Nurse Slang Terms That Hospital 'Frequent Flyers' Should Know

Voting Rules
Nurses and medical professionals only: vote up the terms and phrases you actually hear on the job.

Every profession has its own jargon or code words - but medical slang can be especially interesting. Whether the nurse slang refers to bizarre conditions, the attitude of a patient or just a simple procedure, the random collections of letters make practically every phrase sound important, especially considering we always want to know exactly what our doctors and nurses are talking about. 

Medical professionals often use slang to openly communicate with each other quickly and in front of patients. While some of the nurse and doctor terms here are relatively innocuous, other phrases are controversial or meant to describe a patient without their knowledge. Read the most interesting examples of medical slang we could find and if you're a nurse or doctor, vote up the slang terms that you've actually heard used. 

  • 1
    2,983 VOTES

    Frequent Flyer

    A "frequent flyer" is a regular patient in the hospital who often seeks medical attention for every little health problem they encounter. 

    2,983 votes
  • 2
    2,664 VOTES


    "F/U" simply means follow-up as in follow-up care or treatment. 

    2,664 votes
  • 3
    2,333 VOTES

    Patient Is High Risk

    When a nurse warns a fellow nurse that their patient is high risk, the warning actually means something more. It means that the patient is positive for a bloodborne infectious disease, so you should be extra careful in handling any blood and bodily fluids.

    2,333 votes
  • 4
    2,076 VOTES


    A number indicating a patient’s cumulative cigarette consumption, equal to the number of packs of cigarettes the patient has smoked per day multiplied by the number years they've been smoking. 

    2,076 votes
  • 5
    2,426 VOTES


    PITA literally stands for “Pain In The A**.” It’s a code nurses use to warn each other about an uncooperative patient or relative.

    2,426 votes
  • 6
    2,103 VOTES


    This term refers to medical professionals who routinely take blood samples, like phlebotomists and laboratory technicians. 

    2,103 votes