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Glossary for emergency medicine

This glossary explains many of the most common terms used in emergency care. The language used by medical professionals in the emergency room or hospital during examination and treatment may sometimes be confusing and difficult to understand. We have compiled this glossary to help you understand the words and expressions that you may come across during your treatment.

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  • A

    • Acute

      ​Acute means a sudden, temporary situation. Emergency medicine is also known as acute medicine.

      Keywords: sudden

    • Ambulance

      ​​An ambulance is an emergency care unit used by paramedics to reach a patient. It is also used for transporting the patient to hospital, if it is necessary, after initial care provided at the scene.

      Keywords: emergency care, patient transport

    • Anaesthesia

      ​Anaesthesia means controlled, temporary loss of sensation or awareness that is induced with an anaesthetic, analgesic or other medication while bodily functions remain normal.

      Keywords: anaesthesia, numbing, pain relief

    • Anaesthesiologist

      ​​The duties of the anaesthesiologist include anaesthesia, pain relief, intensive care and emergency care. 

      Keywords: Anaesthesiologist, anaesthetist, anaesthesiology, anaesthesia

    • Anaphylaxis

      ​​A rapidly developing allergic reaction with strong, even life-threatening symptoms such as difficulty in breathing.

      Keywords: anaphylactic reaction, allergy

    • Anterior and posterior packing

      A procedure to stop bleeding in the nose cavity. In anterior packing, a tampon stopping the bleeding is inserted through the front of the nose cavity. In posterior packing, cotton gauze is used for blocking the openings at the back of the nasal passage.

      Keywords: nosebleed control, nasal pack, tamponade

    • Anti-inflammatory

      ​A medicine that reduces inflammation, pain and temperature. The class of medications includes several medicines, but only one of them can be taken at a time. Anti-inflammatory painkillers include ibuprofen, ketoprofen and diclofenac. Coxibs are a new-generation of anti-inflammatory drugs that are less likely to irritate the stomach than traditional analgesics and do not increase the risk of haemorrhage. Coxibs are as effective as traditional anti-inflammatory painkillers.

      Keywords: anti-inflammatory painkiller, NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

    • Anticoagulant

      A group of medicines that help prevent normal blood clotting. They are used to prevent and/or treat blockages in blood vessels. Anticoagulants may interact with painkillers or prevent the use of certain local anaesthetics.

      Keywords: blood-thinning medicine, warfarin, Marevan, Pradaxa, heparin

    • Arterial cannula

      A thin cannula inserted in the artery, a blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart, for measuring the blood pressure or taking blood samples.

      Keywords: arterial cannula

    • Assessment of need for care

      Triage is the decision made by a health-care professional on the order of treatment of patients or casualties.

      Keywords: initial assessment, triage

    • Assistant Nurse Manager

      ​​The assistant nurse manager works in tandem with the nurse manager and is in charge of planning daily operations, division of duties and rosters and deputises for the nurse manager.

      Keywords: nursing, line manager

    • Asystole

      ​​When a person is in cardiac arrest and the electric activity in the heart has stopped, the electrocardiogram flatlines. This is known as asystole. If, for example, in a resuscitation situation, asystole is detected, basic life support must be started immediately. Asystole is not a shockable rhythm.

      Keywords: cardiac arrest

  • B

    • Bacterial culture

      ​​Bacterial culture is a method of laboratory testing for possible bacteria that cause infections. Bacterial cultures are taken from the back of the throat, wounds and blood. Bacteria are identified at the laboratory and this determines their antimicrobic sensitivity which informs the physician which medication will be effective. The results of bacterial cultures take from a couple of days up to several weeks to be ready. 

      Keywords: laboratory test, blood test, blood sample

    • Basic blood count

      A basic blood count is a laboratory test that shows haemoglobin, haematocrit, total red cell count and total white cell count.

      Keywords: Basic blood count

    • Bedpan

      ​​Bedpan is a container into which bed-ridden patients can urinate.

      Keywords: commode

    • Benign

      Benign refers to an illness that is not harmful. A benign tumour is a non-cancerous tumour and does not metastasise. The opposite of benign is malign, which refers to cancer or cancerous tumour

      Keywords: Reproductive and breast General and administrative site

    • Blood investigation

      Blood plays a central role in bodily functions as a carrier of substances and therefore most of the laboratory tests are performed on blood. Blood carries oxygen, nutrients, salts, proteins and several hormones regulating the function of cells. Similarly, it also carries substances that need to be disposed of by transporting them to the kidneys and sometimes to be recycled by other tissue.A blood sample is usually taken from the vein. Suitable veins for taking blood are located in, for example, the bend of the elbow.

      Keywords: blood test, blood sample, laboratory test

    • Blood patch

      A blood patch is a treatment for a prolonged headache following a lumbar puncture, which is performed by taking the patient’s own blood and injecting it into to the cerebrospinal fluid space. The blood creates compression in the epidural space and restores normal pressure following the low pressure level caused by the puncture.

      Keywords: prolonged headache, adverse effect of spinal anaesthesia

    • Blood transfusion

      Blood transfusion means giving a patient blood or a blood product intravenously. It is a procedure in which a patient is given the specific blood product that they need. In Finland, all blood and blood products used in transfusions are supplied by the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service. It is important that the patient receives the right blood type in blood transfusion.

      Keywords: blood drip

    • Bloodless field

      A method by which veins in an area are emptied of blood with a tourniquet and cuff. Emptying veins of blood creates favourable conditions for surgery. The method is applied in operations on upper and lower limbs.

      Keywords: bloodless vessels, improved surgical field

    • Bradycardia

      Abnormally slow heart action. The heartbeat is slower than 60 beats per minute.

      Keywords: arrhythmia

  • C

    • C-PAP

      A continuous positive airways pressure maintained with a mask or breathing tube during spontaneous breathing.The C-PAP mask supports breathing following an operation. Those suffering from sleep apnoea often use C-PAP at home, and they are advised to bring their own device with them to an operation at the hospital.

      Keywords: mask, continuous positive airway pressure

    • Cardiac Unit

      The Cardiac Unit performs both invasive and non-invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The most common invasive operations include coronary artery angiography, coronary balloon angioplasty, pacemaker implantation etc.

      Keywords: cardiac department, cardiac monitoring

    • Cardioversion

      Cardioversion is a procedure in which an abnormal heart rhythm is corrected to a normal rhythm using electricity or drugs.

      Keywords: cardioversion, CV

    • Catheter

      A flexible tube used for administering fluids or draining fluids from the body. Examples of catheters include central venous catheter and urinary catheter.

      Keywords: cannula, hollow tube, urinary catheter

    • Central venous catheter

      A catheter designed for administering large volumes of fluids or intravenous nutrition. Central venous catheters are used with patients who are not suited for a conventional intravenous cannula or require intravenous nutrition for several weeks. The central venous catheter is usually inserted into the jugular vein or subclavian vein.

      Keywords: CVC, central line catheter, feeding catheter, fluid catheter, measurement catheter

    • Cerebrospinal fluid space

      The space surrounding the spinal cord into which anaesthetic and analgesic agents can be administered.

      Keywords: CSF space, cerebrospinal fluid space, fluid space

    • Checklist

      A safety tool for checking that all necessary measures have been taken. Checklists are widely used in healthcare. The purpose of checklists is to ensure compliance with approved safety procedures, improve communication and teamwork.

      Keywords: checklist, safety procedures, safety

    • Chest drain

      A tube inserted, usually temporarily, into the pleural cavity to drain liquids.

      Keywords: Pleural drain, pleural fluid, tube

    • Conduction disorders

      A disturbance in the electrical conduction system of the heart.

      Keywords: heart block

    • Couch

      In emergency rooms, some of the beds are narrow and hard couches which are used for temporary rest by patients.

      Keywords: bed, hospital bed, stretcher

    • CPR

      Cardiopulmonary resuscitation to restore breathing and blood supply by means of alternating rescue breaths and compressions. The breath–compressions ratio is 30 compressions to 2 breaths (30:2).

      Keywords: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, resuscitation

    • CRP

      C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein and the level is measured to determine the level of inflammation.

      Keywords: inflammation, blood test, C-reactive protein

    • CT

      CT, or computer tomography, uses x-rays for cross-sectional imaging of an area in the body. The method allows for detailed imaging of bones, fatty tissue, internal organs, air and blood vessels.

      Keywords: computer tomography

    • Current Care Guidelines

      Current Care Guidelines are independent, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines that cover important issues related to Finnish health, medical treatment as well as the prevention of diseases.

      Keywords: current care guidelines, care guidelines

    • CVU

      CVU, or clean-voided urine sample. The sample is given avoiding excessive presence of bacteria in the sample originating from the opening of the urethra. Before giving the sample, hands and the genitalia are washed carefully, and then some urine is passed into the toilet bowl. Then approx. 50 ml of uninterrupted mid-stream urine is collected into the sample bottle.

      Keywords: urine sample, CVU, clean-voided urine, mid-stream sample

    • Cyanosis

      Blueish colour of skin or mucous membranes due to the low level of oxygen in the red blood cells. A typical cause for cyanosis is a general low oxygenation level resulting from a heart failure or a localised lack of oxygen, such as lips turning blue in cold weather.

      Keywords: Blue decolourisation, blue skin

    • Cystofix

      Cystofix is a brand name of a plastic tube that is inserted directly into the bladder through the abdomen. Urine is collected from the bladder to a bag without going through the urinary tract.

      Keywords: suprapubic catheter, tube, hollow tube

  • D

    • Defibrillation

      The defibrillator delivers a short and powerful electric shock to the body through metal electrodes. The purpose of the shock is to end ventricular fibrillation and restore normal sinus rhythm.

      Keywords: resuscitation, electric shock, defibrillation

    • Defibrillator

      A defibrillator is used to treat life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia. It delivers an electric current to the heart muscle. Defibrillators can be fully automatic, semi-automatic or manual. Defibrillation causes the electric activity in the cells of the heart muscle to cease with the aim of arresting electric activity in the heart. During the asystole (cardiac arrest), the sinus node or another part of the electrical conduction system of the heart is able to re-establish normal sinus rhythm.

      Keywords: Resuscitation, electric current, defibrillation, defibrillator

    • Dialysis

      A patient with kidney failure may undergo dialysis treatment, which replaces the person’s own kidneys. In dialysis, the patient’s blood flows through an external machine, which filters waste products and excess fluid from the blood.

      Keywords: dialysis, dissolution, cleaning

    • Diathermy

      A diathermy machine is an electrosurgical device used for cutting tissue or (burning) cauterising small blood vessels. The mechanism is based on increasing the temperature of tissue with a high-frequency electric current.

      Keywords: electrosurgical device

    • Distal

      Situated away from the centre (of the body), outer, more distant. Opposite to proximal.

      Keywords: situated away

    • DNR

      The abbreviation DNR comes from Do Not Resuscitate. DNR is an advance decision which says that in case of cardiac arrest the patient does not want to be resuscitated. The DNR decision can be stated by the patient themselves in their living will.

      Keywords: Do not resuscitate, advance decision to refuse life-sustaining treatment

    • Drain

      Usually a temporary drainage tube to remove accumulating fluid from the body.

      Keywords: drainage tube

    • Draw sheet

      The draw sheet is a sheet made of strong fabric placed crosswise on the bed and used as an aid in transferring and lifting the patient.

      Keywords: sheet, hospital bead

  • E

    • ECG

      ECG, or electrocardiogram is a method of recording the electric activity of the heart on paper. When taking the ECG, electrodes are attached to the skin at certain points on the chest and limbs.

      Keywords: electrocardiogram

    • Emergency care

      Emergency care staff are responsible for the urgent assessment and possible treatment at the scene of an accident, for example, at home or place of work.

      Keywords: ambulance, patient transport, acute, paramedic

    • Emergency department

      Emergency departments provide care for emergency patients regardless of their place of residence. Emergency care means immediate assessment and treatment of patients with sudden illnesses or injuries, whose long-term illness has taken a sudden turn to worse, or whose functional capacity has decreased. Emergencies are situations where treatment cannot be postponed without the condition or injury of the patient deteriorating. Hospital emergency rooms are open 24/7.

      Keywords: emergency care, emergency service, acute, first aid, urgent care, hospital emergency room, health-centre emergency care

    • Emergency room

      The emergency room is a unit where patients who are, for example, critically injured are treated.

      Keywords: trauma room, resuscitation room

    • Endocrinologist

      Endocrinologist is a doctor specialised in endocrinology, which is the branch of medicine that studies glands (such as the thyroid gland) and their functions and diseases.

      Keywords: endocrine function, internal secretion, specialist, internal medicine

    • Enema

      The injection of liquid into the rectum to stimulate stool evacuation or to administer drugs.

      Keywords: rectal, rectum

    • Enteral

      Nutrition, liquid or drug administered through the gastrointestinal track. The administration takes place through the nasogastric tube or stoma.

      Keywords: oral administration, rectal administration

    • Epicrisis

      Epicrisis is a discharge summary, final evaluation or report at the end of treatment at a hospital ward or clinic. In the discharge summary, the doctor explains the course and treatment of the illness and the further treatment plan.

      Keywords: discharge summary

    • Excoriation

      Excoriation means superficial skin damage, such as a scratch of graze, exposing the dermis.

      Keywords: skin damage

  • F

    • Fluid balance

      Potassium, sodium and creatine laboratory results.

      Keywords: Fluid balance, blood sample, venous blood specimen, laboratory sample

    • Forceps

      Forceps are an instrument used in medical treatments in stitching wounds and removing foreign objects from tissue. Plastic forceps are disposable and metal ones reusable.

      Keywords: tweezers

  • G

    • Gastroscopy

      A gastroscopy is a procedure where a tube called a gastroscope is used to look inside the oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine. The gastroscope is guided to the stomach through the mouth.

      Keywords: endoscopy, gastroscope

    • General anaesthesia

      General anaesthesia is a medically induced controlled state of unconsciousnessin which they are unable to feel, react to or remember the pain caused by a medical procedure and are not aware of the events during the procedure. General anaesthesia comprises of sleep, painlessness and often the depression of muscle activity.

      Keywords: anaesthesia

    • General anaesthesia

      General anaesthesia is a medically induced state in which the patient is unable to feel, react or remember the pain caused by surgery and is not aware of the events during anaesthesia. General anaesthesia is also associated with the depression of muscular activity.

      Keywords: Anaesthesia, medically induced sleep

    • Gynaecologist

      A gynaecologist is a physician specialised in examining and treating diseases specific to the reproductive system of women and girls.

      Keywords: women’s health, gynae

  • H

    • Haematuria

      Blood in urine is detectable by eye or microscope.

      Keywords: blood in urine

    • HB

      Haemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that contains iron and transports oxygen around the body. Low haemoglobin indicates anaemia and it is usually caused by iron deficiency.

      Keywords: Haemoglobin, B-Hb, blood sample, laboratory test

    • Hematoma

      A bleed under the skin, or a bruise.

      Keywords: bruise

    • Hemothorax

      Hemothorax is a condition in which blood accumulated in the cavity between the lung and the ribcage. Hemothorax is typically caused by high-impact trauma.

      Keywords: blood in the pleural cavity

    • Home care

      The purpose of home care is to support patients living at home in their daily activities when they are not able to manage these activities on their own. The goal of home care is to arrange for the care and services of elderly people, convalescents and people with long-term illnesses, as well as disabled people over the age of 18 so that they may safely live at home despite their functional capacities being impaired.

      Keywords: home, care at home, supporting care

    • Home nursing

      Home nursing is nursing provided at the home of the patient. Its purpose is to support recovery after discharge from hospital and to support the patient’s independent coping at home, and the patient’s family in their role as carers.

      Keywords: home nursing, care at home

    • Hospice nursing

      End-of-life care with the goal of alleviating the patient’s symptoms and pain.

      Keywords: palliative care, end-of-life care

    • Hospital at home

      Home hospital treatment is hospital-level treatment provided in the home setting. Home hospital care is round-the-clock care and involves, e.g., IV antibiotic treatment, blood transfusion as well as hospice care.

      Keywords: nursing, home, care at home

    • Hospital chaplain

      Hospital chaplains work with patients and their families and friends as well as the hospital staff. The hospital chaplain can offer help though private discussions and pastoral care group meetings and they hold worships and prayer meetings.

      Keywords: pastoral care in hospital, minister, pastoral care

    • Hospital ward

      Wards are departments in hospitals and health centres where patients stay overnight or longer for monitoring and treatment. Wards may be specialised for certain diseases, such as cancer wards.

      Keywords: department, hospital ward

    • Hospital-acquired infection

      An infection acquired in a hospital. The cause of infection is usually resistant to antimicrobial medication.

      Keywords: infection, bacteria, hospital

    • Hyperglycaemia

      Hyperglycaemia means higher than normal blood glucose level. The normal range for blood glucose is below 6.0 mmol/l (millimoles per litre)

      Keywords: diabetes, DM, hyperglycaemia

    • Hypertension

      Hypertension means high blood pressure. Blood pressure is considered to be above the normal range when the higher number (systolic pressure) is over 140 or the lower number (diastolic pressure) is over 90. In the long term, high blood pressure can damage the arteries and increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack.

      Keywords: blood pressure, increased blood pressure

    • Hypoglycaemia

      Hypoglycaemia means lower than normal blood glucose level. In healthy individuals, the blood glucose levels does not fall dangerously low although they may have various symptoms. In people with diabetes, low blood glucose level causes symptoms such as sweating, confusion, unconsciousness and, if left untreated, a life-threatening condition.

      Keywords: diabetes, DM, hypoglycaemia

    • Hypothermia

      Hypothermia means dangerously low body temperature, which may be the result of falling into cold water. In mild hypothermia, the body temperature falls below 35 degrees, in moderate hypothermia between 30–34 degrees and in severe hypothermia below 30 degrees centigrade. There is no evidence of hypothermia occurring in normal conditions.

      Keywords: Low body temperature

    • Hypovolaemia

      Hypovolaemia means the decrease of the amount of fluid in tissue due to dehydration or bleeding. This results in low blood pressure, reduced skin turgor, electrolyte imbalance and, in the most severe cases, shock.

      Keywords: decreased blood volume

  • I

    • ICH

      Intracerebral haemorrhage means bleeding inside the skull whether within or around the brain.

      Keywords: Brain haemorrhage.

    • Icterus

      Yellowish tone of skin and whites of the eyes due to high bilirubin levels. Typically it is caused by liver and pancreas problems.

      Keywords: jaundice, icterus

    • Indwelling catheter

      An indwelling catheter is a hollow tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra. The indwelling catheter can be used from a few hours to longer periods of time.

      Keywords: urinary catheter, catheterisation

    • Infusion

      Infusion of fluid into the body via a cannula or catheter.

      Keywords: drip, fluid infusion

    • Infusion device

      An infusion device or meter is a device for administering precise doses of a fluid one drop of a millilitre at a time.

      Keywords: metre, fluid infusion device

    • INR

      INR (international normalised ratio) is a measure based on WHO recommendation used in monitoring anticoagulant treatment (warfarin, Marevan). The normal INR is 1.0. The higher the INR, the longer it takes for blood to clot.

      Keywords: anticoagulant, Marevan, warfarin

    • Intensive care

      More demanding care provided at an intensive care or intensive therapy unit. Intensive care includes, for example, assisted breathing with a ventilator.

      Keywords: demanding care, demanding patient care

    • Intermittent catheter

      An intermittent urinary catheter is a hollow tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra. The intermittent catheter is used for one-off emptying of the bladder.

      Keywords: urinary catheter, catheterisation

    • Internal

      Something located inside the body or organ

      Keywords: Inside, inner

    • Intravenous cannula

      A thin tube inserted in the vein, usually in the arm, to administer drugs or fluids.

      Keywords: Intravenous cannula, cannula, drip

    • Intubation

      The insertion of a breathing tube into the trachea.

      Keywords: breathing tube, endotracheal tube, intubation tube, artificial airway

    • Intubation tube

      A tube inserted into the larynx or trachea to keep airways open for oxygen or anaesthetic gases. The intubation tube is inserted under general anaesthetic.

      Keywords: breathing tube, endotracheal tube, intubation tube, artificial airway

    • Invasive

      A procedure or examination that involves an incision or the insertion of instruments or medical devices inside the body. Opposite to non-invasive.

      Keywords: Invasive

    • Ischaemia

      Ischaemia means local restriction in blood supply and a shortage of oxygen in part of the tissue. Typically ischaemia is referred to in connection with shortage of oxygen in the heart.

      Keywords: Lack of oxygen

    • IV

      Intravenous refers to administering fluid or a drug directly into the vein. Intravenous fluids and drugs are used when their administration by mouth is not sufficient and/or rapid response is needed, or the patient is otherwise unable to take fluids or drugs by mouth.

      Keywords: intravenous, inside a vein

    • IV-AB

      IV-AB means intravenous antibiotic, or an antibiotic which is administered directly into the vein. Intravenous antibiotics are used in infections when oral drugs (taken by mouth) are not a sufficient treatment.

      Keywords: intravenous, antibiotic

  • K

    • Kidney bowl

      A kidney bowl is a dish made of pulp/recycled paper or metal used in health care as a vomit dish for patients and as an accessory in various procedures.

      Keywords: vomit dish

  • L

    • Laparatomy

      A surgical procedure in the abdomen in which a surgical incision is made. Open surgery.

      Keywords: open surgery, surgical incision

    • Laparoskopy

      A surgical procedure in the abdomen carried out as keyhole surgery.

      Keywords: keyhole surgery, laparoscope, keyhole

    • Laryngoscope

      An endoscope used in the insertion of the intubation tube.

      Keywords: laryngoscope, endoscopy, lighted laryngoscope

    • Laryngoscopy

      Laryngoscopy means the endoscopy of the larynx (throat) using an instrument called a laryngoscope. A laryngoscope is used, for example, in the insertion of the intubation tube during a surgical procedure.

      Keywords: endoscopy of the throat

    • Lateral

      Located away from the middle or on the side of something. The opposite of lateral is medial.

      Keywords: distant, a side part

    • Local anaesthetic

      A medication that prevents nerve impulses from travelling through neural pathways.

      Keywords: pain prevention, pain relief

  • M

    • Malign

      A malignant tumour is a tumour that penetrates into tissue and metastasises. The term is used for cancer.

      Keywords: malignant

    • Mask

      Various masks are used to give a patient supplementary oxygen, air or anaesthetic gases.

      Keywords: mask, prongs

    • Measure of pain intensity

      Pain can be measured through different rating scales. The nurse will help the patient to choose the most suitable pain rating scale for them.

      Keywords: VAS, visual analogue scale, VRS, visual rating scale, NRS, numeral rating scale

    • Medial

      Close to the middle, central, inner Opposite to lateral

      Keywords: inner

    • MET

      A team trained to manage internal emergencies at the hospital.

      Keywords: Medical emergency team

    • Monitoring

      The monitoring and observation of a patient’s condition. Monitoring involves the observation of blood pressure, pulse, ECG and blood oxygen level.

      Keywords: Patient monitoring, patient observation

    • Muscle relaxant

      A muscle depressant used in general anaesthetic.

      Keywords: skeletal muscle relaxant, muscle depressant , general anaesthetic

  • N

    • Nasal

      Nasal refers to things related to the nose or administered through the nose.

      Keywords: Related to the nose, through the nose

    • Nasal cannula

      A nasal cannula is a device attached to an oxygen tube.

      Keywords: Nasal cannula, oxygen, lack of oxygen

    • Neurologist

      Specialist in neurology Specialised in the examination and treatment of symptoms and disorders of the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and muscles.

      Keywords: Neurology, specialist

    • NG tube

      A rubber or plastic tube inserted into the stomach through the nostril. Used for feeding the patient or conversely for emptying the contents of the stomach/intestinal tract.

      Keywords: Nasogastric tube

    • Numbing

      Numbing means making an area numb and free of pain with a local anaesthetic.

      Keywords: numbness, pain-free

    • Nurse in charge

      The nurse in charge of a shift serves as the team leader and is responsible for making decisions in demanding situations. Outside the shift, the nurse in charge is responsible for staffing and staff transferring.

      Keywords: nurse in charge of a shift

    • Nurse Manager

      The Nurse Manager is the administrative head of a department responsible for the smooth running of the operations, adequate and qualified staffing to facilitate safe, high-quality care.

      Keywords: Charge nurse, line manager, manager

  • O

    • Opioid

      A strong painkiller that acts on the central nervous system. Strong opioids include morphine and oxycodone, and mild opioids include tramadol and codeine.

      Keywords: painkiller, strong analgesic, central nervous system

    • Order of urgency

      At the emergency room, patients are always treated in the order of urgency, not in the order of arrival. At registration, a senior nurse assesses the urgency of the care need based on triage guidelines drawn up by medical professionals, e.g. doctors. Emergency patients are always treated first.

      Keywords: triage, order of urgency

    • Orthopaedist

      An orthopaedist is a physician specialised in various diseases and injuries affecting the musculoskeletal system.

      Keywords: orthopaedics, musculoskeletal diseases

    • Oxygen

      Oxygen is essential for the normal metabolism of tissue. Red blood cells carry it to tissue throughout the body. Supplemental oxygen is given through an oxygen mask or nasal cannula, or “prongs”.

      Keywords: supplemental oxygen, oxygen mask, nasal cannula

    • Oxygen mask

      An oxygen mask is used for giving supplementary oxygen to a patient who suffers from a lack of oxygen.

      Keywords: mask, oxygen, lack of oxygen

  • P

    • Pacemaker

      A battery-powered device with a remote-monitoring function for regulating the contractions of the heart, diaphragm or some other muscle.

      Keywords: pacemaker

    • Palliative care

      Treatment that focuses on relieving the symptoms of a patient with cancer or other progressive, incurable disease.

      Keywords: symptom relief, treatment of symptoms

    • Paramedic

      A paramedic is a trained health-care professional who treats patients who have suddenly become ill or injured, either on location or at the hospital.

      Keywords: ambulance drives, emergency care, patient transport, acute

    • Parenteral

      A route of administration other than by mouth or the gastrointestinal tract. Usually refers to intravenous administration.

      Keywords: external to the gastrointestinal tract, route of administration, medication route, fluid route

    • Patient lift

      Electrically operated device used for safe moving of a patient from the bed to the shower.

      Keywords: Glossary of emergency medicine

    • Patient record

      Patient records stored in the health care data system containing notes entered by medical professionals, information about the patient’s illnesses, examinations and the results, and treatment given.

      Keywords: medical record

    • Patient transfer sheet

      A strong sheet with a low-friction section in the middle, used in transferring and moving patients.

      Keywords: Transfer sheet, glide sheet, slide sheet

    • PEA

      PEA is pulseless electrical activity shown on the monitor. PEA (pulseless electrical activity) is a pulseless hearth rhythm detected on the heartrate monitor. The usual cause for PEA is a widespread shortage of oxygen in the heart.

      Keywords: pulseless electrical activity, resuscitation

    • PEG tube

      PEG, or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, enables nutrition when feeding by mouth is not possible. The PEG tube is inserted into a patient's stomach through the abdominal wall under local anaesthetic.

      Keywords: feeding tube

    • Pneumothorax

      Pneumothorax means there is air in the chest (pleural) cavity. This causes the lungs to collapse and prevents the lungs from functioning normally. Any injury perforating the chest causes pneumothorax, as the injury creates an opening between the chest cavity and outside air.

      Keywords: pneumothorax

    • Post

      After an event or procedure. For example, a postoperative infection is an infection that occurs after a surgery, and post partum means after childbirth.

      Keywords: after

    • Post Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU)

      A recovery room adjacent to the operating theatre where the patient can be monitored following a surgery. The post anaesthetic care unit is also used for preparing the patient for surgery and to carry out procedures.

      Keywords: recovery, monitoring after surgery, postoperative care

    • Post-dural-puncture headache

      The headache following a spinal anaesthetic is caused by low cerebrospinal fluid pressure. The headache is typically felt when the patient is in an upright position and eases off when lying down. The headache can be treated with an epidural blood patch.

      Keywords: PDPH, post lumbar puncture headache, spinal anaesthesia, headache in upright position

    • Pre

      Pre is a prefix that refers to something that happened before an event. E.g. a preoperative consultation means consultation before an operation.

      Keywords: before

    • Precautions

      Standard precautions are methods used to prevent microbial infections in health care settings. The standard precautions include careful hand hygiene, using protective equipment if necessary, and following the correct procedures. It is recommended the standard precautions be employed in all health care work.

      Apart from the standard precautions, it may be necessary to employ contact precautions, droplet precautions, or airborne isolation in a patient’s treatment. It is possible to employ more than one set of precautions at once. The precautions are selected to correspond to the likely infection path of the microbes.

      Keywords: Standard precautions, contact precautions, droplet precautions, airborne precautions, isolation

    • Proximal

      Near or situated close to the centre (of the body). Opposite to distal.

      Keywords: close to the source, near

    • Psychiatrist

      Psychiatry is a branch of medicine which involves the prevention, examination and treatment of mental health problems.

      A psychiatrist is a physician specialised in the research and treatment of mental health disorders.

      Keywords: psychiatry, mental health

    • Psychologist

      Psychology is a science investigating human behaviour, thinking and emotions.

      A psychologist is a licensed health-care service provider who investigates phenomena related to human behaviour, thinking and emotions and treats problems and disorders related to these.

      Keywords: psychology, mental health

    • Pulmonary ventilator

      A ventilator takes care of the essential exchange of gases, i.e., oxygen supply and elimination of carbon dioxide during general anaesthesia.

      Keywords: respirator, ventilator

    • Pulse oximeter

      A device that measures the blood oxygen level. The blood oxygen level indicates the efficiency of breathing. The sensor is clipped on the finger or earlobe.

      Keywords: blood oxygen level, oxygen saturation, saturation monitoring, saturation meter

    • Pyelostomy

      A catheter inserted directly into the kidney through the skin. If the excretion of urine from the kidney to the bladder has been blocked for some reason, a pyelostomy tube is inserted. This allows urine to pass from the kidney and avoid damage to the kidney tissue.

      Keywords: kidney catheter, nephrostomy

  • R

    • Rapid test

      In some urgent care services, rapid tests are used instead of actual laboratory tests. One example is rapid CRP test. A rapid test gives results faster than a laboratory test. The results are for guidance only and are not as accurate as samples investigated in a laboratory.

      Keywords: rapid test

    • Rehabilitation hospital/ward

      A rehabilitation hospital/ward focuses on maintaining, improving or restoring the patient’s functional capacity. Usually rehabilitative units offer the elderly rehabilitative services. Rehabilitation hospitals collaborate closely with health centres, social services and home nursing services. The hospitals offer specialist services in general practice, geriatrics, neurology, internal medicine and physiotherapy

      Keywords: rehabilitation, supporting and maintaining functional capacity

    • Resuscitation

      Restoring vital functions by artificially maintaining blood circulation and breathing.

      Keywords: Life-sustaining treatment

    • ROSC

      ROSC, return of spontaneous circulation, means the resuming of unassisted circulation following CPR.

      Keywords: circulation, return of spontaneous circulation

    • RR

      RR, or Riva Rocci, comes from the name of Scipione Riva-Rocci, the Italian inventor of the first blood pressure meter for clinical use. Blood pressure means the hydrostatic pressure throughout the vascular system. The lower number, diastolic pressure, gives the pressure in the large arteries of the systemic circulation when your heart rests between beats. The higher number, systolic pressure, gives the pressure in the large arteries of the systemic circulation when your heart pushes blood out.

      Keywords: blood pressure

  • S

    • Sedation

      When a patient is sedated, they are administered tranquillising and/or strong pain medication intravenously. The purpose of sedation is to alleviate the patient’s pain, fear and anxiety. Sedation is typically used in procedures performed under local anaesthetic.

      Keywords: pain relief, fear relief, fear of surgery

    • Shock

      The body’s reaction to a sudden change in environmental factors. Psychological reaction to a sudden emotional upset. Circulatory shock is a state of insufficient blood flow in relation to the volume of the circulatory system. This leads to low blood perfusion and oxygen supply in tissue. If untreated, circulatory shock is a life-threatening condition.

      Keywords: bodily reactions

    • Short general anaesthesia

      Short-duration anaesthesia is a quick anaesthesia used in, for example, day-surgery and other short procedures, such as electric cardioversion.

      Keywords: general anaesthesia, anaesthesia

    • Silver nitrate treatment

      A treatment used typically to stop a nosebleed. Silver nitrate does not help in active bleeding. The point of blood flow is lightly numbed A silver nitrate stick (caustic pencil) is applied topically and the treated area is neutralised with saline. After this, the area is cauterised with a diathermy machine.

      Keywords: stop bleeding, silver nitrate

    • Specialist in internal medicine

      Specialist in internal medicine

      Internal medicine is a branch of medicine that covers cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, endocrinological and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, kidney diseases, rheumatic diseases, infections and certain cancers.

      Keywords: Internal medicine, medicinal

    • Specialized medical care

      Specialised care means examination and treatment provided at a hospital by a specialised physician, such as surgery.

      Keywords: specialised care

    • Sterile

      Completely clean, free of bacteria. The hygiene standard for a surgical area, drapes and instruments.

      Keywords: clean, bacteria-free

    • Stoma

      Stoma. An artificial connection between two cavities or from the body to the outside.

      Keywords: stoma

    • Sugillation

      Bleeding, bruise, small hematoma in the eye.

      Keywords: subconjunctival bleeding

    • Surgeon

      A surgeon is specialised in surgery. Surgery is a branch of medicine in which illnesses are treated through operations and other invasive methods.

      Keywords: surgery

    • Suturation

      Closing a wound or incision with surgical thread. Different techniques are used depending on the location and depth of the wound or incision.

      Keywords: closing the wound, stitches

  • T

    • Tachycardia

      Abnormally fast heart rate, 120–280 beats per minute.

      Keywords: fast heart rate

    • Tetanus

      Tetanus is a bacterial disease. The symptoms include headache, muscle stiffness, and severe and painful spams. The bacteria exist naturally in the soil. The vaccination is part of the national vaccination programme and booster vaccinations are free. A tetanus booster should be taken every 10 years.

      Keywords: Tetanus

    • Thorax

      The area between the neck and abdomen framed by the thoracic vertebra, ribs and breastbone. The term thorax is often referred to in connection with chest x-ray.

      Keywords: chest, lungs

    • Topical anaesthesia

      A topical numbing of the skin or mucous membrane with a spray, drops, cream or gel.

      Keywords: numbing of skin, numbing of a mucous membrane

    • Triage

      Triage is the decision made by a health-care professional on the order of treatment of patients or casualties.

      Keywords: urgency for treatment, triage

  • U

    • Urinal bottle

      A bottle for male patients for urinating.

      Keywords: urine bottle

    • Urinary catheter

      A thin flexible tube inserted into the bladder via the urethra to empty the bladder. A urinary catheter is used when the amount of urine must be monitored or when the patient is unable to urinate.

      Keywords: tube, flexible tube, thin tube, urination

  • V

    • Visceral

      Of or affecting internal organs, e.g. visceral fat or visceral pain.

      Keywords: internal, affecting internal organs

  • W

    • Warming blanket

      Warming blankets are used to maintain a patient’s normal body temperature together with various warming mattresses, inflatable warming blankets and fluid warming systems.

      Keywords: Warming mattress, inflatable warming mattress, patient warming, fluid warming

    • Wristband

      A wristband with personal data so that the staff can verify the identity of the patient at all stages of treatment. The wristband is issued and attached by the unit receiving the patient.

      Keywords: wristband, bracelet, patient identification

Updated 1.5.2021