Clinical Terminology for Students by University of Pittsburgh

Clinical Terminology for Students

Understanding the clinical terms and abbreviations commonly used in U.S. hospitals is challenging. Adaptation to clinical language is difficult for U.S. students entering the clinical area and even more difficult for international students whose primary language is not English. This course helps both groups of students understand many of the terms and abbreviations commonly encountered during the first three months of clinical work on a U.S. general hospital unit.


About the course
The language of health care providers at U.S. clinical sites is heavily infused with abbreviations and technical terms. Frequently, there is little time to ask for explanations. This course focuses on terms and abbreviations that will be heard or seen during early clinical work. Terms are presented according to the clinical context in which they will be experienced using print, audio and visual representations. A web-based clinical dictionary for beginners provides additional information about terms presented in the course as well as definitions of many important terms that could not be covered in the six week course.

Course Syllabus
Week 1: Understanding the structure of clinical terms and abbreviations
Clinical Focus: Vital Signs

Week 2: Solving clinical word puzzles
Clinical Focus: The Clinical Unit and Bedside Environment

Week 3: Refining strategies for solving clinical word puzzles
Clinical Focus: Emergencies, Medication and IV fluid Administration

Week 4: Dealing with acronyms
Clinical Focus: Diseases and Related Abbreviations

Week 5: Using clinical language safely
Clinical Focus: Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures

Week 6: Assessing your ability to use what you have learned
Clinical Conversations: Practice hearing, seeing, and responding to true-to-life clinical situations

This course is for International and U.S. students and health professionals who are beginning or will be experiencing clinical practice in the United States. Knowledge of anatomy and physiology and common disease states supports success.

Course Format
This course consists of 6 modules introduced by a video presentation. Using a language-learning approach, definitions of terms and abbreviations are supplemented with audio, images, and video-recordings. Strategies for effective learning and opportunities to use new terms and abbreviations are offered. Quiz questions accompany each module.

Course Sessions
July 14, 2014 - August 22, 2014

For more information, click here.

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