Nursing Abbreviations

Some nursing abbreviations are common throughout the profession and some hospitals and other institutions have some of their own abbreviations. Abbreviations are also used throughout the medical profession and for common medical services and prescriptions. Most schools have their future nurses buy, as one of their textbooks, a dictionary of nursing abbreviations.

Nursing Abbreviations Nursing Abbreviations
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Nursing Abbreviations for Roles and Jobs

Just as there are many different types of doctors and technicians who work in hospitals and other medical settings, not all nurses are alike either. The various roles, jobs, and responsibilities can vary based on education, experience, and rank.

  • APRN - Advanced practice registered nurse
  • CNA - Certified nursing assistant
  • CNM - Certified nurse-midwife
  • CRNA - Certified registered nurse anesthetist
  • DNP - Doctor of nursing practice
  • LPN - Licensed professional nurse or license practical nurse
  • LVN - Licensed vocational nurse
  • NA - Nursing aid or nursing assistant
  • NP - Nurse practitioner
  • PRN - Pro re nata (per diem nurse)
  • RN - Registered nurse

Nursing Education Abbreviations

In order to be eligible for any of the nursing jobs listed above, you most often need to pursue specific levels of education, training, and experience. Some of the more common nursing abbreviations regarding programs, degrees, and certifications include the following.

  • ADN - Associate's degree in nursing
  • ASN - Associate of science in nursing
  • BSN - Bachelor's of science in nursing
  • DNP - Doctor of nursing practice
  • MSN - Master of science in nursing
  • NCLEX-PN - National Council Licensure Examination Practical Nurse
  • NCLEX-RN - National Council Licensure Examination Registered Nurse
  • PND - Practical nursing diploma

Acronyms and Abbreviations Used by Nurses

Following are some of the most common abbreviations and acronyms used by nurses and other medical staff as part of their daily duties. These medical abbreviations are commonly found on patient charts and other official records.

  • Abd - Abdomen
  • A&D - Admission and discharge
  • ADL - Activities of daily living
  • Amb - Ambulatory, able to walk
  • Amt - Amount
  • AP - Appendectomy
  • Cath - Catheter
  • CBC - Complete blood count
  • CCU - Cardiac care unit/ coronary care unit
  • CBR - Complete bed rest
  • C/O - Complaint of
  • CVA - Cerebrovascular accident or stroke
  • CPR - Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • DC or d/c - Discontinue
  • DX - Diagnosis
  • ECG - Electrocardiogram
  • EEG - Electroencephalogram
  • FBS - Fasting blood sugar
  • FF - Forced feeding or forced fluids
  • Fx - Fracture
  • GI - Gastrointestinal
  • Gtt - Glucose tolerance test
  • Gyn - Gynecology
  • HOB - Head of bed
  • ICU - Intensive care unit
  • I&O - Intake and output
  • Isol - Isolation
  • IV - Intravenous
  • Noct - At night
  • NPO - Nothing by mouth
  • PAR - Postanesthesia room
  • PO - By mouth
  • Post op spec - After surgery urine specimen
  • PT - Patient, pint
  • ROM - Range of motion
  • SOB - Shortness of breath
  • Stat - At once, immediately
  • TPR - Temperature, pulse, respiration
  • U/A - Urinalysis
  • VS - Vital signs
  • W/C - Wheel chair

You can find nurses using these abbreviations in hospitals, doctors offices, at blood drives, in nursing homes, in clinics, and when educating the public.

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Taking Care of You

Do you find yourself utterly confused by all the abbreviations and titles being thrown around at the hospital or medical clinic? Do you know your allergist from your dematologist? This list and our general medical abbreviations list should clarify what care your medical professional is providing you with.