Common Medical Terms You Will Learn During CNA Training

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 While you are enrolled in CNA training, there will be a variety of medical terms you will be expected to learn, understand, and know so you can properly care for your patients once your CNA training is complete. In the following article, we are going to discuss some of the most common terms you will be taught during CNA training and see once you are in the workplace.

Medical Terms to Know After CNA Training


  • NPO- If you are working in a medical facility after CNA training, there is a good chance you are going to come across many patients with this medical term written in their chart or on a sign above their bed. This term comes from a phrase in Latin, “Nil per os,” which is translated to “nothing by mouth.” Doctors often give this order when a patient is about to have surgery, have certain tests done, or is fed by tube.


  • CVA- CVA is the abbreviation for cerebral vascular accident and is a term used to describe a stroke. During CNA training, you will learn this term can refer to two different types of strokes: ischemic strokes, which are caused by blood clots, and hemorrhagic strokes, which are cause by arteries that have ruptured.


  • ADL- One of the first terms you will learn in CNA training is ADL. ADL’s refer to a patient’s Activities of Daily Living, or the activities a patient must do every day, such as bathing, eating, dressing, and using the restroom.


  • I & O- I & O stands for input and output. During CNA training, you will learn how to calculate and record a patient’s daily input and output. This can include the fluids that go into a patient, such as drinks, tube feedings, and IV fluids, and the fluids that leave a patient’s body, such as blood, urine, and diarrhea.


  • TPR- If a doctor gives written orders for a patient’s TPR to be assessed every two hours, this means you will need to take the patient’s temperature, pulse, and respiration rate. Often, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and pain assessment are included in these types of orders as well.


  • AC- During CNA training, you will learn the term AC refers to an action that must be taken before meals. This term is from the Latin word that means ‘before meals,’ and can refer to a number of tasks, like blood glucose readings, exercise, or medication.


  • HS- Also from Latin, this term literally means “hour of sleep.” In other words, at bedtime.


  • ABC- Most CNA training programs include CPR classes. During these classes, you will learn the mnemonic ABC, which can be used to save a patient’s life when they are unresponsive and unconscious. In this mnemonic, A stands for airway, B for breathing, and C for circulation. All three of these elements are essential for life and must be established through CPR.


Using Medical Terms After CNA Training


When you have completed CNA training, you will be required to know and understand many of these medical terms in order to properly care for the patients you work with. The majority of these terms will also be present on your state test for CNA certification, so they are important to know after CNA training.

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