Understanding the clinical terms and abbreviations commonly used during verbal or written communication in U.S. hospitals is challenging. This course is designed for U.S. health care profession students and for international students and practitioners who want to become more familiar with the language of the U.S. clinical setting. Others, such as caregivers and medical interpreters, who wish to develop a better understanding of terms and abbreviations used by health care providers will find this course helpful. The course provides visual and auditory learning experiences to enhance the understanding of terms and abbreviations commonly encountered on a general U.S. hospital unit. All content including quizzes are available at no cost to the learner. If you need a certificate, you can apply for financial aid or pay the fee. To find out more, click Learn more and apply next to the information about Financial Aid. (Use a computer, not a mobile device, for this step.)
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Yes! Coursera provides financial aid to learners who would like to complete a course but cannot afford the course fee. To apply for aid, select "Learn more and apply" in the Financial Aid section below the "Enroll" button. You'll be prompted to complete a simple application; no other paperwork is required.
Why do I need to learn these terms, abbreviations and acronyms?
Medical terms, abbreviations and acronyms are a large part of the verbal and written communication that occurs in clinical situations in the U.S. Abbreviations are used to increase efficiency by shortening the time to communicate. If you want to join in any conversation about clinical matters, you will need to understand terms, abbreviations and acronyms.
Can I ask for clarification when someone uses a term or abbreviation?
You can always ask for clarification. However, clinical settings in U.S. hospitals are often very busy, noisy places with people hurrying to meet patients’ needs. There will be little time for explanation of word meanings. The more emergent the situation, the more likely it is that abbreviations will be used. When you know a term or abbreviation before hearing it on the clinical unit, you will be a better communicator and more effective healthcare team member.
Will I learn all the medical or nursing abbreviations and acronyms?
No. This is a course for beginning students. A major advantage is that the course helps you to focus on terms that you are most likely to hear or see during your early clinical training.
How will this course help me in my health care studies and clinical practice?
This course emphasizes learning to recognize and decipher common spoken and written clinical terms and abbreviations necessary for clear communication with patients and health care providers. Understanding and learning clinical language will help you to function more effectively and safely as a healthcare team member.