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Every profession has their own language. Medical terminology is the technical language of health care professions. It is used to describe the objects, situations and extremities encountered in their field of work. Just like any other language, it has changed, and will continue to change progressively. Medical words are structured in pieces to break down the words into more simple terms. These pieces or parts are suffixes, root words, vowels, and prefixes. The root of the word will give you a better understanding of what the term pertains to.
For example, in the word hemiplegia, hemi- is the root word. The rest of the word, or the suffix, -plegia, simply means paralysis.
Having knowledge of medical terms is critically important in any health care setting. If you don’t know the difference between a basal rate and a bolus, how would you know which to give to a patient? Every medical facility in the world uses medical terminology. Without knowing these terms, you will be lost and unsuccessful.
You also must be detailed with the terminology you do use in this profession; this makes the doctor’s job of diagnosing easier and all the more accurate. Although, when speaking to a patient, you must use very basic terminology, so they best understand the underlying issue. For the past three years, I have had the dream of becoming a nurse. I couldn’t tell you a specific field at the moment, but the language in this community is pretty universal. You must know the anatomy of the human body like the back of your hand.
If the doctor tells you to give an injection in the gluteus maximus and you inject the patient in the leg, that is considered medical malpractice and could put your job in jeopardy; along with future opportunities.
Nurses perform many administrative and clinical duties during their workday. They may answer phones, file medical records, draw blood, and give prescribed medications to the correct patient, etc. Thankfully, I was made very familiar to frequent doctor’s visits at a very young age. Being excited and enjoying going to the doctors wasn’t uncommon for me, I enjoyed seeing the nurses use all the different equipment and asking millions of questions about every single one I saw. Every nurse I pestered was patient and answered all the questions with kindness, and I longed to be that person for people when they’re unable to do it themselves. However, I wasn’t completely sure it was what I wanted until I witnessed a classmate have a seizure. Being there and not knowing how to help, or even being allowed to help was sickening to me. Later that year was my high school’s annual sophomore trip to the local career center, we were able to pick three ‘labs’ or ‘careers’ to tour during the day and get a more hands-on feel for that lab. I toured the ‘Health Careers Academy’, ‘Veterinary Technology’, and ‘Cosmetology’. During my time touring the health care lab, we had someone showing us CPR, vital signs, venipunctures and EKG’s! I knew as soon as I left the classroom that the healthcare field was 100% for me. I filled out my application for the program that night before I left the school.
Approximately four months later, in April, I received my acceptance letter into the Health Careers Academy program! Keeping my grades strong at my high school was necessary to hold my place in the health care program, so you bet I ended sophomore year strong. Going into my junior year in a new program, I thought I would be as easy-breezy as my first two years of high school. I faced a reality check pretty quickly. At the career center, half of my day’s classes were focused on basic high school academics, such as English, Math, and History classes. The rest of my day was called ‘lab’, where I would spend the rest of my day in the same classroom doing the required classes that helped me towards certifications.
During my first year in lab, I took nutrition, medical terminology, a session on online health-charting, a certification in Office 365 and the basic skills of a nursing assistant. Our classroom consisted of two ‘sides’. If you go into the room on the left, you have your basic classroom set-up, but in the back was a mock doctors office; complete with big desks and exam rooms that had all the equipment of a real doctor’s office. The classroom on the right had the same classroom set up, but instead of exam rooms, there were hospital beds with curtains surrounding each one. We also had a Phlebotomy lab. Personally, I feel that being in this type of setting five days a week really prepared me for what is to come in nursing school.
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