Nursing Abbreviations and Acronyms

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 & Acronyms



aa Of each, equal parts
ABR Absolute bed rest
Abd. Abdomen
ac Before meals
AD Admitting diagnosis
A&D Admission and discharge
Ad lib As desired, if the patient so desired
ADL Activities of daily living
Adm. Admission
Ad. Spec. Admission urine specimen
A.M. or a.m., AM or am Morning
amb Ambulation, walking, ambulatory,
  able to walk
amt. Amount
AP or A.P. Appendectomy
aqua Water or H2O
@ At
Approx. Approximately
B&B or b&b Bowel 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 BP Blood pressure
BR or br or B.R. or b.r. Bedrest
BRP or B.R.P. or brp Bathroom priviledges
BSC or bsc Bedside commode
°C Celsius degree (or centigrade)
c With
Ca Cancer
Cath. Catheter
CBC or C.B.C. Complete blood count
cc or c.c Cubic centimeter
CCU or C.C.U Cardiac care unit/ coronary care unit
CBR or C.B.R. or cbr Complete bed rest
C/O or c/o Complaint of
CO2 Carbon dioxide
CS or C.S. or c.s Central supply
CSD or csd or C.S.D Central service department
CSR or csr and C.S.R Central supply room
CVA or C.V.A Cerebrovascular accident or stroke
CPR or C.P.R Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
dc or d/c Discontinue
del. M. Or d.r., or DR Delivery room
Disch or dish or D/C Discharge
D. % C. or D&C Dilatation and curettage
drsg. Dressing
DOA or D.O.A Dead on arrival
Dr. or Dr Doctor
DX Diagnosis
ECG or EKG Electrocardiogram
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 E Enema
ER or E.R. Emergency room
°F Fahrenheit degree
F. or Fe. or F or Fe Female
FBS or F.B.S Fasting blood sugar
FF or F.F. Forced feeding or forced fluids
ft Foot
Fx Fracture
Fx urine Fractional urine
gal Gallon
GI or G.I. Gastrointestinal
gt One drop
gtt Two or more drops
Gtt or G.T.T. Glucose tolerance test
GU or G.U Genitourinary
Gyn. or G.Y.N. Gynecology
H2O Water or aqua
HOB Head of bed
hr Hour
HS or hs Bedtime or hour of sleep
ht Height
hyper Above or high
hypo Below or low
H.W.B. or hwb or HWB Hot water bottle
ICU or I.C.U. Intensive care unit
I&O or I.&O. Intake and output
Irr Irregular
Isol. Or isol Isolation
IV or I.V. Intravenous
L Liter
Lab. or lab Laboratory
lb Pound
LVN or L.V.N Licensed vocational nurse
M Male
Mat Maternity
MD or M.D. Medical doctor
Meas Measure
mec Meconium
med Medicine
min Minute
ml Milliliter
Mn or mn or M/n Midnight
N.A. or N/A Nursing aide or nursing assistant
n/g tube or ng. tube or N.G.T. Nasogastric tube
noct At night
NP Neuropsychiatric or nursing procedure
NPO or N.P.O Nothing by mouth
nsy Nursery
O2 Oxygen
OB or O.B. Obstetrics
Obt or obt. Obtained
OJ or O.J. Orange juice
Orb. Orderly
OOB or O.O.B. Out of bed
OPD or O.P.D. Outpatient department
OR or O.R. Operating room
Ortho Orthopedics
OT or O.T Occupational therapy or oral temperature
oz. Ounce
PAR or P.A.R. Postanesthesia room
Pc After meals
Ped or Peds Pediatrics
Per by, through
p.m. or P.M., pm or PM Afternoon
PMC or P.M.C Postmortem care
PN or P.N. Pneumonia
po By mouth
post or p after
postop or post op Postoperative
post op spec After surgery urine specimen
PP Postpartum (after delivery)
PPBS Postprandial blood sugar
pre Before
prn or p.r.n. Whenever necessary, when required
preop or pre op Before surgery
pre op spec Urine specimen before surgery
prep Prepare the patient for surgery by shaving the skin.
Pt or pt Patient; pint
PT or P.T. Physical therapy
q Every
qd Every day
qh Every hour
q2h Every 2 hours
q3h Every 3 hours
q4h Every 4 hours
QHS or qhs Every 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.D Every other day
qs Quantity sufficient, as much as required
qt quart
r or R rectal or Rectal
Rm or rm Room
RN or R.N. Registered nurse
Rom or R.O.M. Range of motion
RR or R Rm. Recovery room
Rx Prescription or treatment ordered by a physician
s or ? Without
S&A Sugar and acetone
S&A test or S.& A. test Sugar and acetone test
S&K or S.& K. test Sugar and ketone test
SOB Shortness of breath
sos Whenever emergency arises; only if necessary
SPD Special purchasing department
Spec or spec. Specimen
ss or ?? One-half
SSE or S.S.E. Soapsuds enema
Stat At once, immediately
STD Sexually transmitted disease
Surg Surgery
tid or T.I.D. Three times a day
TLC or tlc Tender loving care
TPR Temperature, pulse, respiration
TWE Tap water enema
U/a or U/A or u/a Urinalysis
Ung. Ointment, unguentine
VDRL Test for syphilis
V.S or VS Vital signs
WBC or W.B.C. White blood count
w/c Wheel chair
wc or W.C. Ward clerk
wt Weight

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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