List of Common Nursing Acronyms and Abbreviations

LOL. BRB. TTYL. Those are just some of the most common abbreviations people use when conversing online or even through texts nowadays. Sometimes, you would even hear people muttering those three or four letter abbreviations instead of uttering the whole thing. Maybe it’s to save time, or maybe others use it to look cool, but one thing’s for sure – it’s undeniable, abbreviations and acronyms are the trend now. It’s what’s ‘in,’ thus, people prefer to incorporate them when communicating no matter how confusing they can sometimes get.

And of course, the nursing profession wouldn’t want to be left out in this as I is up to date with the latest trends. We also have our own version. What they are? Let’s find out.

The following are some of the most common abbreviations used in the nursing profession.

  • Abd – Abdomen
  • A&D – Admission and discharge
  • ADL – Activities of daily living
  • Amb – Ambulatory, able to walk
  • Amt – Amount
  • AP – Appendectomy
  • Cath – Catheter
  • CBC – Complete blood count
  • CCU – Cardiac care unit/ coronary care unit
  • CBR – Complete bed rest
  • C/O – Complaint of
  • CVA – Cerebrovascular accident or stroke
  • CPR – Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • DC or d/c – Discontinue
  • DX – Diagnosis
  • ECG – 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 – Nothing by mouth
  • PAR – Postanesthesia room
  • PO – By mouth
  • Post op spec – After surgery urine specimen
  • PT – Patient, pint
  • ROM – Range of motion
  • SOB – Shortness of breath
  • Stat – At once, immediately
  • TPR – Temperature, pulse, respiration
  • U/A – Urinalysis
  • VS – Vital signs
  • W/C – Wheel chair

How cool is it that we also get to use abbreviations in our chosen profession? Very, right? However, though we are allowed to use acronyms and abbreviations now, it is important that we remember to use only those familiar and refrain from using what’s out of the ordinary so as to prevent confusion. Remember, we hold a critical job, and in a job like ours, even the littlest mistakes and the slightest misunderstandings can create grave consequences.



Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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