The Ultimate Guide to Nursing Acronyms and Abbreviations


    GUIDE
    December 3, 2020
    The Ultimate Guide to Nursing Acronyms
    Kathleen Gaines
    By: Kathleen Gaines MSN, RN, BA, CBC

    By: Kathleen Gaines MSN, BA, RN, CBC

    Acronyms and abbreviations are used throughout nursing and the healthcare profession. At times, they can be incredibly confusing, especially because some abbreviations can mean multiple things.

    It can be extremely challenging, even for veteran nurses, and newer nurses are often left confused by the ongoing use of acronyms and abbreviations. This comprehensive guide will help you master the lingo!

    Find Nursing Programs

    Part One Types of Nurses

    Part Two Nursing Degrees

    Show Me Nursing Programs

    Part Three Nursing Exams & Tests

    • NCLEX-RN - National Council Licensure Examination Registered Nurse
    • NCLEX-PN - National Council Licensure Examination Practical Nurse
    • BLS - Basic Life Support
    • ACLS - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support
    • PALS - Pediatric Advanced Life Support
    • NRP - Neonatal Resuscitation Program
    • STABLE - Sugar, Temperature, Airway, Blood Pressure, Lab work, Emotional Support of the newborn
    • ECC - Emergency Cardiovascular Care

    Part Four Certifications

    • ACHPN – Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse
    • ALNC - Advanced Legal Nurse Consultant
    • AFN-BC - Advanced Forensic Nurses
    • BMTCN - Blood & Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse
    • CCCTM – Certified in Care Coordination and Transition Management
    • CCRN - Critical Care Registered Nurse
    • CEN – Certified Emergency Nurse
    • CFRN – Certified Flight Registered Nurse
    • CLC -  Certified Lactation Counselor
    • CLNC -  Certified Legal Nurse Consultant
    • CMSRN – Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse
    • CPON - Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse
    • RNC-NIC – Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing
    • RNC-OB – Inpatient Obstetric Nursing
    • SANE-A - Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Adult/Adolescent
    • SANE-P -  Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Pediatric
    • TCRN - Trauma Certified Registered Nurse

    Check out our complete list of nursing certifications.

    Part Five Common Hospital Units

    • ACU - Acute Care Unit
    • CCN - Continuing Care Nursery
    • CCU - Coronary Cardiac Unit
    • CICU - Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
    • ED - Emergency Department
    • ER - Emergency Room
    • HEM-ONC - Hematology-Oncology
    • ICCU - Intermediate Cardiac Care Unit 
    • ICU - Intensive Care Unit
    • L&D - Labor and Delivery
    • NBN - Newborn Nursery
    • NICU - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
    • OR - Operating Room
    • PACU - Post-Anesthesia Care Unit
    • PCU - Progressive Care Unit
    • PICU - Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
    • TCU - Transitional Care Unit
    • TICU - Trauma Intensive Care Unit
    • SDU - Special Delivery Unit
    • SICU - Surgical Intensive Care Unit
    • VICU - Vascular Intermediate Care Unit

    Part Six Medical Chart & Record Abbreviations & Acronyms

    • A&D - Admission and discharge
    • AAA - Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
    • AAT  - Animal Assisted Therapy
    • ABC - Airway, Breathing, Circulation
    • Abd - Abdomen
    • ABG - Arterial Blood Gas
    • ABG - Arterial Blood Gas
    • ABI - Ankle-Brachial Index
    • ABO - Blood Types
    • ABR - Absolute Bed Rest
    • Ac - Before Meals
    • ACL - Anterior cruciate ligament
    • AD - Advance Directive
    • ADH - Antidiuretic hormone
    • ADHD - Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
    • ADL - Activities of daily living
    • Ad lib - As Desired
    • ADR - Adverse drug reaction
    • AD - Right Ear
    • AEB - As Evidenced By
    • AED - Antiepileptic Drug
    • AF - Atrial Fibrillation
    • AF - Atrial Fibrillation
    • AFR - Acute renal failure
    • AGC - Atypical Glandular Cells
    • AHF - Antihemophilic Factor
    • AIDS- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
    • AIH - Autoimmune Hepatitis
    • AIHA - Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia
    • AIN - Acute Interstitial Nephritis
    • AKA - Above Knee Amputation or Alcoholic Ketoacidosis
    • AKI - Acute kidney injury
    • ALL - Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
    • ALP - Alkaline Phosphatase
    • ALT - Alanine Aminotransferase
    • ALTE - Apparent Life-Threatening Episode
    • AMA - Against Medical Advice
    • Amb - Ambulatory
    • AMI - Acute myocardial infarction
    • AML - Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
    • Amt - Amount
    • AN - Anorexia Nervosa
    • ANA - Antinuclear Antibody
    • ANCA - Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody
    • Angio - Angiogram
    • AP - Anterior/Posterior
    • AP - Appendectomy
    • AR - Aortic Regurgitation
    • ARB - Angiotensin Receptor Blocker
    • ARDS - Acute respiratory distress syndrome
    • ARF - Acute Renal Failure
    • AROM - Active Range of Motion
    • ARVD/C-Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy
    • ARR - Absolute Risk Reduction
    • ASA - Acetylsalicylic Acid (aspirin)
    • ASD - Atrial Septal Defect
    • AS - Left Ear or Aortic Stenosis
    • AST - Aspartate Aminotransferase
    • ATP - Adenosine Triphosphatase
    • AUS - Abdominal Ultrasound
    • AV - Atrioventricular
    • AVB - Atrioventricular Block
    • AVCD - Atrioventricular Canal Defect
    • AVN - Avascular Necrosis
    • AVP - Arginine Vasopressin
    • AXR - Abdominal X-ray
    • BA - Bone Age
    • B-ALL - B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia
    • BAS - Balloon Atrial Septostomy
    • BB- Beta Blocker
    • BE - Barium Enema
    • BG - Blood Glucose
    • BiPAP - Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure
    • BKA - Below Knee Amputation
    • BLE - Bilateral Lower Extremity 
    • BM - Bowel Movement or Breastmilk
    • BMA - Bone Marrow Aspirate
    • BMD - Bone Mineral Density
    • BMI - Bone Mass Index 
    • BMP - Basic Metabolic Panel
    • BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate
    • BP - Blood Pressure
    • BPD - Borderline Personality Disorder
    • BPD - Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
    • BPH - Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy
    • BPM - Beats Per Minute
    • BrS- Brugada Syndrome
    • BSA - Body Surface Area
    • BSE - Breast Self Examination
    • BUE - Bilateral Upper Extremity
    • BUN - Blood Urea Nitrogen
    • C/O - Complaint of
    • C&S - Culture and Sensitivity
    • CaBG - Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
    • CAD - Coronary Artery Disease
    • CAM - Complementary/Alternative Medicine
    • Cath - Catheter
    • CBC - Complete blood count
    • CBD - Common Bile Duct
    • CBG - Capillary Blood Gas
    • CBR - Complete bed rest
    • CC - Chief Complaint
    • CEA - Carcinoembryonic Antigen
    • CHD - Congenital Heart Disease or Congenital Heart Defect
    • CHF - Congestive Heart Failure
    • CK - Creatine Kinase 
    • CL - Child Life Specialist
    • Cl - Chloride
    • CMP -  Complete Metabolic Panel 
    • CMV - Cytomegalovirus
    • CN - Cranial Nerve
    • CNS - Central Nervous System
    • COA - Coarctation of the Aorta
    • COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
    • CPAP: Continuous  POsitive Airway Pressure
    • CPK - Creatine Phosphokinase
    • CPR - Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
    • CPVT- Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia
    • Cr - Chromium
    • CRP - C-Reactive Protein
    • CRT- Cardiac resynchronization therapy
    • CSF - Cerebrospinal Fluid
    • CSM - Circulation, Sensation, Motion
    • CT - Computed Tomography
    • CT scan - Computerized Axial Tomography Scan
    • Cu - Copper
    • CVA - Cerebrovascular accident or stroke
    • CXR - Chest X-Ray
    • D&C - Dilation and Curettage
    • DCM- dilated cardiomyopathy
    • DC or d/c - Discontinue
    • DFT- Defibrillation threshold testing
    • DIS - Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation
    • DJD - Degenerative Joint Disease
    • DMD - Diabetes Mellitus
    • DNR - Do Not Resuscitate
    • DOA - Dead on Arrival
    • DOB - Date of Birth
    • DOE - Dyspnea on ExertionETOH - Alcohol
    • DORV - Double Outlet Right Ventricle
    • DVT - Deep Vein Thrombosis
    • Dx - Diagnosis
    • ECF - Extracellular Fluid
    • ECG - Electrocardiogram
    • ECMO - Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
    • ECT  - Electroconvulsive Therapy
    • EEG - Electroencephalogram
    • EEL - Emergency Exploratory Laparotomy
    • EENT - Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat
    • EJ - external jugular
    • EMG - Electromyogram
    • EMI- Electromagnetic interference
    • ERCP - Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography
    • ERT - Estrogen Replacement Therapy
    • ESR - Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate
    • ESRD - End Stage Renal Disease
    • ETT - Endotracheal Tube
    • EVAD - Explantable Venous Access Device
    • FAS - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
    • FBD - Functional Bowel Disease
    • FBE - Foreign Body Extraction
    • FBM - Fortified Breast Milk
    • FBS - Fasting blood sugar
    • FCU - Flexor Carpi Ulnaris
    • FDP - Flexor Digitorum Profundus
    • FDS - Flexor Digitorum Superficialis 
    • FESS - Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
    • FF - Forced feeding or forced fluids
    • FFP - Fresh Frozen Plasma
    • FOBT - Fecal Occult Blood Test
    • FSH - Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
    • FTP - Failure To Progress
    • FTT - Failure To Thrive
    • FTSG - Full Thickness Skin Grafting
    • FVD - Fluid Volume Deficit
    • FVS - Fetal Valproate Syndrome
    • Fx - Fracture
    • GB - Gallbladder
    • GBS - Group B Streptococcus
    • GCE - Glycine Encephalopathy
    • GCS - Glasgow Coma Scale
    • GDD - Global Developmental Delay 
    • GERD - Gastroesophageal Reflux
    • GFR - Glomerular Filtration Rate
    • GH - Growth Hormone
    • GI - Gastrointestinal
    • GT - Gastronomy Tube
    • gtt/min - Drops per minute
    • Gtt - drop
    • GTT - Glucose tolerance test
    • GUI - Genitourinary
    • Gyn - Gynecology
    • GYN - Gynecology
    • H&H - Hemoglobin and Hematocrit
    • hCG - Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
    • HC - Head Circumference
    • HCM- hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
    • Hct - Hematocrit
    • HDL - High Density Lipoprotein
    • Hep B - Hepatitis B
    • HEENT - Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose, and Throat
    • HFJV - High Frequency Jet Ventilation
    • HFNC - High Flow Nasal Cannula
    • HFOV - High Frequency Oscillator Ventilator
    • HFV - High Frequency Ventilation
    • Hgb - Hemoglobin
    • HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus
    • HMF - Human Milk Fortifier
    • HM - Human Milk
    • HOB - Head of bed
    • HPI - History of Present Illness
    • HPT - Hemoperitoneum
    • HR - Heart Rate
    • HRT - Hormone Replacement Therapy
    • HTN - Hypertension
    • HUS - Head Ultrasound
    • I&D - Incision and Drainage
    • I&O - Intake and output
    • IAB - Induced Abortion
    • IBG - Iliac Bone Graft
    • IBS - Irritable bowel syndrome 
    • ICD- Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
    • ICF - Intracellular fluid
    • ICS - Intercostal Space
    • IDDM - Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
    • ID - Intradermal
    • IDM - Infant of Diabetic Mother
    • IgG - Immunoglobulin G
    • IgM - Immunoglobulin M
    • IIH - Indirect Inguinal Hernia
    • IJ - internal jugular
    • IM - Intramuscular
    • IMV - Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation
    • In vivo - in the body
    • IPF - Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
    • Isol - Isolation
    • IUFD - Intrauterine Fetal Demise
    • IUGR - Intrauterine Growth Restriction
    • IUI - Intrauterine Insemination
    • IU - International units
    • IVAD - Implantable Vascular Access Device
    • IVC - Inferior Vena Cava
    • IVF - In Vitro Fertilization
    • IVH - Intraventricular Hemorrhage
    • IV - Intravenous
    • IVPB - intravenous Piggyback
    • IVP - Intravenous Push
    • KCL - Potassium Chloride
    • KD - Kawasaki Disease
    • Kg - kilogram
    • KUB - Kidneys/Ureters/Bladder
    • KVO - Keep Vein Open
    • LBBB- left bundle branch block
    • LDL - Low Density Lipoprotein
    • LE - Lupus Erythematosus
    • LES - Lower Esophageal Sphincter
    • LFT - Liver Function Test
    • LGA - Large for Gestational Age
    • LH - Luteinizing Hormone
    • LLE - Left Lower Extremity
    • LLSB - Lower Left Sternal Border
    • LMP - Last Menstrual Period
    • LOC- Level of Consciousness
    • LP - Lumbar Puncture
    • LQTS- Long QT syndrome
    • LSB - Left Sternal Border
    • LUE - Left Upper Extremity
    • LUQ - Left Upper Quadrant
    • MAOI - Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor
    • MAO - Monoamine Oxidase
    • MAP - Mean Airway Pressure
    • MAR - Medication Administration Record
    • MAS - Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
    • MCL - Medial Collateral Ligament
    • MCL - Midclavicular Line
    • MDI - Metered-Dose Inhaler
    • MDR - Multidrug-Resistant
    • MICU - Medical Intensive Care Unit
    • MI - Myocardial Infarction
    • mL - Milliliter
    • MMR - Measles, Mumps, Rubella
    • MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • MRSA - Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
    • MS - Morphine Sulfate
    • N/V - Nausea or vomiting
    • NaCl - Sodium Chloride
    • NA - Not applicable
    • NC - Nasal Cannula
    • NG - Nasogastric
    • NICU - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
    • Noct - At night
    • NO - Nitric Oxide
    • NPO - Nothing by mouth
    • NS - Normal Saline
    • NSR - Normal Sinus Rhythm
    • NTD - Neural Tube Defect
    • OB - Obstetrics
    • Obs - Observation
    • OD - Right Eye
    • OG - oral - gastric tube
    • Oint. - Ointment
    • ORIF - Open Reduction/Internal Fixation
    • OS - Left Eye
    • OTC - Over the counter
    • OT - Occupational Therapist
    • OU - Both Eyes
    • PAC- Premature Atrial Contraction
    • PAF - Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation
    • PCA - Patient-Controlled Analgesia
    • PCL - Posterior cruciate ligament
    • PCP - Primary Care Provider
    • PC - Pressure Control
    • PCR - Polymerase Chain Reaction
    • PDA - Patent Ductus Arteriosus
    • PE - Pulmonary embolism
    • PERRLA - Pupils Equal, Round, Reactive to Light and Accommodation
    • PFO - Patent Foramen Ovale
    • PFT - Pulmonary Function Test
    • PICC - Peripherally inserted central catheter
    • PIE - Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema
    • PIH - Pregnancy Induced Hypertension
    • PIP - Peak Inspiratory Pressure
    • PKU - Phenylketonuria
    • PLSVC- Persistent Left superior vena cava
    • PMH - Past Medical History
    • PMS - Premenstrual Syndrome
    • PNS - Peripheral Nervous System
    • PO - By mouth
    • Post-op spec - After surgery urine specimen
    • PPBS - Post-Prandial Blood Sugar
    • PPE - Personal Protective Equipment
    • PPHN - Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension
    • PPS - Peripheral Pulmonic Stenosis
    • PROM - Passive Range of Motion
    • PROM - Premature Rupture of Membrane
    • PS - Pressure Support 
    • PTL - Preterm Labor
    • PT - Patient, pint
    • PT - Physical Therapist
    • PTT - Partial Thromboplastin Time
    • PVC- Premature Ventricular Contraction
    • PVD - Peripheral Vascular Disease
    • PVL - Periventricular Leukomalacia
    • Qd - every day
    • Qh - every hour
    • Qid - four times a day
    • Qod - every other day
    • QTc- corrected QT interval
    • R/T - Related to
    • RA - Room Air
    • RBBB- Right bundle branch block
    • RBC - Red Blood Count
    • RCM - Right Costal Margin
    • RDS - Respiratory Distress Syndrome
    • REM - Rapid Eye Movement
    • RLQ - Right Lower Quadrant
    • RLS - Restless Leg Syndrome
    • RLU - Right Lower Extremity
    • ROM - Range of motion
    • ROS - Review of System
    • RPR - Rapid Plasma Reagin
    • RSB - Right Sternal Border
    • RUE - Right Upper Extremity
    • RUQ - Right Upper Quadrant
    • RV - Residual Volume
    • SC/SQ - Subcutaneous
    • SCI - Spinal Cord Injury
    • SGA - Small for Gestational Age
    • SICU - Surgical Intensive Care Unit
    • SIDS - Sudden infant death syndrome
    • SIMV - Synchronized Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation
    • SL - Sublingual
    • SOAP - Subjective Data, Objective Data, Assessment, Plan
    • SOB - Shortness of breath
    • SQTS- Short QT Syndrome
    • SSS- sick sinus syndrome
    • Stat - At once, immediately
    • STD - Sexually Transmitted Disease
    • ST- Sinus Tachycardia
    • ST - Speech Therapist
    • Supp - Suppository
    • Susp - Suspension
    • SVC - Superior Vena Cava
    • SVT - Supraventricular tachycardia
    • SVT- supraventricular tachycardia
    • SVT- Sustained Ventricular Tachycardia
    • TAPVR - Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return
    • TA - Truncus Arteriosus
    • TBC - Total Body Cooling
    • TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury
    • TB - Tuberculosis
    • TCM - Transcutaneous Monitor
    • TEN - Total Enteral Nutrition
    • TF - Tube Feeding
    • THA - Total Hip Arthroplasty
    • TIA - Transient Ischemic Attack
    • TICU - Trauma Intensive Care Unit
    • TOF - Tetralogy of Fallot
    • TPN - Total Parenteral Nutrition
    • TPR - Temperature, pulse, respiration
    • Trach - Tracheostomy
    • TSE - Testicular Self Examination
    • TSH - Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone
    • TTN - Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn
    • U/A - Urinalysis
    • UAC - Umbilical Arterial Catheter
    • ULQ - Upper Left Quadrant
    • URQ - Upper Right Quadrant 
    • US - Ultrasound
    • UTI - Urinary Tract Infection
    • UVC - Umbilical Venous Catheter
    • VAD - Ventricular Assist Device, Vascular Access Device
    • VBG - Venous Blood Gas
    • VF- Ventricular fibrillation
    • VLDL - Very Low-Density Lipoprotein
    • VRE - Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci
    • VSD - Ventricular Septal Defect
    • VS - Vital signs
    • VT- Ventricular tachycardia
    • VUS- Variant of unknown significance
    • W/C - Wheelchair
    • WBC - White Blood Count
    • WNL - Within Normal Limits
    • WPW- Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome

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