Jump to content

What are some important abbreviations I should be familiar with?

First Year   (5,748 Views 23 Comments)
by NursingBro NursingBro (Member) Member

NursingBro has 5 years experience .

6,367 Profile Views; 258 Posts

What are some important abbreviations I should be familiar with as an LVN/LPN?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

amoLucia specializes in LTC.

5,192 Posts; 45,952 Profile Views

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BrandonLPN has 5 years experience as a LPN.

3,358 Posts; 35,354 Profile Views

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CelticGoddess has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Palliative, Onc, Med-Surg, Home Hospice.

1 Follower; 890 Posts; 11,408 Profile Views

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

amoLucia specializes in LTC.

5,192 Posts; 45,952 Profile Views

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefuldogmom has 7 years experience as a LVN and specializes in 4.

368 Posts; 6,734 Profile Views

I have worked in Dr's offices, SNF & now hospital and I will tell you, the only abbreviations that should be used are ex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefuldogmom has 7 years experience as a LVN and specializes in 4.

368 Posts; 6,734 Profile Views

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefuldogmom has 7 years experience as a LVN and specializes in 4.

368 Posts; 6,734 Profile Views

I have worked in Dr's offices' date=' SNF & now hospital and I will tell you, the only abbreviations that should be used are ex[/quote']

Please disregard as I wasn't done. LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

psu_213 has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant.

3,869 Posts; 27,832 Profile Views

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tainted1972 has 3 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in MR/DD.

271 Posts; 5,265 Profile Views

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NursingBro has 5 years experience.

258 Posts; 6,367 Profile Views

The reason I ask is my RN friend says there is a bully RN nurse that loves to use abbreviations for everything including illnesses.

The "bully RN" told her the client had ALS and 2 other abbreviations that she never heard of and the RN told her she shouldn't be working as an RN if she doesn't know the abbreviations. My friend wants me to start learning them so it doesnt happen to me whenever I start working as a LVN.

ALS was Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis the two other ones I can remember but I didnt know them either.

So Does anyone have a list of illness type abbrevations or any list of abbrevations that should be used universally in any state?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NursingBro has 5 years experience.

258 Posts; 6,367 Profile Views

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!

pt experiencing ST. I am getting more worried now :(

spinal tetanus? I just made this up but I have no idea what the ST stands for. What is it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×