Nurses use nurse their own slang frequently. Most of the time, we use these terms without even noticing it. You can’t survive a shift without being familiar with at least the commonly used terms.
Seriously, how many times have you described a patient as a “frequent flyer” or a “walkie-talkie”? We routinely are called to “code browns” and are ordered to give patients healthy doses of “vitamin A.”
Using the terms is a way of communicating necessary information unprofessionally. How else do you communicate in a telephone report that a patient has a crazy family member?
When you think about it, some slang has even turned into a well-known hospital-wide language. For example, the phrase “code blue” is used when a patient has stopped breathing. A “code red” means that there is a fire on the premises.
We use slang for medications. For instance, a patient will request “that medication that starts with a ‘D’. Do you mean ‘D-Motrin’?
We even use more than one slang term in a sentence! For example: “I have a patient who is about to ‘crash and burn.’ He’s got a ‘banana bag’ hanging and I just gave him a dose of ‘vitamin H.’
In this video, non-medical people guess the meanings of some of these slang terms. It’s funny to watch different people guess at the meanings of the terms. None of them guess correctly! But, really, what happens behind the nurses’ station, stays behind the nurses’ station!