Nursetalk: Deciphering Nurse Conversations

Do you have a nursing major roomie, or have friends who are nursing majors and you can’t seem to understand what they’re talking about? This the is blogpost for you. As a nursing major, I find myself using jargon that no one understands but nurses (and other healthcare professionals). At times, I feel bad because people don’t have a clue to what I’m talking about. Hopefully, this blog will help you understand some of the common lingo nurses here at Hope use; then you’ll know what we’re talking about.

Clinical
Formal name: Practicum
Definition: Clinical/Practicum experiences are at several hospitals throughout the area. Nursing majors practice their skills and care for patients there. The various clinical/practicums are psychiatric nursing, OB nursing, pediatric nursing, adult nursing, gerontological nursing, community nursing, family nursing, and research practicum. You’ll hear us complaining about them often because they are 8 hours long, and many of us have to wake up 5:00 AM to go to the hospital.
Used in a sentence: Ugh, clinical was so busy today that I had no time to sit and chart anything!

NPW
Formal name: Nursing Process Worksheet
Definition: A worksheet nursing majors fill out about their patients at their clinical/practicum setting. These are extended and tedious, so you will hear this word come up. Most of the time, these end up being more than 10 pages, single-spaced.
Used in a sentence: Because clinical was so busy today, I had no time to sit and gather patient data for my NPW. I’m going to do so bad!

Break
Formal name: Clinical/Practicum Break
Definition: This is a time in which a nursing major does not have a clinical/practicum class, lasting for 8 weeks. Despite the relaxation it brings, nursing majors find themselves bored because they have nothing to do.
Used in a sentence: I have psych this half semester! What clinical are you in? “Oh, I actually don’t have a clinical; I’m on break!”

Select “All That Apply”
Formal name: A test question type that all nursing majors dread
Definition: These questions are multiple choice questions with more than one right answer. At times, all options may be right, and at other times, only two options may be right despite the many answer options.
Used in a sentence: For the select all that apply question on page 3, which answers did you get? “I picked a, c, and d.”

Priority Questions
Formal name: A test question that all nursing majors also dread
Definition: These questions are multiple choice questions in which all the option are correct. Nursing majors just have to identify which of the options is MORE correct.
Used in a sentence: Did you see that priority question? I would do all of those options first!!

ATI
Formal name: Assessment Technologies Institute (yeah, we don’t use the formal name)
Definition: At the end of each clinical, nursing students take ATI’s regarding their clinical subject. Its goals are to measure skills in that nursing discipline in hopes to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN. Nursing majors think they are ridiculous. The results of this test are ranked by level 1, 2, or 3 with sub-levels of low, medium, and high. For example, my score for my psych ATI was a high level 2.
Used in a sentence: YOU GUYS! I got a level 2 on my adult ATI! I PASSED!

Last, but not least…

NCLEX-RN
Formal name: National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse
Definition: This is what all nursing majors are working towards and preparing for. A lot of use think that we are going to fail it, but in reality, the Nursing program at Hope prepares its students so well as evidenced by their high pass rates.
Used in a sentence: You guys, I’m really nervous for the NCLEX. There’s just too much information for me to remember!

Hopefully, this will give you the necessary base you need to understand nursing majors. There’s more lingo to learn, but I’ll save that for another day. Thanks for reading, friends!

Published by Marvin Solberg

Greetings! My name is Marvin Solberg and my hometown is Traverse City, Michigan. I am a Hope College senior studying nursing, and aspire to obtain my Ph.D. in nursing research with the ultimate goal of becoming a professor. At Hope College, I am involved in Student Activities Committee (SAC), Student Blogging at Admissions, Ballet and Hip-Hop Club, Hope College Immersion Trips, and I am a nursing teaching assistant (TA)! I love God, my family, and friends. There's truly no place like Hope College; I call it my home away from home!

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