Nursing Abbreviations: From Job Titles to Medical Terminology

, Staff Writer
Updated May 4, 2022
Blood Pressure Measurement of Female Senior Patient by Nurse
    Blood Pressure Measurement of Female Senior Patient by Nurse
    PixelsEffect / E+/ Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

Some nursing abbreviations are common throughout the profession, while some hospitals and other institutions have their own unique abbreviations. Most schools have their future nurses buy a dictionary of nursing abbreviations as one of their textbooks, but we’ll save you the price of admission with some of the most common nursing abbreviations.

Nursing Abbreviations for Roles and Jobs

Just as there are many types of doctors and technicians who work in hospitals and other medical settings, not all nurses are alike either. The various roles, jobs and responsibilities can vary based on education, experience and rank.

  • APRN - Advanced practice registered nurse
  • CHPCA - Certified hospice and palliative care administrator
  • CNA - Certified nursing assistant
  • CNM - Certified nurse-midwife
  • CRN - Certified radiology nurse
  • CRNA - Certified registered nurse anesthetist
  • LPN - Licensed practical nurse
  • LVN - Licensed vocational nurse
  • NA - Nurses’ aide or nursing assistant
  • NP - Nurse practitioner
  • OCN - Oncology certified nurse
  • PRN - Pro re nata (per diem nurse)
  • RN - Registered nurse

Nursing Education Abbreviations

In order to be eligible for any of the nursing jobs listed above, you most often need to pursue specific levels of education, training and experience. Some of the more common nursing abbreviations regarding programs, degrees and certifications include the following.

  • ADN - Associate Degree in Nursing
  • ASN - Associate of Science in Nursing
  • BSN - Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • MSN - Master of Science in Nursing
  • NCLEX-PN - National Council Licensure Examination Practical Nurse
  • NCLEX-RN - National Council Licensure Examination Registered Nurse
  • NCSBN - National Council of State Boards of Nursing
  • PND - Practical Nursing Diploma

Acronyms and Abbreviations Used by Nurses

The following are some of the most common abbreviations and acronyms used by nurses and other medical staff as part of their daily duties. These medical abbreviations are commonly found on patient charts and other official records.

  • Abd - Abdomen
  • A&D - Admission and discharge
  • ADL - Activities of daily living
  • Amb - Ambulatory, able to walk
  • Amt - Amount
  • AP - Appendectomy, anterior/posterior, apical pulse
  • Cath - Catheter
  • CBC - Complete blood count
  • CCU or CICU - Cardiac care unit or coronary care unit
  • CBR - Complete bed rest
  • ABR - Absolute bed rest
  • C/O - Complaint of
  • CVA - Cerebrovascular accident or stroke
  • CPR - Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • DC or d/c - Discontinue or discharge
  • DX - Diagnosis
  • ECG or EKG - Electrocardiogram
  • EEG - Electroencephalogram
  • FBS - Fasting blood sugar
  • FF - Forced feeding or forced fluids
  • Fx - Fracture
  • GI - Gastrointestinal
  • GTT - Glucose tolerance test
  • Gyn - Gynecology
  • HOB - Head of bed
  • ICU - Intensive care unit
  • I&O - Intake and output
  • Isol - Isolation
  • IV - Intravenous
  • Noct - At night
  • NPO - Nil per os (Latin meaning “nothing by mouth”)
  • PAR - Postanesthesia room
  • PO - Per os (Latin meaning “by mouth”)
  • Post op spec - After surgery urine specimen
  • PT - Patient or physical therapist
  • pt - Pint
  • ROM - Range of motion
  • PROM - Passive range of motion
  • SOB - Shortness of breath
  • Stat - Statim (Latin meaning “immediately”)
  • TPR - Temperature, pulse, respiration
  • UA or U/A - Urinalysis
  • VS - Vital signs
  • W/C - Wheelchair

You can find nurses using these abbreviations in hospitals, at doctor's offices, at blood drives, in nursing homes, in clinics, and when educating the public.


Taking Care of You

Do you find yourself utterly confused by all the abbreviations and titles being thrown around at the hospital or medical clinic? Do you know your allergist from your dermatologist? This list and our general medical abbreviations list should provide some clarity.