathroom privileges
BSC or bscBedside commode
°CCelsius degree (or centigrade)
CBC or C.B.C.Complete blood count
cc or c.cCubic centimeter
CCU or C.C.UCardiac care unit/ coronary care unit
CBR or C.B.R. or cbrComplete bed rest
C/O or c/oComplaint of
CO2Carbon dioxide
CS or C.S. or c.sCentral supply
CSD or csd or C.S.DCentral service department
CSR or csr and C.S.RCentral supply room
CVA or C.V.ACerebrovascular accident or stroke
CPR or C.P.RCardiopulmonary resuscitation
dc or d/cDiscontinue
del. M. Or d.r., or DRDelivery room
Disch or dish or D/CDischarge
D. % C. or D&CDilatation and curettage
DOA or D.O.ADead on arrival
Dr. or DrDoctor
ECG or EKGElectrocardiogram
ED or E.D.Emergency department
EEG or E.E.G.Electroencephalogram
EENT or E.E.N.T.Eye, ears, nose and throat
E. or EEnema
ER or E.R.Emergency room
°FFahrenheit degree
F. or Fe. or F or FeFemale
FBS or F.B.SFasting blood sugar
FF or F.F.Forced feeding or forced fluids
Fx urineFractional urine
GI or G.I.Gastrointestinal
gtOne drop
gttTwo or more drops
Gtt or G.T.T.Glucose tolerance test
GU or G.UGenitourinary
Gyn. or G.Y.N.Gynecology
H2OWater or aqua
HOBHead of bed
HS or hsBedtime or hour of sleep
hyperAbove or high
hypoBelow or low
H.W.B. or hwb or HWBHot water bottle
ICU or I.C.U.Intensive care unit
I&O or I.&O.Intake and output
Isol. Or isolIsolation
IV or I.V.Intravenous
Lab. or labLaboratory
LVN or L.V.NLicensed vocational nurse
MD or M.D.Medical doctor
Mn or mn or M/nMidnight
N.A. or N/ANursing aide or nursing assistant
n/g tube or ng. tube or N.G.T.Nasogastric tube
noctAt night
NPNeuropsychiatric or nursing procedure
NPO or N.P.ONothing by mouth
OB or O.B.Obstetrics
Obt or obt.Obtained
OJ or O.J.Orange juice
OOB or O.O.B.Out of bed
OPD or O.P.D.Outpatient department
OR or O.R.Operating room
OT or O.TOccupational therapy or oral temperature
PAR or P.A.R.Postanesthesia room
PcAfter meals
Ped or PedsPediatrics
Perby, through
p.m. or P.M., pm or PMAfternoon
PMC or P.M.CPost Mortem care
PN or P.N.Pneumonia
poBy mouth
post or pafter
postop or post opPostoperative
post op specAfter surgery urine specimen
PPPostpartum (after delivery)
PPBSPostprandial blood sugar
prn or p.r.n.Whenever necessary, when required
preop or pre opBefore surgery
pre op specUrine specimen before surgery
prepPrepare the patient for surgery by shaving the skin.
Pt or ptPatient; pint
PT or P.T.Physical therapy
qdEvery day
qhEvery hour
q2hEvery 2 hours
q3hEvery 3 hours
q4hEvery 4 hours
QHS or qhsEvery night at bed time/ hour of sleep
qid or Q.I.D.Four times a day
qam or q am or q.a.m.Every morning
qod or Q.O.DEvery other day
qsQuantity sufficient, as much as required
r or Rrectal or Rectal
Rm or rmRoom
RN or R.N.Registered nurse
Rom or R.O.M.Range of motion
RR or R Rm.Recovery room
RxPrescription or treatment ordered by a physician
s or ?Without
S&ASugar and acetone
S&A test or S.& A. testSugar and acetone test
S&K or S.& K. testSugar and ketone test
SOBShortness of breath
sosWhenever emergency arises; only if necessary
SPDSpecial purchasing department
Spec or spec.Specimen
ss or ??One-half
SSE or S.S.E.Soapsuds enema
StatAt once, immediately
STDSexually transmitted disease
tid or T.I.D.Three times a day
TLC or tlcTender loving care
TPRTemperature, pulse, respiration
TWETap water enema
U/a or U/A or u/aUrinalysis
Ung.Ointment, unguentine
VDRLTest for syphilis
V.S or VSVital signs
WBC or W.B.C.White blood count
w/cWheel chair
wc or W.C.Ward clerk

To effectively communicate either through oral communication and documentation, we healthcare workers should have a sound knowledge about the different abbreviations and acronyms used. Here are some of the acronyms and abbreviations that you might see on charts or documents.

List of Medical and Nursing Abbreviations & Acronyms

A / Galbumin / globulin ratio
AALanterior Axillary Line
ABGarterial blood gases
ACbefore eating
ACEangiotensin converting enzyme
ACLAnterior Cruciate Ligament
ACLSadvanced cardiac life support
ACTHadrenocorticotropic hormone
ADHantidiuretic hormone
ADLactivities of daily living
ADSFAnterior Decomposition Spinal Fusion
AFBacid-fast bacilli
AGAappropriate for gestational age
AGNAcute Glomerulonephritis
AIaortic insufficiency
AIDSacquired immune deficiency syndrome
AKAAbove Knee Amputation
AKAabove knee amputation
ALDalcoholic liver disease
ALLacute lymphocytic leukemia
ALPalkaline phosphatase
ALTalanine transaminase, alanine aminotransferase
APRAbdominoperineal Resection
ARFAcute Renal Failure
ASAAcute Surgical Abdomen
ATNacute tubular necrosis
AUboth ears
ad libas much as needed
B.S.Bachelor of Science
B/Kbelow knee
BATBlunt Abdominal Trauma
BIHBilateral Inguinal Hernia
BKABelow Knee Amputation
BMbowel movement or breast milk
C/Ocomplaining of
CAcalcium, cancer, carcinoma
CAAcrystalline amino acids
CABGcoronary artery bypass graft
CADcoronary artery disease
CAPDcontinuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis
CATcomputerized axial tomography
CBCcomplete blood count
CBDcommon bile duct
CBDECommon Bile Duct Exploration
CBDCommon Bile Duct
CBGcapillary blood gas
CBIcontinuous bladder irrigation
CBScapillary blood sugar
CCchief complaint
CCPDcontinuous cyclic peritoneal dialysis
CCUclean catch urine or cardiac care unit
CCVcritical closing volume
CFcystic fibrosis
CHFcongestive heart failure
CIcardiac index
CKDChronic Kidney Disease
CLEAContinuous Lumbar Epidural Anesthesia
CLTClinical Laboratory Technician
CMLchronic myelogenous leukemia
CNcranial nerves
CNScentral nervous system
COcardiac output
COMChronic Otitis Media
COPDchronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CPchest pain, cleft palate
CPDcephalo-pelvic disproportion
CPKcreatinine phosphokinase
CPPcerebral perfusion pressure
CPRcardiopulmonary resuscitation
CRCLcreatinine clearance
CRFchronic renal failure
CRTcapillary refill time
CSFcerebrospinal fluid
CTcomputerized tomography
CVAcerebral vascular accident, costovertebral angle
CVPcentral venous pressure
D3Distal Third
D5W5% dextrose in water
DATdiet as tolerated
DC(dc) discontinue
DICdisseminated intravascular coagulopathy
DIHDirect Inguinal Hernia
DKAdiabetic ketoacidosis
DLDirect Laryngoscopy
DMdiabetes mellitus
DNAdeoxyribonucleic acid
DNRdo not resuscitate
DOAdead on arrival
DOEdyspnea on exertion
DPTdiphtheria, pertussis, tetanus
DTRdeep tendon reflexes
DVTdeep venous thrombosis
EAAessential amino acids
EBLestimated blood loss
EBVEpstein-Barr Virus
ECCEExtra Capsular Cataract Extraction
ECFextracellular fluid, extended care facility
ECTelectroconvulsive therapy
EDCExtensor Digitorum Communis
EDHEpidural Hematoma
EEAEnd to end Anastomosis
EELEmergency Exploratory Laparotomy
EENTeye, ear, nose and throat
EFADessential fatty acid deficiency
EMVeyes, motor, verbal response (Glasgow coma scale)
ENTears, nose, and throat
EOMextraocular muscles
ERCPEndoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography
ESRerythrocyte sedimentation rate
ESRDend stage renal disease
ETendotracheal tube
ETTendotracheal tube
EUAexamination under anesthesia
FBEForeign Body Extraction
FBSfasting blood sugar
FCUFlexor Carpi Ulnaris
FDAFood & Drug Administration
FDPFlexor Digitorum Profundus
FDSFlexor Digitorum Superficial
FESSFunctional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
FEVforced expiratory volume
FFPfresh frozen plasma
FIAFistula in Ano
FNPFamily Nurse Practitioner
FTSGFull Thickness Skin Grafting
GCSGlascow Coma Scale
GERDgastroesophageal reflux disease
GETAGeneral Endotracheal Anesthesia
GFRglomerular filtration rate
GSWGunshot Wound
GTTglucose tolerance test
HBPhigh blood pressure
HCGhuman chorionic gonadotropin
HDLhigh density lipoprotein
HEENThead, eyes, ears, nose, throat
I & DIncision & Drainage
IBGIliac Bone Graft
ICSIntercostal Space
IIHIndirect Inguinal Hernia
IOCIntraoperative Cholangiogram
Matt Vera, a registered nurse since 2009, leverages his experiences as a former student struggling with complex nursing topics to help aspiring nurses as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs, simplifying the learning process, breaking down complicated subjects, and finding innovative ways to assist students in reaching their full potential as future healthcare providers.

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