Nursing Abbreviations List

Nursing Knowledge

Nursing Abbreviations List

Acronyms and abbreviations are ubiquitous in nursing practice, serving as a shorthand for medical terms, procedures, and conditions. While they can expedite communication and documentation, they also carry the risk of misinterpretation, which can compromise patient safety, and pose a significant challenge for nursing students and new nurses. Keep reading for an overview of commonly used abbreviations!
Last updated: December 4, 2023

Table of contents

Procedure-related nursing abbreviations

CBCComplete blood count
CMPComprehensive metabolic panel
CTComputed tomography (or CAT scan)
C&SCulture and sensitivity
CXRChest X-ray
H&HHemoglobin & hematocrit
I&DIncision and drainage (skin and soft tissue abscesses)
KUBKidney, ureters, and bladder X-ray
LFTsLiver function tests
MRIMagnetic Resonance imaging

Medication-related nursing abbreviations

BIDTwice a day
TIDThree times a day
D5WDextrose 5% in water
iiTwo tablets
iiiThree tablets
LRLactated Ringers
NSNormal saline
NPONothing by mouth to eat or drink
POBy mouth
Q4HEvery 4 hours
QHSAt bedtime 

Charting-related nursing abbreviations

HOBHead of bed
I&OIntake and output
S/S or S/SxSigns and symptoms

Do not use: acronyms to avoid 

Do not use the abbreviation QD – instead, write “daily.” 

Also, it is recommended to not use D/C – instead, write “discharge.”


Nursing Abbreviations List

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Nursing Cheat Sheet

Explanation of the common abbreviations used, grouped by type

Master the topic with a unique study combination of a concise summary paired with video lectures. 

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