Learning medical abbreviations can pose a few problems. You only have to look on the internet or in most medical terminology books to find lists as long as your arm. Many abbreviations are used in prescription writing and in the language used when administering drugs or medicine.
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The following are the most commonly used:
From 'statim' meaing 'immediately'. Stat doses are usually given in emergency situations. You'll hear this a lot on ER. "Give him a stat dose of narcan and monitor his breathing".
From 'pro re nata' meaning 'in the circumstances' or 'as and when required'. 'PRN' prescriptions are forward thinking and proactive. If a patient is admitted with a condition that has or may develop symptoms such as a fever, nausea, vomiting or pain, nurses are able to give such drugs without asking the doctor to come and write it up.
OD, BD, TDS, QDS
You'll see this collection of abbreviations when referring to the frequency of drug administration.
OD = Once a day, BD = twice a day, TDS = three times a day, and QDS = four times a day.
PO, PR, PV
These abbreviations refer to the route of drug administration. PO is said and written when administering tablets, capsules or fluids orally or by mouth. PR is used when you you need to give an enema or suppository rectally. PR is also used when a doctor needs to perform a DRE digital (finger) rectal examination. PV is used when cream or a pessary needs to be given vaginally.
SC, IV, IM,
As with the above this family of abbreviations also refers to the route of drug administration, but only when a needle is involved. So when the patient needs some form of injection or cannula (venflon) insertion.
SC = subcutaneous, into the fatty tissue below the skin.
IV = intravenous, into a vein.
IM = intramuscular, into a muscle.
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