Sharpening Your Nursing Vocabularies

One of the main reasons why nursing is considered a calling is because of effective communication. Nurses coordinate communication between doctors and patients to ensure a smooth healthcare process. A doctor depends on a nurse to know how a patient is recuperating. On the other hand, a patient may also want to know their current health progress. If you are interested in learning how to become an RN or sharpening your proficiency in the nursing language, pay attention to the following phrases.

1.      Get me a banana bag

A banana bag terminology may apply if a patient lacks nutrients such as vitamins, water and salt. In simple terms, a banana bag is a yellowish bag that is used to carry IV fluid, meant for patients with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. So if your patient needs a banana bag, all you need is to tell it like it is.

2.      Walkie-talkie

A walkie-talkie is a commonly used gadget in law enforcement to communicate messages needing instant replies. In the nursing world, a walkie-talkie is an inpatient whose discharge period is drawing near. The patient can go to the bathroom without any help, risk falling as they walk, and eat by themselves. So if you are sitting in for your fellow nurse and they nickname their patient as a walkie-talkie, start preparing for their discharge.

3.      Frequent flyer

Some patients come to receive a one-time treatment and leave for good. Others frequent the ER services due to chronic conditions. A frequent flyer is a term used to describe the latter. If a patient comes to the hospital regularly, they become familiar with nurses, hence the regular name; flyer.

4.      That is a sundowner

Elderly patients with chronic physical or mental conditions face a lot of difficulties while navigating their sunset years. Some of them lose their patience when nothing works according to their wishes. In such a case, nurses refer to such a patient as a sundowner. Interestingly, the term may apply when describing a patient who is having difficulty managing their emotions. Such a patient may be joyful in one minute and be agitated in the next. Whatever the case, sundowners reflect a patient's emotional status.

5.      Hat

A pan is often placed on top of a toilet bowl in the nursing world to collect urine for measurement and can sometimes be referred to as a hat. Hat terminology is commonly used by nurses caring for patients with kidney or heart failure. A hat helps a nurse to see if a patient's organs are responding to treatment. The next time you want a fellow nurse to pass you a hat, know it is the urine collection pan.

6.      WNL

WNL stands for within standard limit. It is a terminology nurses use to chart their patients' records. For example, if a nurse records patients with neurological issues, they will use terms such as Neuro: WNL.

7.      Code brown

Brown is a color used to describe a patient who has soiled their bedding. Patients with bowel conditions or pregnancy are likely to suffer from bowel incontinence. Nurses use the brown code terminology to signal other nurses to get materials necessary to clean the patient’s bedding. The code brown terminology is a way of saying your patient has soiled their bedding without sounding uncouth. The next time your fellow nurse uses this term, get all the materials ready.

8.      OOB

This is a term nurses use to refer to patients who need assistance in lying in bed all the time for the rest of their hospitalization. Such patients require a comfortable bed position after surgery or other physical limitations.

Are you looking for more nursing vocabulary?

Some of these terminologies have been in existence since nursing started. Using nursing-related coded language is a beautiful experience that can make your patients feel at ease when discussing sensitive issues that concern them with your colleagues. The goal isn’t to make ridicule out of your patients when they need you the most. Instead, nursing vocabularies help nurses to relay information to each other. Some terms are easy to grasp. Others may take time to master. In all you do, ensure you use the correct words at the right moment. Please don't assume junior or senior nurses have grasped these vocabularies. The best way to avoid confusion is through practice.

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