Mnemonics and Acronyms for Nursing School

Nursing School Study and Memory Tricks

Mnemonics and Acronyms for Nursing School


Memory Tricks for Nursing Students

Mnemonics and Acronyms

A mnemonic is a concise phrase in which each letter stands for a word. An example of a mnemonic is MONA (morphine, oxygen, nitroglycerin, and aspirin). The word mnemonic originates from the Greek term “memory aid.”  Mnemonics can be used as a valuable resource to assist nursing students in the studying process. An acronym is an word or term in which each letter of the phrase is combined into an abbreviation. An example of an acronym is HELLP for HELLP Syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets).

Learning Styles that Benefit

Mnemonic and acronym memory tricks can be helpful to many people, especially students with visual and aural (auditory) learning styles. While taking an exam, visual learners may utilize these techniques by closing their eyes and picturing the image or by visualizing the term in front of them. Aural learners can use memory tricks by verbalizing them out loud to themselves (or by listening to another person speak them), then mentally recalling the experience during an exam. Although they’re traditionally associated with visual and auditory learning, they can also provide value to individuals with other learning styles.
Reading/writing learners can capitalize upon mnemonics and acronyms by…well, reading and writing them. Creating flashcards or composing and regularly reviewing a digital list (eg: Word document) are great ways implementation techniques. Students with a tactile learning style can benefit from mnemonics and acronyms by creating a project such as a scrapbook or another hands-on activity that associates each concept with a kinesthetic element (note: It’s the process of hands-on creation that best serves this type of learner).

NurseMonics by Topic…


AIDS and HIV Acronyms and Mnemonics

HIV Prevention: Wrap, Glove and Don’t Shoot

  • Wrap it up (condom use in patients engaging in risky sexual practices)
  • Glove it up, and (health care workers need to wear gloves when exposure to blood, semen, or other bodily fluids is possible)…
  • Don’t shoot up (intravenous drug users must not share needles)

HIV Transmission: Vertical Versus Horizontal

  • Vertical: From mother to infant during birth; a baby comes out vertically from the pelvis
  • Horizontal: Through body fluids; sexual intercourse occurs in a horizontal position

HIV and AIDS Risk Assessment: AIDS

  • A | Afraid that you have been exposed
  • I | Intravenous drug use
  • D | Diagnostic features of HIV infections; e.g.: reoccurring thrush infections)
  • S | Sexual behaviors of high risk; example: Multiple partners and unprotected sex, sex industry worker

HIV Body Fluid Transmission: BBB 3-Point Mantra

  • Blood
  • Bodily sex fluids
  • Breast milk


  • Zidovudine
  • Zalcitabine
  • Lamivudine
  • Stavudine
  • Didanosine

HIV Drugs: The 3 DEN ladies of NNRT

  • Dela: Delavirdine
  • Efa: Efavirenz
  • Nevira: Nevirapine

HIV Drugs: We don’t want our patients to RIP

  • RALFSINA are Inhibitors of Protease (Protease Inhibitors)
  • RALFSINA: Ritonavir, Amprenavir, Lopinavir, Fosamprinavir, Saquinavir, Indinavir, Nelfinavir, Azatanavir


Cardiovascular System Acronyms and Mnemonics

Angina | Precipitating Factors: 4 E’s

  • E1 | Exertion: physical activity and exercise
  • E2 | Eating
  • E3 | Emotional distress
  • E4 | Extreme temperatures: hot or cold weather

Arterial Occlusion: 4 P’s

  • P1 | Pain
  • P2 | Pulselessness or absent pulse
  • P3 | Pallor
  • P4 | Paresthesia

Blood Pressure Formula: BP = CO x SVR

  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiac Output
  • Systemic Vascular Resistance

Congestive Heart Failure Treatment: MADD DOG

  • M | Morphine
  • A | Aminophylline
  • D | Digoxin
  • D | Dopamine
  • D | Diuretics
  • O | Oxygen
  • G | Gasses (Arterial blood gasses [ABGs] monitoring)

Cor Pulmonale Signs and Symptoms: Please Read His Text

  • P | Peripheral edema
  • R | Raised JVP
  • H | Hepatomegaly
  • T | Tricuspid incompetence

Coronary Arteries Location: Right CAMP Left ARC (I have a Right to CAMP if you Left an ARC)

  • Right = Right
  • Coronary
  • Artery
  • Marginal Artery
  • Posterior Interventricular Artery
  • Left = Left
  • Anterior Interventricular Artery
  • Circumflex Artery

Endocarditis: FAME

  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Murmur = think Endocarditis

Heart Murmur Causes: SPAMS

  • S | Stenosis of a valve
  • P | Partial obstruction
  • A | Aneurysms
  • M | Mitral regurgitation
  • S | Septal defect

Heart Sounds: All People Enjoy the Mall

  • Aortic: 2nd right intercostal space
  • Pulmonic: 2nd left intercostal space
  • Erb’s Point: 3rd left intercostal space
  • Tricuspid: 4th left intercostal space
  • Mitral or Apex:  5th left intercostal space

Hypertension Care: DIURETIC

  • Daily weight
  • I/Os
  • Urine output
  • Response of blood pressure
  • Electrolytes
  • Take pulse
  • Ischemic episodes or TIAs
  • Complications: CVA, CAD, CHR, CRF

Myocardial Infarction Nursing Management: BOOMAR

  • Bed rest
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Opioids: morphine
  • Monitoring: vitals, arterial blood gases, cardiac enzymes, and other blood work
  • Anticoagulation therapy
  • Reduce clot size

Myocardial Infarction Treatment: MONA (or ON AM for the correct order)*

  • Morphine
  • Oxygen
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Aspirin

*The correct order of MONA interventions is oxygen, nitroglycerin, aspirin, and then morphine. This can be remembered by the mnemonic: ON AM (I am ON fire in the AM as I am a morning person)

Shortness of Breath (SOB) Causes: AAAPPP

  • Airway obstruction
  • Angina
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Pneumothorax
  • Pulmonary Edema
  • Pulmonary Embolus

Stroke Signs: FAST

  • Face
  • Arms
  • Speech
  • Time

Tetralogy of Fallot: PROVe

  • P: pulmonary stenosis (narrowed pulmonary artery)
  • R: right ventricular hypertrophy (enlarged right ventricle)
  • O: overriding aorta (malposition of the aorta over both ventricles)
  • V: ventricular septal defect
  • e*

*The lowercase “e” is intentionally left blank

Ventricular Arrhythmias Drugs: AL

  • Amiodorone
  • Lidocaine

Critical Care

Critical Care Acronyms and Mnemonics

Advanced Life Support: LEAN

  • Lidocaine
  • Epinephrine
  • Atropine
  • Narcan

Compartment Syndrome Signs and Symptoms: 5 P’s

  • Pain
  • Pallor
  • Pulse declined or absent
  • Pressure increased
  • Paresthesia

Emergent Syncope: CRAPS (Like the Vegas Gambling Game)

  • Cardiac
  • Ruptured AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm or “triple A”)
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE)
  • SAH

Shock Characteristics: HYPO-TACHY-TACHY

  • Hypotension
  • Tachycardia (elevated heart rate of 100 bpm or > at rest* in adults)
  • Tachypnea (elevated respiration rate)

* #NurseHack: The Significance of Tachycardia | Tachycardia is an anticipated finding in an individual who is exerting his or herself; for example, the heart rate can easily reach 160 while working out on cardio equipment at the gym. In a clinical setting, tachycardia is typically used to reference an individual with an elevated pulse while at rest, or not exerting his or herself physically.

Shock Signs and Symptoms: CHORD ITEM

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Hypotension
  • Oliguria
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Drowsiness, confusion
  • Irritability
  • Tachycardia
  • Elevated or reduced central venous pressure
  • Multi-organ damage

Shock Differential: CHORD

  • Cardiac
  • Hypovolemia
  • Obstructive (tension pneumothorax, tamponade, PE)
  • Respiratory/medical (hypoxia, acidosis, hypothermia, hyperkalemia, OD)
  • Distributive (spinal shock, anaphylaxis, sepsis)

Shock Types: SHRIMP CAN

  • Septic
  • Hemorrhagic
  • Respiratory
  • Insulin- hypoglycemia from insulin overdose or extreme hyperglycemia – diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
  • Metabolic
  • Psychogenic
  • Cardiogenic
  • Anaphylactic
  • Neurogenic

Shock Types: RN CHAMPS

  • Respiratory
  • Neurogenic
  • Cardiogenic
  • Hemorrhagic
  • Anaphylactic
  • Metabolic
  • Psychogenic
  • Septic

Trauma Complications: TRAUMATIC

  • Tissue perfusion issues
  • Respiratory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Unstable clotting factors (eg: Disseminated intravascular clotting or DIC)
  • Malnutrition
  • Altered body image (especially if a body part is amputated or facial deformations are involved)
  • Thromboembolism
  • Infection
  • Crush syndrome and coping problems

Trauma Survey: AMPLE (following initial assessment)

  • Allergies
  • Medications
  • Previous medical history
  • Last meal
  • Events surrounding the injury or what happened


Diabetes Acronyms and Mnemonics

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Treatment: KING UFC

  • K+ (potassium)
  • Insulin
  • Nasogastric tube: if the patient is comatose
  • Glucose: once serum levels drop
  • Urea: monitoring
  • Fluids: crystalloids
  • Creatinine: monitor and catheterize

Exercise Regimen for Patients with Diabetes: FIT

  • Frequency: 3 times a week
  • Intervals: 30 minutes a day
  • Time

Hyperglycemia Versus Hypoglycemia

  • Hot and dry: sugar high
  • Cold and clammy: need some candy

Hypoglycemia Causes and Characteristics: RE-EXPLAIN

  • REnal failure
  • EXogenous
  • Pituitary
  • Liver failure
  • Alcohol
  • Infection
  • Neoplasm

Hypoglycemia Signs: TIRED

  • Tachycardia
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive hunger
  • Depression and diaphoresis

Mixing 2 Types of Insulin in 1 Syringe: Clear, Cloudy, Cloudy, Clear

  • Clear before cloudy
  • Cloudy before clear


Diagnostic and Lab Value Acronyms and Mnemonics

Acid Base: ROME

  • Respiratory (acidosis and alkalosis)
  • Opposite: pH ↓ & CO2 ↑= Acidosis; pH ↑ CO2 ↓= Alkalosis
  • Metabolic (acidosis and alkalosis)
  • Equal: pH ↓ & HCO3 ↓= Acidosis; pH ↑ & HCO3 ↑= Alkalosis

Calcium: 8.5-10

  • Children’s bones grow strong between ages 8 ½ -10
  • This is a way to remember the normal range of calcium values

CBC (Complete Blood Count) Components: HELPR

  • H: H/H (Hemoglobin/Hematocrit)
  • E: Erythrocytes (RBCs)
  • L: Leukocytes (WBCs)
  • P: Platelets
  • R: R/R* (reticulocytes/RBC indices)#

*Unlike H/H (which stands for hemoglobin/hematocrit), R/R is NOT a term typically used to describe reticulocytes/RBC indices…it’s just used for the purpose of this mnemonic. #RBC indices involve components that are used to describe the shape, size, and other characteristics of the RBCs…They’re important for differentiating the type of anemia.

Potassium: 3.5 -5 POTS

  • Children age 3½ -5 like to play with POTS (example: making mud pies)
  • This is a way to remember the normal range of potassium values

Lab Values from Lowest to Highest: Miss Piggy & Kermit Came Home on Cloud Nine

  • Miss: Magnesium = 1.5-2.5
  • Piggy: Phosphate = 2.5-4.5
  • &
  • Kermit: (K) Potassium = 3.5-5.5
  • Came: Calcium = 8.5-10.5
  • Home: HCO2 = 22-26
  • On: Oxygen Saturation = 95-100%
  • Cloud: Chloride = 95-104
  • Nine: (Na) Sodium = 135-145

Order of the Draw: My Purse Gets Big*

  • Marble
  • Purple
  • Green
  • Blue

* There’s a male version of this mnemonic- use your imagination guys!

White Blood Cells (WBC) Values: Never Let Monkeys Eat Bananas

  • Neutrophil: 50-70%
  • Lymphocytes: 25-35%
  • Monocytes:4-6%
  • Eosinophils:1-3%
  • Basophils: 0.4-1%

White Blood Cells (WBC) Values: Never Let Mom Eat Beans

  • Neutrophil: 50-70%
  • Lymphocytes: 25-35%
  • Monocytes:4-6%
  • Eosinophils:1-3%
  • Basophils: 0.4-1%

Medical Diagnosis: MIDNIT*

  • Metabolic
  • Inflammatory
  • Degenerative
  • Neoplastic
  • Infectious
  • Trauma

*For Medical Doctors, Doctors of Osteopathy (DO), and mid-level providers (Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants)


Electrolytes Acronyms and Mnemonics

Hypernatremia Signs and Symptoms: FRIED SALT

  • Flush skin and fever (low-grade)
  • Restless, irritable, anxious, confused
  • Increased blood pressure and fluid retention
  • Edema: peripheral and pitting
  • Decreased urine output and dry mouth
  • Skin flushed
  • Agitation
  • Low-grade fever
  • Thirst

Hypernatremia Causes: MODEL

  • Meals (high intake) and medications
  • Osmotic diuresis
  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Excessive loss of water
  • Low intake of water

Hypocalcaemia Signs and Symptoms: CATS

  • Convulsions
  • Arrhythmias
  • Tetany
  • Stridor and spasms

Hyperkalemia Causes: MACHINE

  • Meds: ACE inhibitors, NSAIDS, Diuretics (potassium sparing)
  • Acidosis: metabolic and respiratory
  • Cellular destruction: burns, traumatic injury
  • Hypoaldosteronism and hemolysis
  • Intake: excessive dietary (eg: salt replacements that contain potassium)
  • Nephrons: renal failure
  • Excretion: impaired

Hyperkalemia Signs and Symptoms: MURDER

  • Muscle cramps that progress to weakness
  • Urine abnormalities: oliguria or anuria (output less than 30 mL/hour or no output)
  • Respiratory distress
  • Decreased cardiac contractility
  • EKG changes
  • Reflexes: hyperreflexia or areflexia (flaccidity)

Hyperkalemia Treatment: C BIG K DROP

  • Calcium
  • Bicarbonate
  • Insulin
  • Glucose
  • Kayexalate
  • Diuretics and dialysis

Hypokalemia Signs and Symptoms: A SIC WALT

  • Alkalosis
  • Shallow Respirations
  • Irritability
  • Confusion and drowsiness
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Arrhythmias: tachycardia or bradycardia, irregular rhythm
  • Lethargy
  • Thready Pulse
  • (Other signs: decreased intestinal mobility, vomiting, and ileus)

Hypokalemia Causes and Characteristics: SUCTION

  • Skeletal muscle weakness
  • U-wave on EKG
  • Constipation
  • Toxicity to digoxin
  • Irregular and weak pulse
  • Otostasis
  • Numbness paresthesia

Hypokalemia Signs and Symptoms: 6 L’s

  • Lethargy
  • Leg cramps
  • Limp muscles
  • Low, shallow respirations
  • Lethal cardiac dysrhythmias
  • Lots of urine (polyuria)


Endocrine System Acronyms and Mnemonics

Acute Pancreatitis Etiology: GET SMASH’D

  • Gallstones
  • Ethanol
  • Trauma
  • Steroids
  • Mumps
  • Autoimmune (PAN)
  • Scorpion bites
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Drugs such as azathioprine and diuretics


Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): BATTED

  • Bathing
  • Ambulation
  • Toileting
  • Transfers
  • Eating
  • Dressing

Bleeding Precautions: RANDI*

  • Razor blades and electric blades
  • Anticoagulants/Aspirin (don’t give them-contraindicated)
  • Needles: Particularly smaller gauges (which are larger in diameter)
  • Decrease number of needle sticks (Example: Mix 2 insulin types in one syringe, if compatible, for only one stick)
  • Injury risk prevention (use of assistive ambulatory devices, remove floor rugs from home, reduce clutter, clear hallways)

Bleeding Precautions: HACH (Reasons for Need)

  • Heparin
  • Anemic (severe)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Hemophilia or other clotting disorder

Cane Ambulation: COAL

  • Cane
  • Opposite
  • Affected
  • Leg

Care Planning- Determining Interventions: The 3 C’s

  • Collaboration: Between interdisciplinary team (IDT) members
  • Cooperation: Patient must agree
  • Compromise: Between RN and MD, patient and IDT

Hypertension Complications: The 4 C’s

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Chronic renal failure (CRF)
  • Cardiovascular accident (CVA): brain attack or stroke

Hypertension Nursing Interventions: I TIRED!

  • I: Intake and output (I/O’s of urine)
  • T: Take blood pressure
  • I: Ischemia attack, transient (TIAs)-monitors for signs
  • R: Respiration/pulse monitoring
  • E: Electrolytes (obtain orders for blood work and monitor values) and edema (sign of fluid overload)
  • D: Daily weights (preferably at same time each morning, on same scale, in clothes of similar weight)

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs): SCUM

  • Shopping
  • Cooking
  • Using the telephone and transportation (driving, public, or ability to independently arrange transportation services)
  • Money and medication management

Pain Assessment: PQRST

  • P | Provokes: What Provokes the pain
  • Q | Quality: What is the Quality of the pain?
  • R | Radiate: Does the pain Radiate?
  • S | Severity: What is the Severity of the pain? (Use a numerical scale)
  • T | Timing: What is the Timing (onset/duration) of the pain?

Pain Management: ABCDE

  • Assess for pain and ask about the pain
  • Believe the patient’s account of pain description (subjective data)*
  • Choices: inform patients of their options for pain relief
  • Deliver possible therapeutic interventions when you said you would
  • Empower and enable the patient to have pain control

*Pain is an exception in the nursing assessment as subjective data (the patient’s own report) is the most reliable and important factor (in most other cases, objective data is best)

Stool Assessment: FACT

  • Frequency
  • Amount
  • Color and consistency
  • Timing

Walker Ambulation: Wandering Wilma’s Always Late

  • W | Walk
  • W | With
  • A | Affected
  • L | Leg

Hepatic (Liver)

Hepatic System Acronyms and Mnemonics

Portal Hypertension Symptoms: ABCDE

  • Ascites
  • Bleeding (hematemesis, piles)
  • Caput medusa
  • Diminished liver
  • Enlarged spleen

Home Health/Hospice

Home Health and Hospice Acronyms and Mnemonics

BREAKS 6-Step Protocol

  • Step 1 | B: Background
  • Step 2 | R: Rapport
  • Step 3 | E: Explore
  • Step 4 | A: Announce
  • Step 5 | K: Kindling
  • Step 6 | S: Summarize

Home Health Nursing Manager: CAME (Role)

  • Clinician: Provides for patient assessment and problem solving via nursing interventions
  • Advocate: Works to protect the rights of the patient and deals with issues such as insurance negotiation
  • Manager: Manages home health care cases, including distribution of staff support, resources (supplies, equipment), and paperwork for reimbursement of services (OASIS forms and more)
  • Educator: Educating patients in the home setting is crucial the hospital environment may not permit adequate time for thorough teaching

SPIKES Protocol for Delivering Bad News :-(

  • Step 1 | S: Set up the interview
  • Step 2 | P: Perception assessment
  • Step 3 | I: Invitation
  • Step 4 | K: Knowledge and information
  • Step 5 | E: Emotions and empathy
  • Step 6 | S: Strategize and summarize


Immune System Acronyms and Mnemonics

Hypersensitivity Reactions Types: ACID

  • Type 1 | A: Anaphylaxis
  • Type 2 | C: Cytotoxic mediated
  • Type 3 | I: Immune complex mediated
  • Type 4 | D: Delayed hypersensitivity

Postoperative Fever Etiologies: 5 W’s

  • Wind: Pneumonia and atelectasis
  • Wound: Wound and surgical incision site infections
  • Water: Urinary tract infection
  • Walking: Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus
  • Wonder-drugs: Especially anesthetics


Gastrointestinal System Acronyms and Mnemonics

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome): ABCS

  • A | Abdominal distension
  • B | Bloating
  • C | Constipation and diarrhea (alternating cycles)
  • S | Stools with mucus


  • A | Appendicitis or abscess
  • P | Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or period
  • P |Pancreatitis
  • E | Ectopic pregnancy or endometriosis
  • N | Neoplasia
  • D | Diverticulitis
  • I | Intussusception
  • C | Crohn’s disease or cyst (ovarian)
  • I | Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • T | Torsion (ovary)
  • I | Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • S | Stones, kidney (renal calculi)


Musculoskeletal System Acronyms and Mnemonics

Fracture Treatment: PRICE

  • Pressure
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Musculoskeletal Injury Assessment: 5 P’s

  • Pain
  • Pulse
  • Paresthesia
  • Paralysis
  • Pallor

Traction Patient Care: TRACTION

  • Temperature of extremity is assessed for signs of infection
  • Ropes hang freely
  • Alignment of body and injured area
  • Circulation check (5 P’s)
  • Type and location of fracture
  • Increase fluid intake
  • Overhead trapeze
  • No weights on bed or floor


Neurological System Acronyms and Mnemonics

Autonomic Nervous System Response: Stress Versus Peace 

  • Stress = Sympathetic: fight or flight
  • Peace = Parasympathetic: rest and digest

Cholinergic Crisis: SLUD

  • Salivation
  • Lacrimation
  • Urination
  • Defecation

Cushing’s Triad- Increased Intracranial Pressure (ICP): HYPER-BRADY-BRADY

  • Hypertension
  • Bradycardia
  • Bradypnea

Dementia and Delirium Causes: DEMENTIA

  • Diabetes
  • Ethanol
  • Medication
  • Environmental (example: lead poisoning)
  • Nutritional
  • Trauma
  • Infection and sepsis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Remember: delirium is has a rapid onset and is temporary while dementia is progressive and often secondary to chronic neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease

Huntington’s Disease Pathophysiology and Etiology: HUNT 4 DATE

  • HUNTington’s on chromosome 4
  • With cauDATE nucleus involvement

Meningeal Spaces: Eat Some Darn Sunflower Seeds (ESS)

  • Epidural space: located between the dura mater and the skull
  • SubDural space: located between the arachnoid membrane and dura mater
  • Subarachnoid Space: located between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater

Meninges: PAD (an Inner to Outer PAD Covers the Brain)

  • Pia matter: innermost brain cover; comes into direct contact with the brain
  • Arachnoid membrane: middle cover; cerebrospinal fluid (CFS) lies underneath
  • Dura matter: outermost brain cover; protects the meningeal arteries and veins

Meningococcal Meningitis Complications: SAD REP

  • Sepsis, shock, and subdural effusion
  • Ataxia and abscess of the brain
  • DIC and deafness
  • Retardation
  • Epilepsy
  • Paralysis

Miosis Causes: CPR ON SLIME

  • Clonidine
  • Phenothiazines
  • Resting (deep sleep)
  • Opiates
  • Narcotics
  • Stroke (pontine hemorrhage)
  • Lomotil (diphenoxylate)
  • Insecticides
  • Mushrooms/ Muscarinic (inocybe, clitocybe)

Parkinson’s Disease Cardinal Signs: TRAP

  • Tremor
  • Rigidity
  • Akinesia and bradykinesia
  • Postural Instability

Sensory- the 5 Senses in Medical Terms: GOOTA (like the Cheese*)

  • Gustatory (taste)
  • Occipital (vision)
  • Olfactory (smell; aka: nosmia)
  • Tactile (touch; aka: kinesthetic)
  • Auditory (hearing; aka: aural)
*The actual cheese is spelled “gouda”

Vertigo Causes: VOMITS

  • Vestibulitis
  • Ototoxic drug
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Injury
  • Tumor
  • Spinning (benign positional vertigo)

Obstetrics (OB)

Obstetrics/Labor and Delivery Acronyms and Mnemonics

Postpartum Assessment: BUBBLE-HE

  • Breasts
  • Uterus
  • Bladder
  • Bowels
  • Lochia
  • Emotional status
  • Hemorrhoids, hematoma, and anal fissures
  • Episiotomy

Fetal Heart Monitoring: VEAL CHOP

  • V | Variability = C | Compression
  • E | Early Decelerations = H | Head
  • A | Accelerations =  O | Oxygenation
  • L | Late Decelerations = P | Placental insufficiency

Hemolysis, Hepatic Enzymes, Low Platelets: HELLP

  • Hemolysis
  • Elevated
  • Liver Enzymes
  • Low
  • Platelets

Magnesium Sulphate Toxicity Signs: BURP

  • Blood pressure decrease
  • Urine output decrease
  • Respiratory rate decrease
  • Patellar reflex absent

Postpartum Perineal Assessment: REEDA

  • Redness
  • Edema
  • Ecchymosis
  • Discharge
  • Approximation

Shaken Baby Syndrome Risks: PURPLE

  • Peak of crying
  • Unexpected
  • Resist soothing
  • Pain like pain even in absence of pain
  • Long lasting
  • Evening

Tocolysis Drugs or Uterine Relaxants: It’s Not My Time

  • I: Indomethacin (NSAID)
  • N: Nifedipine (calcium channel blocker)
  • M: Magnesium Sulphate
  • T: Terbutaline (adrenergic agonist)

Viral Prenatal Testing: TORCH

  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Other viruses
  • Rubella
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Hepatitis A and B


Oncology Acronyms and Mnemonics

Cancer: Early Warning Signs | CAUTION UP

  • C: Change in bowel or bladder
  • A: A lesion that does not heal
  • U: Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • T: Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere
  • I: Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • O: Obvious changes in wart or mole
  • N: Nagging cough or persistent hoarseness
  • U: Unexplained weight loss
  • P: Pernicious Anemia

Leukemia Signs and Symptoms: ANT

  • Anemia and decreased hemoglobin
  • Neutropenia and increased risk of infection
  • Thrombocytopenia and increased risk of bleeding

Pediatric (Peds)

Pediatric Acronyms and Mnemonics

Diarrhea: Causes of Chronic Cases in Peds | 5 C’s

  • Cow’s milk intolerance (lactose intolerance)
  • Celiac disease
  • Colitis (ulcerative)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Crohn’s disease

Down’s Syndrome Characteristics: DOWN

  • Decreased alphafetoprotein and unconjugated estriol
  • One extra chromosome (21)
  • Women over 40
  • Nondisjunction during maternal meiosis

Down’s Syndrome Characteristics: CHILD HAS A PROBLEM

  • Congenital heart disease and cataracts
  • Hypotonia and hypothyroidism
  • Increased gap between 1st and 2nd toe
  • Lung issues and leukemia risks x 2
  • Delayed development and duodenal atresia
  • Hirschsprung’s disease and hearing loss
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Slanted eyes, short limbs, and short neck
  • Protruding tongue and palmar crease
  • Round face and rolling eye or nystagmus
  • Occiput flat and oblique eye fissure
  • Brushfield spot and brachycephaly
  • Low nasal bridge and language problem
  • Epicanthic fold and ear folded
  • Mental retardation and myoclonus

Hypoxia Signs in Neonates and Infants: FINES

  • Feeding difficulty
  • Inspiratory stridor
  • Nares flaring
  • Expiratory grunting
  • Sternal retractions

Scarlet Fever: 6 S’s

  • Streptococci causal organism
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Strawberry tongue
  • Sandpaper rash
  • Sudamina (military) vesicles: over hands, feet, abdomen

Sickle Cell Anemia Crisis Treatment: HOP

  • Hydration via IV normal saline (NS) solution
  • Oxygen supplementation
  • Pain management

Pharmacology (Pharm)

Pharmacology Acronyms and Mnemonics

6 Rights of Drug Administration- Patients Do Drugs Round The Day: PPDRTD

  • Right Patient
  • Right Medication
  • Right Dose
  • Right Route
  • Right Time
  • Right Documentation

6 Rights of Drug Administration: DR. TIMED

  • Right Dose
  • Right Route
  • Right Time
  • Right Individual
  • Right Medication
  • Right Expiration date*
  • Right Documentation
*Some students are taught to include “right effect” as well: the expected outcomes of treatment

Antihypertensives: ABC

  • ACE Inhibitors
  • Beta Blocker (LOLs)
  • Calcium Channel Blockers

Bradycardia Drugs: IDEA*

  • Isoproterenol
  • Dopamine
  • Epinephrine
  • Atropine

Think of Idea = Light bulb = Energy = Increasing speed of heart to treat bradycardia

Bronchodilators: TO A SIS

  • Terbutaline
  • Orciprenaline
  • Adrenaline
  • Salbutamol
  • Isoprenaline
  • Salmeterol

IM Gluteal Injection: Shut UP and BUTT OUT (or ouch!)

  • The Upper Outer quadrant of the Buttock
  • Or ouch! = This technique avoids hitting the sciatic nerve

Interactions: These Drugs Can Interact

  • T: Theophyline
  • D: Dilantin
  • C: Coumadin
  • I: Ionone (Erythromycin)

Lidocaine Toxicity: SAMS

  • Seizures
  • Altered central nervous system
  • Muscle twitching
  • Slurred speech

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: NSAIDS

  • Naproxen
  • Salicylates
  • Advil
  • Ibuprofen
  • Diclofenac
  • Sulinclac

Tuberculosis Drugs: PERIS*

  • Pyrazinamide (Rolab-Pyrazinamide, Pyrazide, Rozide, Isopas)
  • Ethambutol (Purderal, Rolab-Ethambutol)
  • Rifampin (Rifacap 150, Rifacap 450, Rimactane 600, Rifinah 300)
  • Isoniazid (Lennon-Isoniazid, Be-tabs Isoniazid, Norstan-Isoniazid)
  • Streptomycin (Aminoglycoside: streptomycine, streptomycin sulfate or streptomycin nitrate)

*Think of someone saying “Paris” with a French accent

Tuberculosis Drugs (and Major Side Effects): RIPES

  • Rifampicin: red-orange secretions and urine
  • Isoniazid: peripheral neuritis
  • Pyrazinamide: increased uric acid
  • Ethambutol: visual problems
  • Streptomycin: ototoxic

Psych/Mental Health

Psychiatric/Mental Health Acronyms and Mnemonics

Alcohol Use Screening: CAGE

  • Cut back: has anyone ever suggested that you cut back on drinking?
  • Annoyed: has anyone ever expressed being annoyed at your drinking habits?
  • Guilt: do you ever feel guilty about your drinking?
  • Eye opener: do you ever feel the urge to have a morning drink as an eye opener?

Altered Mental Status: DIM TOP (as in his head ain’t right!)

  • Drugs: prescription, illicit, accidental overdose, and toxicity of unknown origin
  • Infections: meningitis, encephalitis, sepsis, urinary tract infections, and others
  • Metabolic: hypoglycemia, hyponatremia, and other imbalances
  • Trauma: head, c-spine, and blood loss
  • Oxygen deficit: CNS hypoxia, metabolic
  • Psychological: diagnosis of exclusion

Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode Signs: DIG FAST

  • Distractibility
  • Indiscretion, impatience, and irritability
  • Grandiosity
  • Flight of ideas and energy
  • Activity increase
  • Sleep deficit
  • Talkative- excessively

Depression Assessment Signs: CAPS

  • Concentration impaired or decreased
  • Appetite changes
  • Psychomotor function decreased
  • Suicidal ideations and sleep disturbances

Depression: Assessment Findings | SIG

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Interest decreased
  • Guilty feelings

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Worry WARTS

  • W: Wound up
  • W: Worn-out
  • A: Absentmindedness
  • R: Restless
  • T: Touchy (as in increased emotional sensitivity)
  • S: Sleepless

Major Depressive Disorder: SIG E CAPS

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Interests decreased
  • Guilt
  • Energy decreased
  • Concentration decreased
  • Appetite disturbance
  • Psychomotor changes
  • Sleep disturbances

OARS: Motivational Interviewing

  • Open-ended questions
  • Affirmations
  • Reflections
  • Summaries

Psych Assessment: Always Send Mail Through Post Office

  • A: Appearance
  • S: Speech
  • M: Mood and Memory
  • T: Thoughts
  • P: Perception
  • O: Orientation

Schizophrenia: Primary Symptoms | 4 A’s

  • A1: Affect
  • A2: Ambivalence
  • A3: Associative looseness
  • A4: Autism (autistic-like behavior; including limited affection/difficulty making interpersonal connections with others)

Suicide Attempt Warning Signs: Is Path Warm?

  • I: Ideation
  • S: Substance Abuse
  • P: Purposelessness
  • A: Anxiety
  • T: Trapped
  • H: Hopelessness
  • W: Withdrawal
  • A: Anger
  • R: Recklessness
  • M: Mood Changes

Public/Community Health

Public and Community Health Acronyms and Mnemonics

The 3 Epidemiological Health Models: WEB

  • Web of Causation Epidemiological Health Model
  • Epidemiological Triangle Health Model
  • BEINGS Epidemiological Health Model

Epidemiological Health Model: BEINGS  

  • Biological and behavioral factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Immunological factors
  • Nutritional factors
  • Genetic factors
  • Services, social factors, and spiritual factors

Renal (Kidney)

Renal (Kidney) Acronyms and Mnemonics

Patients Who Require Dialysis: AEIOU (The Vowels)

  • Acid base imbalance
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Intoxication
  • Overload of fluids
  • Uremic symptoms


Reproductive Health Acronyms and Mnemonics

Intrauterine Device (IUD) Complications: PAINS 

  • Period irregularities: Too much/little/sporadic (late, spotting, heavy bleeding)
  • Abdominal pain/dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
  • Infection: Pelvic- abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Not feeling well: Fever or chills
  • String missing (inspected for once/month by patient)

Oral Birth Control Pills Complications: ACHES

  • A | Abdominal pain
  • C | Chest pain
  • H | Headache
  • E | Eye problems
  • S | Severe leg pain (DVT)
  • P | Pulmonary embolism

Hormonal Birth Control Complications: CHEAT

  • C | Chest pain
  • H | Headaches
  • E | Eye problems
  • A | Acne/Abdominal pain
  • T | Thrombi: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE)


Respiratory System Acronyms and Mnemonics

Asthma Management: ASTHMA

  • A | Adrenergics: Albuterol and other bronchodilators
  • S | Steroids
  • T | Theophylline
  • H | Hydration: Intravenous fluids
  • M | Mask: Oxygen therapy
  • A | Antibiotics (for associated respiratory infections)

Dyspnea: The 6 “P’s”

  • P1 | Pump failure
  • P2 | Pulmonary embolus
  • P3 | Pulmonary bronchial constriction
  • P4 | Possible obstruction from a foreign body
  • P5 | Pneumonia
  • P6 | Pneumothorax

Epiglottitis: AIR RAID

  • Airway Closed
  • Increased Pulse
  • Restlessness
  • Retractions
  • Anxiety Increased
  • Inspiratory Stridor
  • Drooling

Hypoxia: RAT (signs of early) BED (signs of late)

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Tachycardia and tachypnea
  • Bradycardia
  • Extreme restlessness
  • Dyspnea

Pneumothorax Signs: P-THORAX

  • Pleuretic pain (pain in the actual lungs- not cardiac chest pain)
  • Trachea deviation
  • Hyperresonance
  • Onset sudden
  • Reduced breath sounds (& dyspnea)
  • Absent fremitus
  • X-ray shows collapsed lung

Respiratory Depression Inducing Drugs: STOP

  • Sedatives and hypnotics
  • Trimethoprim
  • Opiates: example- morphine
  • Polymyxins


Urinary System Acronyms and Mnemonics

Urinary Catheter (Foley) Documentation: DASP

  • Description of urine: color, clarity, sediments, odor
  • Amount of urine: measured in milliliters (mLs)
  • Size of catheter: the diameter of the tubing
  • Procedure performed: example- placement of a new foley, foley care, or foley removal

Transient Incontinence Causes: DIAPERS

  • Delirium
  • Infection
  • Atrophic urethra
  • Pharmaceuticals and psychological
  • Excess urine output
  • Restricted mobility
  • Stool impaction

Resources for Nursing Students

Transient Incontinence Causes: DIAPERS

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