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Glossary

  • Page ID
    48799
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    Glossary Entries
    Word(s) Definition Image Caption Link Source
    15-15 Rule A rule in an agency’s hypoglycemia protocols that includes providing 15 grams of carbohydrate, then repeating the blood glucose reading in 15 minutes, and then repeating as needed until the patient’s blood glucose reading is above 70.        
    ABCDE A mnemonic for assessing for melanoma developing in moles: Asymmetrical, Borders are irregular in shape, Color is various shades of brown or black, Diameter is larger than 6 mm., and the shape of the mole is Evolving.        
    Abduction Joint movement away from the midline of the body.        
    Accessory muscles Muscles other than the diaphragm and intercostal muscles that may be used for labored breathing.        
    Accommodation The ability of the eye to adjust from near vision to far vision. Pupils constrict at near vision and dilate at far vision.        
    Active range of motion The degree of movement a patient can voluntarily achieve in a joint without assistance.        
    Activities of daily living Daily basic tasks fundamental to everyday functioning (e.g., hygiene, elimination, dressing, eating, ambulating/moving).        
    Acute otitis media The medical diagnosis for a middle ear infection.        
    Adduction Joint movement toward the middle line of the body.        
    Affect Outward display of one’s emotional state. A “flat” affect with little display of emotion is associated with depression.        
    AIDET Mnemonic for introducing oneself in health care that includes Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, and Thank You.[1]        
    Airborne precautions Infection prevention and control interventions to be used in addition to standard precautions for diseases spread by airborne transmission, such as measles and tuberculosis.        
    Ampules Small glass containers of liquid medication ranging from 1 mL to 10 mL sizes.        
    Angiogenesis The development of new capillaries in a wound base.        
    Anosmia Partial or complete loss of smell. This symptom can be related to underlying cranial nerve dysfunction or other nonpathological causes such as a common cold.        
    Apnea Absence of respirations.        
    Apocrine sweat gland Sweat glands associated with hair follicles in densely hairy areas that release organic compounds subject to bacterial decomposition causing odor.        
    Around the Clock (ATC) order An order that reflects that medication should be administered at regular time intervals, such as every six hours, to maintain consistent levels of the drug in the patient’s bloodstream        
    arterial blood gas (ABG), ABG A sample of arterial blood that measures the oxygen, carbon dioxide, and bicarbonate levels.        
    Arterial ulcers Ulcers caused by lack of blood flow and oxygenation to tissues and typically occur in the distal areas of the body such as the feet, heels, and toes.        
    Arthroplasty Joint replacement surgery.        
    Arthroscopic surgery A surgical procedure involving a small incision and the insertion of an arthroscope, a pencil-thin instrument that allows for visualization of the joint interior. Small surgical instruments are inserted via additional incisions to remove or repair ligaments and other joint structures.        
    Articular cartilage Smooth, white tissue that covers the ends of bones where they come together at joints, allowing them to glide over each other with very little friction. Articular cartilage can be damaged by injury or normal wear and tear.        
    Asepsis A state of being free of disease-causing microorganisms.        
    Aseptic non-touch technique A standardized technique, supported by evidence, to maintain asepsis and standardize practice.        
    Aseptic technique  The purposeful reduction of pathogen numbers while preventing microorganism transfer from one person or object to another. This technique is commonly used to perform invasive procedures, such as IV starts or urinary catheterization.        
    Aspiration pneumonia A type of lung infection caused by material from the stomach or mouth inadvertently entering the lungs that can be life-threatening.        
    Atelectasis Alveoli or an entire lung is collapsed, allowing no air movement.        
    Atrial fibrillation An irregular heartbeat that is often fast and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.        
    Auricle The large, fleshy structure of the ear on the lateral aspect of the head.        
    Auscultation Listening to sounds, such as heart, lung, and bowel sounds, created by organs using a stethoscope.        
    Babinski response A reflex demonstrated by the fanning of toes with the great toe pointed toward the back (dorsum) of the foot. In adults, the Babinski response is considered abnormal and an indication of motor neuron disease.        
    Barrel-chested An equal AP-to-transverse diameter that often occurs in patients with COPD due to hyperinflation of the lungs.        
    Belief Something accepted as true with a sense of certainty.[1]        
    Bladder scan A bedside test using a noninvasive tool used to measure the volume of urine in the bladder.        
    Blanching The whiteness that occurs when pressure is placed on tissue or a nail bed, causing blood to leave the area.        
    Bleb A small, raised circle that appears after administration of an intradermal medication indicating correct placement into the dermis.        
    BMI Body Mass Index; The measurement of body fat in adults, based on height and weight.        
    Body image A mental picture of one’s body related to appearance and function.[2]        
    Borborygmus Hyperperistalsis, often referred to as “stomach growling.”        
    Bradypnea Decreased respiratory rate or slow breath less than normal range according to the patient’s age.        
    Brain case Eight bones that protect the brain in the cranial cavity.        
    Broca’s area An area located in the frontal lobe that is responsible for the production of language and controlling movements responsible for speech.        
    Bronchial breath sounds High-pitched hollow sounds heard over trachea and the larynx.        
    Bronchovesicular sounds Mixture of low- and high-pitched sounds heard over major bronchi.        
    Bruit A swishing sound when auscultating the carotid arteries. This indicates turbulence in the blood vessel due to atherosclerotic changes.        
    Candidiasis A fungal infection often referred to as “thrush” when it occurs in the oral cavity in children.        
    Capillary refill The time it takes for color to return after pressure is applied to tissue causing blanching.        
    Care partners Family and friends who are involved in helping to care for the patient.        
    CAUTI Catheter-associated urinary tract infection.        
    Central nervous system The part of the nervous system that includes the brain (the interpretation center) and the spinal cord (the transmission pathway).        
    Cerebellum The part of the brain that coordinates skeletal and smooth muscle movement and maintains equilibrium and balance.        
    Cerebral cortex The cerebrum is covered by a wrinkled outer layer of gray matter.        
    Cerumen impaction A buildup of earwax causing occlusion of the ear canal.        
    Chief complaint The reason a patient is seeking health care during a visit to a clinic or on admission to a health care facility.        
    Cleft lip A birth defect caused by a partial or complete failure of the right and left portions of the upper lip to fuse together, leaving a gap in the lip.        
    Cleft palate A birth defect caused when two halves of the hard palate fail to completely come together and fuse at the midline, leaving a gap between them, and making it very difficult for an infant to generate the suckling needed for nursing.        
    Click Clicking sound heard on auscultation of the precordium; often heard in patients with heart valve abnormalities.        
    Clubbing A gradual enlargement of the fingertips with the angle between the skin and the nail base is greater than 160 degrees; occurs with chronic hypoxia or impaired tissue perfusion.        
    Clubfoot A congenital condition that causes the foot and lower leg to turn inward and downward.        
    Colostomy The colon is attached to a stoma to bypass the rectum and the anus.        
    Comatose A decreased level of consciousness with a score of less than 8 on the Glasgow Coma Scale.        
    Concussion A type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and damaging brain cells.        
    Conductive hearing loss Hearing loss that occurs when something in the external or middle ear is obstructing the transmission of sound.        
    Congenital condition A condition present at birth.        
    Conjunctiva Inner surface of the eyelid.        
    Conjunctivitis A viral or bacterial infection in the eye causing swelling and redness in the conjunctiva and sclera.        
    Contact precautions Infection prevention and control interventions to be used in addition to standard precautions for diseases spread by contact with the patient, their body fluids, or their surroundings, such as C-diff, MRSA, VRE, and RSV.        
    Contracture A fixed or permanent tightening of muscles, tendons, ligaments, or the skin that prevents normal movement of the body part.        
    Convergence The action of both eyes moving inward as they focus on a close object using near vision.        
    Cornea The transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber.        
    Coude catheter A catheter specifically designed to maneuver around obstructions or blockages in the urethra such as with enlarged prostate glands in males. Coude originates from the French word that means “bend.”        
    Crackles Also referred to as “rales”; sound like popping or crackling noises during inspiration. Associated with inflammation and fluid accumulation in the alveoli.        
    Crepitus Air trapped under a subcutaneous layer of the skin; creates a popping or crackling sensation as the area is palpated.        
    Cultural safety The creation of safe spaces for patients to interact with health professionals without judgment, racial reductionism, racialization, or discrimination.        
    Cyanosis Bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, and nail beds. It is an indication of decreased perfusion and oxygenation.        
    Debridement The removal of nonviable tissue in a wound.        
    Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) A blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body.        
    Dehiscence The separation of the edges of a surgical wound.        
    Deltoid Commonly used for intramuscular vaccinations in adults because it has a triangular shape and is easy to locate and access. The injection site is in the middle of the deltoid muscle, about 1 to 2 inches below the acromion process.        
    Dermatome An area of the skin that is supplied by a single spinal nerve.        
    Dermis The inner layer of skin with connective tissue, blood vessels, sweat glands, nerves, hair follicles, and other structures.        
    Developmental stages A person’s life span can be classified into nine categories of development, including Prenatal Development, Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Middle Childhood, Adolescence, Early Adulthood, Middle Adulthood, Late Adulthood, and Death and Dying.        
    Diabetic ulcers Ulcers that typically develop on the plantar aspect of the feet and toes of patients with diabetes due to lack of sensation of pressure or injury.        
    Diaphoretic Excessive, abnormal sweating.        
    Diastole The phase between each contraction of the heart when the ventricles are filling with blood.        
    Diastolic blood pressure The resting pressure of blood on the arteries between each cardiac contraction.        
    Dimensional analysis Dimensional analysis is a problem-solving technique where measurements are converted to a different (but equivalent) unit of measure by multiplying with a fractional form of 1 to obtain a desired unit of administration.        
    Diplopia Double vision (i.e., seeing two images of a single object).        
    Dislocation A joint injury that forces the ends of bones out of position; often caused by a fall or a blow to the joint.        
    Distention An expansion of the abdomen caused by the accumulation of air or fluid. Patients often report “feeling bloated.”        
    Doff To take off or remove personal protective equipment, such as gloves or a gown.        
    Don To put on equipment for personal protection, such as gloves or a gown.        
    Drop factor The number of drops in one mL of solution when fluids or medications are administered using gravity IV tubing.        
    Droplet precautions Infection prevention and control interventions to be used in addition to standard precautions; used for diseases spread by large respiratory droplets such as influenza, COVID-19, or pertussis.        
    Dry Powder Inhaler (DPI) An inhaler with medication provided in a powder form that is inhaled from the mouth into the lungs using a quick breath to activate the medication and move it into the lungs. An example of a DPI is tiotropium (Spiriva).        
    Ductus arteriosus Shunt that connects the pulmonary artery and aorta in the developing fetus.        
    Dysphagia Inability or difficulty swallowing.        
    Dysphasia Difficulty speaking.        
    Dyspnea Labored or difficulty breathing; the subjective feeling of not being able to get enough air; shortness of breath.        
    Dysuria Difficult or painful urination.        
    Ecchymosis Bruising that occurs when small veins and capillaries under the skin break.        
    Eccrine sweat gland Sweat gland that produces hypotonic sweat for thermoregulation.        
    Edema Swelling in tissues caused by fluid retention.        
    Elimination Refers to the removal of waste products through the urine and stool.        
    eMAR Electronic medication administration record contained in a patient’s electronic chart.        
    Enteral medications, enteral medication Medications that are administered directly into the gastrointestinal tract orally, rectally, or through a tube such as a nasogastric (NG) tube, nasointestinal (NI) tube, or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube.        
    Enteral Nutrition (EN) Nutrition provided directly into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract through an enteral tube that bypasses the oral cavity.        
    Epidermis The thin, uppermost layer of skin.        
    Epiglottis A flexible piece of cartilage that covers the opening of the trachea during swallowing to prevent ingested material from entering the trachea.        
    Epistaxis Nosebleed.        
    Epithelialization The development of new epidermis and granulation tissue.        
    Equivalency Two values or quantities that are the same amount. For example, one cup is equivalent to eight ounces.        
    Erythema A red color of the skin.        
    Eschar Dark brown/black, dry, thick, and leathery dead tissue in a wound base that must be removed for healing to occur.        
    Eustachian tube The tube connecting the middle ear to the pharynx that helps equilibrate air pressure across the tympanic membrane.        
    Extension Joint movement causing the straightening of limbs (increase in angle) at a joint.        
    Extraocular muscles Six muscles that control the movement of the eye within the orbit. Extraocular muscles are innervated by three cranial nerves, the abducens nerve, the trochlear nerve, and the oculomotor nerve.        
    Extravasation The infiltration of damaging intravenous medications, such as chemotherapy, into the extravascular tissue around the site of infusion, causing tissue injury and possible necrosis.        
    Exudate Fluid that drains from a wound.        
    Facial drooping An asymmetrical facial expression that occurs due to damage of the nerve innervating a particular part of the face.        
    Family dynamics Patterns of interactions between family members that influence family structure, hierarchy, roles, values, and behaviors.        
    Fenestrated cannula Type of tracheostomy tube that contains holes so the patient can speak if the cuff is deflated and the inner cannula is removed.        
    FiO2 Fraction of inspired oxygen (i.e., the concentration of oxygen inhaled). Room air contains 21% oxygen levels, and oxygenation devices can increase the inhaled concentration of oxygen up to 100%. However, FiO2 levels should be decreased as soon as feasible to do so to prevent lung injury.        
    First-degree burn A superficial burn that affects only the epidermis.        
    Five moments of hand hygiene, Five Moments for Hand Hygiene Hand hygiene should be performed during the five moments of patient care: immediately before touching a patient; before performing an aseptic task or handling invasive devices; before moving from a soiled body site to a clean body site on a patient; after touching a patient or their immediate environment; after contact with blood, body fluids, or contaminated surfaces (with or without glove use); and immediately after glove removal.        
    Flange The end of the tracheostomy tube that is placed securely against the patient’s neck.        
    Flexion Joint movement causing the bending of the limbs (reduction of angle) at a joint.        
    Fluid volume excess (hypervolemia), fluid volume overload, hypervolemia A condition when there is too much fluid in the blood. Patients may present with shortness of breath, edema to the extremities, and weight gain.        
    Foot drop The inability to raise the front part of the foot due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot.        
    Fourth-degree burn Severe burn damaging the dermis and the underlying muscle and bone.        
    Fracture A broken bone.        
    Functional health The patient’s physical and mental capacity to participate in activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).        
    Gastric Residual Volume (GRV) Stomach contents aspirated with a 60-mL syringe, typically performed for patients receiving enteral feeding to assess aspiration risk with associated interventions such as slowing or stopping tube feeding. GRVs in the range of 200–500 mL should raise concern and lead to the implementation of measures to reduce risk of aspiration.        
    Gauge Refers to the diameter of a needle. Gauges can vary from very small diameter (25 to 29 gauge) to large diameter (18 to 22 gauge).        
    Gender expression Characteristics in appearance, personality, and behavior, culturally defined as masculine or feminine.[3]        
    Gender identity One’s basic sense of being male, female, or other gender.[4]        
    General survey assessment A component of a patient assessment that observes the entire patient as a whole. Observation includes using all five senses to gather cues that provide a guideline for additional focused assessments in areas of concern.        
    Goiter An abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland that can occur with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.        
    Gout A type of arthritis that causes swollen, red, hot, and stiff joints due to the buildup of uric acid, commonly starting in the big toe.        
    Granulation tissue New connective tissue in a wound base with fragile, thin-walled capillaries that must be protected.        
    Guarding Voluntary contraction of abdominal wall musculature; may be related to fear, anxiety, or presence of cold hands.        
    Hand hygiene A way of cleaning one’s hands to substantially reduce the number of pathogens and other contaminants (e.g., dirt, body fluids, chemicals, or other unwanted substances) to prevent disease transmission or integumentary harm, typically using soap, water, and friction. An alcohol-based hand rub solution may be appropriate hand hygiene for hands not visibly soiled.        
    HCO3 Bicarbonate level reflected in arterial blood gas results. Normal range is 22-26 meq/L.        
    Health history The process of using directed interview questions to obtain symptoms and perceptions about a patient’s illness or life condition. The purpose of obtaining a health history is to gather subjective data from the patient and/or the patient’s family so that the health care team and the patient can collaboratively create a plan that will promote health, address acute health problems, and minimize chronic health conditions.        
    Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs), healthcare-associated infections, HAIs Unintended infections caused by care received in a health care setting.        
    Heave or lift Palpable lifting sensation under the sternum and anterior chest wall to the left of the sternum; it suggests severe right ventricular hypertrophy.        
    Hematemesis The vomiting of blood.        
    Hematochezia Blood in the stool.        
    Hematoma An area of blood that collects outside of larger blood vessels that elevates the skin and looks like swelling.        
    Hemoptysis Blood-tinged mucus secretions from the lungs.        
    Hemosiderin staining Dark-colored discoloration of the lower legs due to blood pooling in the tissues.        
    Hemostasis phase The first phase of wound healing that occurs immediately after skin injury. Blood vessels constrict and clotting factors are activated.        
    Hyperactive bowel sounds Increased peristaltic activity; may be related to diarrhea, obstruction, or digestion of a meal.        
    Hypercapnia Elevated carbon dioxide levels in the blood, indicated by PaCO2 level greater than 45 in an ABG test.        
    Hyperglycemia Elevated blood glucose reading with associated signs and symptoms such as frequent urination and increased thirst.        
    Hypertension Elevated blood pressure over 130/80 mmHg in an adult.        
    Hypoactive bowel sounds Decreased peristaltic activity; may be related to constipation following abdominal surgery or with an ileus.        
    Hypodermis The layer of skin beneath the dermis composed of connective tissue and used for fat storage.        
    Hypoglycemia A blood glucose reading less than 70 associated with symptoms such as irritability, shakiness, hunger, weakness, or confusion. If not rapidly treated, hypoglycemia can cause seizures and a coma.        
    Hypotension Decreased blood pressure less than 90/60 mmHg in an adult.        
    Hypothalamus The autonomic control center of the brain that controls functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestive movement, and pain perception.        
    Hypoxemia Decreased levels of oxygen in the blood; dissolved oxygen in the arterial blood, indicated by a PaO2 level less than 80 mmHg in an ABG test.        
    Hypoxia A reduced level of tissue oxygenation.        
    Ileostomy The lower end of the small intestine (ileum) is attached to a stoma to bypass the colon, rectum, and anus.        
    Incident report A report submitted per agency policy used to document the events surrounding a medication error.        
    Induration Area of hardened tissue.        
    Indwelling catheter A device often referred to as a “Foley catheter” that is inserted into the neck of the bladder and remains in place for continual collection of urine into a collection bag.        
    Infiltration Infiltration occurs when the tip of the IV catheter slips out of the vein, the catheter passes through the wall of the vein, or the blood vessel wall allows part of the fluid to infuse into the surrounding tissue, resulting in the leakage of IV fluids into the surrounding tissue.        
    Inflammatory phase The second phase of wound healing when vasodilation occurs so that white blood cells in the bloodstream can move into the wound to start cleaning the wound bed.        
    Inner cannula The cannula inside the outer cannula that is removed during tracheostomy care by the nurse. Inner cannulas can be disposable or reusable with appropriate cleaning.        
    Innunction A medication that is massaged or rubbed into the skin.        
    Inspection The observation of a patient’s anatomical structures.        
    Instrumental activities of daily living Complex daily tasks that allow patients to function independently such as managing finances, paying bills, purchasing and preparing meals, managing one’s household, taking medications, and facilitating transportation.        
    Intermittent catheterization The insertion and removal of a straight catheter for relief of urinary retention.        
    Intradermal injection Medication administered in the dermis just below the epidermis.        
    Intramuscular injection Medication administered into a muscle.        
    Intravenous injection Medication administered directly into the bloodstream.        
    Iris Colored part of the eye.        
    Jaundice A yellowing of the skin or sclera caused by underlying medical conditions.        
    Joints The location where bones come together.        
    Jugular Vein Distension (JVD) Occurs when the increased pressure of the superior vena cava causes the jugular vein to bulge, making it most visible on the right side of a person’s neck.        
    Keloid A raised scar caused by overproduction of scar tissue.        
    Ketoacidosis A life-threatening complication of hyperglycemia that can occur in patients with diabetes mellitus that is associated with symptoms such as fruity-smelling breath, nausea, vomiting, severe thirst, and shortness of breath.        
    Key part Any sterile part of equipment used during an aseptic procedure, such as needle hubs, syringe tips, dressings, etc.        
    Key site The site contacted during an aseptic procedure, such as nonintact skin, a potential insertion site, or an access site used for medical devices connected to the patients. Examples of key sites include the insertion or access site for intravenous (IV) devices, urinary catheters, and open wounds.        
    Kinesthesia A person’s sense of movement.        
    Korotkoff sounds The audible sounds of blood pressure named after Dr. Korotkoff who discovered them.        
    Kyphosis A curving of the spine that causes a bowing or rounding of the back, leading to a hunchback or slouching posture.        
    Lacrimal duct Tears produced by the lacrimal gland flow through this duct to the medial corner of the eye.        
    Laryngopharynx The portion of the pharynx inferior to the oropharynx and posterior to the larynx that is a passageway for ingested material and air until its inferior end where the digestive and respiratory systems diverge into the esophagus and the larynx.        
    Larynx The structure connecting the pharynx to the trachea that helps regulate the volume of air that enters and leaves the lungs and contains the vocal cords.        
    Lens An inner part of the eye that helps the eye focus.        
    Lesion An area of abnormal tissue.        
    Level of consciousness A patient’s level of arousal and alertness, commonly assessed by asking them to report their name, current location, and time.        
    LGBT An acronym standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and is an umbrella term that generally refers to a group of people who are diverse with regard to their gender identity and sexual orientation. There are expanded versions of this acronym.[5]        
    Ligaments Strong bands of fibrous connective tissue that connect bones and strengthen and support joints by anchoring bones together and preventing their separation.        
    Lordosis An inward curve of the lumbar spine just above the buttocks. A small degree of lordosis is normal, but too much curving is called swayback.        
    Lymph nodes Structures in the lymphatic system that filter pathogens.        
    Lymphadenopathy Enlarged lymph nodes.        
    Lymphedema A type of swelling that occurs when lymph fluid builds up in the body’s soft tissues due to damage to the lymph system.        
    Maceration The softening and wasting away of skin due to excess fluid.        
    Macrodrip tubing Gravity IV tubing with drop factors of 10, 15, or 20 drops per milliliter that are typically used to deliver general IV solutions for adults.        
    Main health care needs, main health needs Term used to classify what needs the patient feels are most important to address after admission to a health care agency.        
    Mandible Lower jaw bone.        
    MAR Medication administration record contained in a patient’s chart.        
    Masseter Main muscle used for chewing because it elevates the mandible to close the mouth.        
    Maturation phase The final phase of wound healing as collagen continues to be created to strengthen the wound, causing scar tissue.        
    Maxilla Bone that forms the upper jaw and supports the upper teeth.        
    Medical asepsis Measures to confine microorganisms to prevent the spread of infection.        
    Medication cup A small plastic or paper cup used to dispense oral medications. Some plastic medication cups have calibration marks for measuring medication amounts.        
    Medication reconciliation A comparison of a list of current medications with a previous list and is completed at every hospitalization and clinic visit.        
    Melanin Skin pigment produced by melanocytes scattered throughout the epidermis.        
    Melanoma Skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of melanocytes that commonly develops from a mole. Melanoma is the most fatal of all skin cancers because it is highly metastatic. Melanomas usually appear as asymmetrical brown and black patches with uneven borders and a raised surface.        
    Melena Dark, tarry-looking stool due to the presence of digested blood.        
    Mental health A state of well-being in which every individual realizes their own potential, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.[6]        
    Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) An inhaler that provides a mist of medication that is inhaled through the mouth into the lungs. An example of an MDI is albuterol. Optimal administration is achieved with a spacer attached to the inhaler.        
    Microdrip tubing Gravity IV tubing with a drop factor of 60 drops per milliliter.        
    Military time A method of measuring the time based on the full 24 hours of the day rather than two groups of 12 hours indicated by AM and PM.        
    Mobility A patient’s ability to move around (e.g., sit up, sit down, stand up, walk).        
    Motor nerves Nerves in the peripheral nervous system that transmit motor signals from the brain to the muscles to cause movement.        
    Murmur A blowing or whooshing sound heard on auscultation of the precordium that signifies turbulent blood flow in the heart often caused by a valvular defect.        
    Muscle atrophy The thinning or loss of muscle tissue that can be caused by disuse, aging, or neurological damage.        
    Myopia Impaired vision, also known as nearsightedness, that makes far-away objects look blurry.        
    Nares Nostril openings into the nasal cavity.        
    Nasal septum Bone and cartilage that separate the nasal cavity into two compartments.        
    Nasopharynx The upper region of the pharynx that connects to the nasal cavity and is a passageway for air.        
    Necrosis Tissue death.        
    Necrotic Black tissue color due to tissue death from lack of oxygenation to the area.        
    Nonblanchable erythema Skin redness that does not turn white when pressure is applied.        
    Nursing The protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and population.[7]        
    Nystagmus Involuntary, shaky eye movements.        
    Objective data Information that is analyzed, measured or counted during a physical assessment; data that is collected through your sense of hearing, sight, smell, and touch while assessing the patient.        
    Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Characterized by repeated occurrences of complete or partial obstructions of the upper airway during sleep, resulting in apneic episodes.        
    Older adults People over the age of 65.        
    One-time order A prescription for a medication to be administered only once. An example of a one-time order is a prescription for an IV dose of antibiotics to be administered immediately prior to surgery.        
    Open fracture A type of fracture when the broken bone punctures the skin.        
    Optic nerve Cranial nerve II that conducts visual information from the retina to the brain.        
    Oral syringe A specific type of syringe used to measure and/or administer medications via the oral route.        
    Orbit The bony socket that houses the eyeball and muscles that move the eyeball.        
    Oropharyngeal suctioning Suction of secretions through the mouth, often using a Yankauer device.        
    Oropharynx The middle region of the pharynx bordered superiorly by the nasopharynx and anteriorly by the oral cavity that is a passageway for air and ingested material. It includes the back third of the tongue, the soft palate, the side and back walls of the throat, and the tonsils.        
    Orthopnea Breathlessness or feeling short of breath when lying flat.        
    Orthostatic hypotension A decrease in blood pressure by at least 20 mmHg systolic or 10 mmHg diastolic within three minutes of standing from a seated or lying position.        
    Osteoarthritis The most common type of arthritis associated with aging and wear and tear of the articular cartilage that covers the surfaces of bones at the synovial joint.        
    Osteomyelitis Bone infection.        
    Osteoporosis A disease that thins and weakens bones, especially in the hip, spine, and wrist, causing them to become fragile and break easily.        
    Ostomy The surgical procedure that creates the opening from the stoma outside the body to an organ such as the small intestine, colon, rectum, or bladder. A stoma can be permanent, such as when an organ is removed, or temporary, such as when an organ requires time to heal.        
    Otitis externa The medical diagnosis for external ear inflammation and/or infection.        
    Ototoxic medications Medications that cause the adverse effect of sensorineural hearing loss by affecting the hair cells in the cochlea.        
    Outer cannula The outer cannula placed by the provider through the tracheostomy hole and continuously remains in place.        
    Pallor Skin and mucous membranes present with a pale skin color; caused by a reduced amount of oxyhemoglobin in the skin or mucous membranes.        
    Palpation The use of touch to evaluate organs for size, location, or tenderness.        
    PaO2 The partial pressure of dissolved oxygen in the blood measured by arterial blood gas samples.        
    Paralysis The partial or complete loss of strength, movement, or control of a muscle or group of muscles within a body part that can be caused by brain or spinal injury.        
    Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea An attack of severe shortness of breath that generally occurs at night.        
    Passive range of motion The degree of range of motion a patient demonstrates in a joint when the examiner is providing the movement.        
    Percussion An advanced physical examination technique where body parts are tapped with fingers to determine their size and if fluid is present.        
    Perfusion The amount of blood flow to tissue.        
    Peripheral edema Swelling due to an accumulation of fluid in tissues perfused by the peripheral vascular system.        
    Peripheral nervous system The part of the nervous system that includes the cranial and spinal nerves.        
    Peripheral neuropathy A condition that causes decreased sensation of pain and pressure, typically in the lower extremities.        
    Periwound The skin around the outer edges of a wound.        
    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), personal protective equipment Personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns, face shields, goggles, and masks, along with environmental controls to prevent transmission of disease from patient to patient, patient to health care provider, and health care provider to patient.        
    Petechiae Tiny red dots caused by bleeding under the skin.        
    Pharyngitis Infection and/or inflammation in the back of the throat (pharynx).        
    Pharynx A tube lined with mucous membrane that begins at the nasal cavity and is divided into three major regions: the nasopharynx, the oropharynx, and the laryngopharynx.        
    Phlebitis Inflammation of a vein.        
    Physical examination A systematic data collection method of the body that uses the techniques of inspection, auscultation, palpation, and percussion.        
    Pitting edema An accumulation of fluid in tissue and causes an indentation when the area is pressed.        
    Pleural friction rub Uncommon heart sounds produced when the parietal and visceral pericardium become inflamed, generating a creaky-scratchy noise as they rub together.        
    Precordium The region of the thorax in front of the heart.        
    Presbycusis Sensorineural hearing loss that occurs with aging due to gradual nerve degeneration.        
    Presbyopia Impaired near vision that commonly occurs in middle-aged and older adults.        
    Prescriptions Orders, interventions, remedies, or treatments ordered or directed by an authorized primary health care provider.        
    Pressure injury Skin breakdown caused when a patient’s skin and soft tissue press against a hard surface, usually a bony prominence, for a prolonged period of time, causing reduced blood supply and resulting in damaged tissue.        
    Primary intention Wound healing that occurs with surgical incisions or clean-edged lacerations that are closed with sutures, staples, or surgical glue.        
    Primary source of data Information obtained directly from the patient.        
    Primary survey A brief observation at the start of a shift or visit to verify the patient is stable by assessing mental status, airway, breathing, and circulation.        
    PRN (as needed) order A prescription for medication to be administered when it is requested by, or as needed by, the patient. PRN orders are usually administered based on patient symptoms such as pain medications. An example of a PRN order is a prescription for pain medication, such as “Acetaminophen 500 mg PO every 4-6 hours PRN for pain.”        
    Proliferative phase The third phase of wound healing that includes epithelialization, angiogenesis, collagen formation, and contraction.        
    Proprioception A person’s sense of their body position.        
    Prostate hypertrophy A common medical condition of the enlargement of the prostate gland in males as they age, causing uncomfortable urinary symptoms such as urgency and frequency, and urinary retention.        
    Protuberant Convex or bulging appearance.        
    Ptosis Drooping of the eyelid.        
    Pulmonary embolism A blood clot that lodges in one of the arteries that go from the heart to the lung.        
    Pupil The hole at the center of the eye that allows light to enter.        
    Purulent drainage Wound exudate that is thick or opaque and can be tan, yellow, green, or brown in color; also called "pus." It is never considered normal in a wound, and new purulent drainage should always be reported to the health care provider.        
    Rales Another term used for crackles.        
    Rebound tenderness Pain when hand is withdrawn during palpation.        
    Reconstitution The process of adding a liquid diluent to a dry ingredient to make a liquid in a specific concentration.        
    Respiration Includes ventilation and gas exchange at the alveolar level where blood is oxygenated and carbon dioxide is removed.        
    Retina The nervous tissue and photoreceptors in the eye that initially process visual stimuli.        
    Retractions The “pulling in” of muscles between the ribs or in the neck when breathing, indicating difficulty breathing or respiratory distress.        
    Rheumatoid arthritis A type of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in joints due to inflammation caused by an autoimmune disease.        
    RICE A mnemonic for treatment of sprains and strains that stands for: Resting the injured area, Icing the area, Compressing the area with an ACE bandage or other device, and Elevating the affected limb.        
    Rigidity Involuntary contraction of the abdominal musculature in response to peritoneal inflammation.        
    Rotation Circular movement of a joint around a fixed point.        
    Routine order A written prescription that is followed until another order cancels it. An example of a routine order is a prescription for daily medication such as “Lisinopril 10 mg PO daily.”        
    Rule of Nines A tool used in the emergency department to assess the total body surface area burned to quickly estimate intravenous fluid requirements.        
    Safety culture A culture established in health care agencies to empower staff to speak up about risks to patients and to report errors and near misses, all of which drive improvement in patient care and reduce the incident of patient harm.        
    Sanguineous drainage Wound drainage that is fresh bleeding; bright red drainage.        
    SaO2 Calculated arterial oxygen saturation level.        
    Scaphoid Sunken appearance.        
    Sclera White area of the eye.        
    Scoliosis A sideways curve of the spine that commonly develops in late childhood and the early teens.        
    Second-degree burn Burn affecting both the epidermis and a portion of the dermis, resulting in swelling and a painful blistering of the skin.        
    Secondary intention Wound healing that occurs when the edges of a wound cannot be approximated (brought together), so the wound fills in from the bottom up by the production of granulation tissue. Examples of wounds that heal by secondary intention are pressure injuries and chainsaw injuries.        
    Secondary source of data Information from the patient’s chart, family members, or other health care team members.        
    Self-concept Knowledge a person has about themselves that makes up who they are (i.e., their identity).        
    Self-esteem A person’s self-evaluation of their self-concept as being worthy or unworthy.        
    Sensation The function of receiving information about the environment. The major senses are taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing.        
    Sensorineural hearing loss Hearing loss caused by pathology of the inner ear, cranial nerve VIII, or auditory areas of the cerebral cortex; prolonged exposure to loud noise is a common cause.        
    Sensory nerves Nerves in the peripheral nervous system that carry impulses from the body to the brain for processing.        
    Serosanguinous drainage Wound exudate contains serous drainage with small amounts of blood present; thin, watery pink drainage.        
    Serous drainage Wound drainage that is clear, thin, watery plasma. It is considered normal in minimal amounts during the inflammatory stage of wound healing; yellow or straw color.        
    Sexual orientation The preferred term used when referring to an individual’s physical and/or emotional attraction to the same and/or opposite gender.[8]        
    Shear A mechanical force that occurs when tissue layers move over the top of each other, causing blood vessels to stretch and break as they pass through the subcutaneous tissue.        
    Sign Objective data found by the nurse or health care provider when assessing a patient.        
    Sinusitis Inflamed sinuses caused by a viral or bacterial infection.        
    Skeletal muscle Voluntary muscle that produces movement, assists in maintaining posture, protects internal organs, and generates body heat.        
    Skin tears Wounds caused by mechanical forces, typically in the nonelastic skin of older adults.        
    Skin turgor The skin’s elasticity and its ability to change shape and return to normal when gently grasped between two fingers.        
    Slough Inflammatory exudate that is light yellow, soft, and moist and must be removed for wound healing to occur.        
    Small-volume nebulizers Devices that provide a fine mist using oxygen or compressed air to transport the medication from a nebulizer cup into the mouth and into the lungs as the patient breathes normally through a mask or pipe device.        
    Snellen chart A chart used to test far vision.        
    Sphygmomanometer An instrument for measuring blood pressure typically consisting of an inflatable rubber cuff.        
    Spirituality A way of living that comes from a set of meanings, values, and beliefs that are important to a person.[9]        
    SpO2 An estimated oxygenation level based on the saturation level of hemoglobin measured by a pulse oximeter.        
    Sprain A stretched or torn ligament caused by an injury.        
    Standard precautions The minimum infection prevention practices that apply to all patient care, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status of the patient, in any setting where health care is delivered.        
    Standardized sliding-scale insulin protocol, standardized sliding-scale insulin Standardized instructions for administration of adjustable insulin dosages based on a patient’s blood glucose readings.        
    Standing order Standing orders are standard prescriptions for nurses to implement for patients in clearly defined circumstances without the need to notify a provider. They may also be referred to as an “order set” or a “protocol.” An example of a standing order/protocol is a standard prescription for all patients coming into an urgent care reporting chest pain to immediately receive four chewable aspirin, the placement of an IV, and an electrocardiogram (ECG).        
    STAT order A one-time prescription that is administered without delay. An example of a STAT order is the prescription for a dose of Benadryl to be administered to a patient having an allergic reaction.        
    Stereognosis The ability to perceive the physical form and identity of an object based on tactile stimuli alone.        
    Sterile technique  Techniques used to eliminate every potential microorganism in and around a sterile field while maintaining objects and areas as free from microorganisms as possible; surgical asepsis. This technique is the standard of care for surgical procedures, invasive wound management, and central line care.        
    Sternocleidomastoid The major muscle that laterally flexes and rotates the head.        
    Striae White or silver markings from stretching of the skin.        
    Stoma An opening on the abdomen that is connected to the gastrointestinal or urinary systems to allow waste (urine or feces) to be collected in a pouch.        
    Stomach Decompression Using suctioning through a nasogastric tube to remove the contents of the stomach.        
    Straight catheter A catheter used for intermittent urinary catheterization; it does not have a balloon at the insertion end.        
    Strain A stretched or torn muscle or tendon.        
    Stridor High-pitched crowing sounds heard over the upper airway and larynx indicating obstruction.        
    Subcutaneous injection Medication administered into the subcutaneous tissue just under the dermis.        
    Subjective data Information obtained from the patient and/or family members that offers important cues from their perspectives.        
    Suction canister A container for collecting suctioned secretions that is attached to a suction source.        
    Suction catheter A soft, flexible, sterile catheter used for nasopharyngeal and tracheostomy suctioning.        
    Suture An interlocking joint between adjacent bones of the skull.        
    Symptom Subjective data that the patient reports, such as “I feel dizzy.”        
    Syncope A temporary loss of consciousness usually related to insufficient blood flow to the brain; fainting.        
    Synovial fluid A thick fluid that provides lubrication in joints to reduce friction between the bones.        
    Synovial joints A fluid-filled joint cavity where the articulating surfaces of the bones contact and move smoothly against each other. The elbow and knee are examples of synovial joints.        
    Syringe A medical device used to administer parenteral medication into tissue or into the bloodstream. Syringes can also be used to withdraw blood or fluid.        
    Systole The phase of the heartbeat when the left ventricle contracts and pumps blood into the arteries.        
    Systolic blood pressure The maximum pressure of blood on the arteries during the contraction of the left ventricle of the heart referred to as systole.        
    Tachypnea Rapid and often shallow breathing greater than normal range according to the patient’s age.        
    Temporalis Muscle that assists in chewing by retracting the mandible. The temporalis muscle can be felt moving by placing fingers on the patient’s temple as they chew.        
    Tendons Strong bands of dense, regular connective tissue that connect muscles to bones.        
    Tertiary intention Wound healing that occurs when a wound must remain open or has been reopened, often due to severe infection.        
    Thalamus Relays sensory information and motor information in collaboration with the cerebellum.        
    Third-degree burn Severe burn that fully extends into the epidermis and dermis, destroying the tissue and affecting the nerve endings and sensory function.        
    Thrill A vibration felt with palpation of the precordium.        
    Tinnitus Ringing, buzzing, roaring, hissing, or whistling sound in the ears.        
    Titration order An order in which the medication dose is either progressively increased or decreased by the nurse in response to the patient’s status.        
    Topical medications Medications administered via the skin or mucous membranes for direct local action, as well as for systemic effects.        
    Trachea A tube lined with mucus membrane that carries air from the larynx to the lungs.        
    Tracheostomy A surgically created opening that goes from the front of the neck into the trachea.        
    Tracheostomy dressing, tracheostomy split sponge dressing A manufactured dressing used with tracheostomies that does not shed fibers, which could potentially be inhaled by the patient.        
    Transdermal route Patches or disks applied to the skin that deliver medication over an extended period of time.        
    Trapezius The muscle that elevates the shoulders (shrugs), pulls the shoulder blades together, and tilts the head backwards.        
    Tunneling Passageways underneath the surface of the skin that extend from a wound and can take twists and turns.        
    Tympanic membrane The membrane at the end of the external ear canal, commonly called the eardrum, that vibrates after it is struck by sound waves.        
    Undermining A condition that occurs in wounds when the tissue under the wound edges becomes eroded, resulting in a pocket beneath the skin at the wound’s edge.        
    Unstageable Occurs when slough or eschar obscures the wound so that tissue loss cannot be assessed.        
    Urinary catheterization The insertion of a catheter tube into the urethral opening and placing it in the neck of the urinary bladder to drain urine.        
    Urinary frequency How often a person urinates; Urination every hour or two.        
    Urinary incontinence Involuntary leakage of urine.        
    Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) An infection in the urinary system causing symptoms such as burning on urination (dysuria), frequent urination, malodorous urine, fever, confusion, and change in level of consciousness.        
    Urinary urgency An intense urge to urinate that can lead to urinary incontinence.        
    Urostomy The ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder) are attached to a stoma to bypass the bladder.        
    Uvula A small, teardrop-shaped structure located at the apex of the soft palate that swings upward during swallowing to close off the nasopharynx and prevent ingested materials from entering the nasal cavity.        
    Value An accepted principle or standard of an individual or group.[10]        
    Vastus lateralis A muscle located on the anterior lateral aspect of the thigh and extends from one hand’s breadth above the knee to one hand’s breadth below the greater trochanter. It is commonly used for immunizations in infants and toddlers because the muscle is thick and well-developed.        
    Venous insufficiency A medical condition where the veins in the legs do not adequately send blood back to the heart, resulting in a pooling of fluids in the legs that can cause venous ulcers.        
    Venous ulcers Ulcers caused by the pooling of fluid in the veins of the lower legs when the valves are not working properly, causing fluid to seep out, macerate the skin, and cause an ulcer.        
    Ventilation The mechanical movement of air into and out of the lungs.        
    Ventrogluteal The safest intramuscular injection site for adults and children because it provides the greatest thickness of gluteal muscles, is free from penetrating nerves and blood vessels, and has a thin layer of fat.        
    Vertigo A type of dizziness often described by patients as “the room feels as if it is spinning.”        
    Vesicular sounds Low-pitched soft sounds like “rustling leaves” heard over alveoli and small bronchial airways.        
    Vestibulocochlear nerve Cranial nerve VIII that transports neural signals from the cochlea and the vestibule to the brain stem regarding hearing and balance.        
    Voiding Medical terminology used for urinating.        
    Wheeze High-pitched sounds heard on expiration or inspiration associated with bronchoconstriction or bronchospasm.        
    Wound-Vac A device used with special foam dressings and suctioning to remove fluid and decrease air pressure around a wound to assist in healing.        
    Yankauer suction tip Rigid device used to suction secretions from the mouth.        
    Z-track method A method for administering intramuscular injections that prevents the medication from leaking into the subcutaneous tissue, allows the medication to stay in the muscles, and minimizes irritation.        
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