Medical Terminology

Theres no getting around the fact that throughout your career as a nurse, you'll need to know and use a lot of medical terms. Knowing this, the NCLEX does require you to be familiar with a lot of medical terminology, although you wont see a lot of questions that ask you specifically, what a term means. Instead, there will be many questions that use the terminology and you'll need to know what is meant in order to answer the question correctly.

So you might wonder how you'll know what medical terms you need to study. The best rule of thumb is to study all of the medical terms in your nursing school textbooks. One great study idea is to create your own list of terms, and their meanings, based on the terms found in the books. Then, you can use this list from which to study rather than carrying around a lot of books or thumbing through several pages. Make sure you know not only the meaning of each term, but how its applied on the job.

Medical Terminology

Another great idea for leaning terminology is to track the terms with which you're unfamiliar as you answer practice NCLEX questions. You should go over as many practice questions as you can as you're studying for the exam, so that you can see in what areas you're weaker. Once you know these, you can focus on them while studying. This concept also holds true when it comes to medical terms—discovering the terms of which you're not sure as you practice, will help you pinpoint the terms with which you're least familiar. With each practice question, make note of any term on which you're not clear and then, immediately look up the term and write it down on your list. Don't answer that practice question until you're sure you know the meaning of the term, even if you think you know the answer without checking. You might know the answer to this question, but the term could come up again in another question, and if you haven't looked up its meaning, you may not be able to answer the new question. So look up the definitions each time, and use this revised list of terms from which to study. You'll soon be very familiar with all of the medical terms you'll need to know for the exam.

Also, keep in mind that the test is looking for your ability to assess the patients condition, keep the patient safe, and know when to ask for assistance. Focus on these abilities in conjunction with the medical terms. If you spend too much time studying terms and data, you might not remember how to apply all of them, which is what the test really aims to assess.

Last Updated: 05/19/2014

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