This post is inspired by Joni over at Nursetopia, who recently posted Jargon Invasion and recounted the story of using public health jargon (“healthy BMI”) when discussing weight loss and exercise. I think Joni’s post makes sense to most of us nurses who regularly use words and phrases from our “nursing world” out in the “real world.”

My best friend is a nurse practitioner and when we are together with non-medical friends and family members, they often laugh at us or shake their heads at our choice of discussion topics and the words we use. The fact that both of us studied women’s health and think nothing of discussing the intricacies of women’s bodies and sexuality sometimes makes others uncomfortable. This has also added quite a bit of language to the vocabularies of our children which sometimes makes us uncomfortable as well!

Do you find that you use nursing or medical terms in your everyday life that might sound odd to others who are not health care professionals? Describing my daughter’s drug rash as diffuse and morbilliform might give her pediatrician a clue that I am a nurse. When my children use the word vomit instead of throw-up or puke, I know that they are listening to my choice of words (no, they haven’t picked up on emesis yet!) Other things I’ve said that have garnered some odd looks include disease process, laboratory analysis, and cardiac event. When I say umbilicus instead of belly button, my kids know exactly what I’m talking about. Using the word axillary to describe a temperature reading is normal at our house.

I even find myself using medical abbreviations in my everyday writing. For example, I’ve got to clean my daughter’s newly pierced ears b.i.d. My grocery list might contain veggies with ranch (but instead of with I’ll use ‘c’ with a line over it.) And I’ve been known to email a colleague to review something for me stat.

It’s all part of being a nurse, I guess. It sure keeps things interesting! Have a comment to share? I'd love to hear your assessment of this post...document your observations here!