Medical Terminology

Nursing Students General Students


I will be starting the first year of a two-year nursing program this fall. I do not have any medical background. My question is this: Do you learn medical terminology in your first semester? I found a few tutorial books at the bookstore and was wondering if I should invest money and time into this before I start in August. Also: Are there any nursing books that kind of cover the basics? Like a pocket nursing-guide? I thought that maybe it'd be a good idea to review such a book (if it exists) before school starts. Thanks! :rolleyes:

If medical terminology isn't a prerequisite or requirement of your nursing program then that is an excellent idea. This is my second try at nursing school and it wasn't a prereq in the program I attended the first time. It definitely hurt me not having a basic grasp on terminology. I have taken it since then and it will be a big help to you. I plan to get some books to refresh on this since it has been a while since I took it.


Specializes in ER/SICU.

I wish I had taken one before i started. I just got some books and tried to learn while in my first semester of the clinicals it was hard but it makes taking the test much easier is you can breakdown words even ones you dont know if you can get a general idea. I would use this summer to learn abbreviations and suffix and prefixs

I would definately take a few weeks to look over med term books. Calculate with Confidence by Gray is a good book to learn drug terms, and how to figure dosages, plus all the abrevs.

Look into taking an excelerated Anatomy and Physiology class, which will help with all of the term and prefixes.

good luck!


Senior BSN student

Truman State University


In my nursing term is a prereq. I took it the second semester while I was taking my anatomy class and it really helped me. I highly recommend it.


Learn as much terminology as possible. You will find it extremely helpful. Especially root words, prefixes ,and suffix (ex: osteo; uro; endo; exo; cardio; derm; algia). I could go on forever but won't.

Anything and everything you learn will be helpful, but I am a big believer in "learning the language" of your profession.

Good luck in school.

I agree with learning as much medical terminology (roots, prefixes, and suffixes) as possible. It has helped me with many tests.

The one thing I don't agree with though is taking an excellerated Anatomy & Physiology course. This course is tough enough, especially if you have no medical background. I just finished an exellerated A&P I, it was really tough, and I had taken it about 15 years ago. A&P is VERY detailed, and I think that by taking an excellerated course that you may be setting yourself up for failure, especially if your school required a certain GPA to pass this course.

Learn as much medical terminology as you can before school starts and don't take an excellerated A&P. You'll do just fine! Good luck!!:)

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