What are some important abbreviations I should be familiar with?

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    What are some important abbreviations I should be familiar with as an LVN/LPN?
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  3. 22 Comments so far...

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    No one abbreviation is more or less important than another. So you'll need to know them all. Just be aware that there are 2 kinds of abbreviations - those by accredited, accepted and recognized sources that publish consistently used abbreviations by healthcare practitioners. These can usually be found in textbooks or from medical records depts.

    Then there are the made-up ones. That differ from facility to facility, practitioner to practiotioner!! These are the SCAREY ones. Some are discipine-specific, like in therapy or ortho. But some are just off-the-wall, made up by whomever is writing at the time.

    You can see the abundance of abbreviations here on AN that freq need clarication.

    Be careful and be absolutely sure of what you're reading/writing. Confirm with another as nec.
    BrandonLPN and poppycat like this.
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    When I was a new grad, I would use a ton of abbreviations and shorthand in my nurses notes cause it made me feel all "nursey". As time passed I realized that was pretty silly. The goal is clarity above all else. And nothing is more clear than just writing the word out. Instead of that 'p' with the little line over it, just write 'after'. Instead of 'os', just write 'left eye'. I don't even like the 'more than' or 'less than' symbols. If I were in charge everyone would have to just write the whole word out every time. And no cursive!
    amoLucia likes this.
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    Quote from NursingBro
    What are some important abbreviations I should be familiar with as an LVN/LPN?
    The facility I work at has a list of approved abbreviations. These are official and legal (can stand up in court). Find out if the facility you work for has such a list, and if it is official. If not, try to avoid abbreviations unless you are 100% sure it is official. It's just safer that way. There is also a list of abbreviations we are not to use. It's helpful.
  7. 1
    Quote from CelticGoddess
    The facility I work at has a list of approved abbreviations. These are official and legal (can stand up in court). Find out if the facility you work for has such a list, and if it is official. If not, try to avoid abbreviations unless you are 100% sure it is official. It's just safer that way. There is also a list of abbreviations we are not to use. It's helpful.
    I also worked at one place that had an approved list - it did cut down on the craziy abbreviations.

    It can really be problemsome when unknown ones are used in error. I once tried tostart a care plan based on an abbreviated diagnosis - I should have known better!!! There were no related meds, nor could I find any hospital chart info. The admitting nurse made up the abbrev.

    But on a telemetry unit, I read "pt experiencing ST". Take a guess - sinus tach or sore throat?? Hint - it WAS NOT an arrythmia!
    BrandonLPN likes this.
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    I have worked in Dr's offices, SNF & now hospital and I will tell you, the only abbreviations that should be used are ex
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    I have worked at several different medical facilities (Dr's offices, insurance company, SNF & hospital) & the only abbreviations which I feel should be used are medical abbreviations. I got this in a terminology course during my LVN program. All of the documentation policies varied in each facility I worked at & the only similarity were the medical terms. At my hospital we write mostly everything out. At least I do as I am one of the nurses whom have the most documentation, as this is how I was taught by my preceptor. Let me tell you, no one has ever complained or said they could not read what I wrote. Not only is my documentation clear, I print everything as I feel it is most professional.
    amoLucia likes this.
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    Quote from 1pinknurse
    I have worked in Dr's offices, SNF & now hospital and I will tell you, the only abbreviations that should be used are ex
    Please disregard as I wasn't done. LOL
  11. 1
    My first semester of RN school we had a quiz on the most common abbreviations. Things such as lpm, TENS, c ("with"), s ("without"), and some others I don't remember .

    As others have said, each facility defines approved abbreviations and it is important to stick with those abbreviations and use them correctly. For instance, at one place I worked Rt. (with the capital R, lowercase t, and the period) was "right." RT (capital R and T, no punctuation) was "respiratory therapy." Now I believe it's fairly unlikely that those would be confused if you were reading charting where the wrong abbreviation is used...but, hey, you never know. It would mean big trouble for you if a pt. was harmed based on your use of a non-approved abbreviation. Point is, stick to the abbreviations approved by your facility.
    amoLucia likes this.
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    I have seen older doctors use abreviations and symbols that I have never seen .. it is helpful if you know them so you will be able to read orders.


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