Common Medical Abbreviations P - R

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  • 0:01 Introduction and…
  • 2:40 Q Abbreviations for Every
  • 4:33 Other Q Abbreviations
  • 5:18 R Abbreviations for Right
  • 6:47 Other R Abbreviations
  • 9:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has taught high school and college biology and has a master's degree in cancer biology.

This lesson will cover medical abbreviations that begin with the letters P - R. We will look at how they are used and discuss ways to distinguish similar abbreviations.

Medical Abbreviations

If you've ever looked at your chart in the doctor's office, then you've probably seen medical abbreviations. Medical abbreviations are used to replace many medical terms and phrases that are lengthy to make it easier and quicker for healthcare professionals to communicate with one another. In this lesson, we are going to cover abbreviations beginning with the letters P - R.

Abbreviations Starting with P

P is short for pulse. This is one of the vital signs and is usually notated in the patient chart at the beginning of each visit.

PA is the abbreviation for physician assistant. They are the ones that are able to just about everything that the physician is able to do, and they often work in the ER.

Prescriptions or doctor's orders may designate when something should be taken or done. They can include the abbreviation pc, meaning after meals.

The abbreviation PERRLA means pupils equal, round and reactive to light and accommodation. There is a check for this after a person has experienced a trauma and the doctors are doing an initial examination to determine damage to the body.

Pulmonary function tests is abbreviated as PFT. This will be notated in doctor's orders or in the test results.

PKU is short for phenylketonuria. Since this is a disease, it would appear in a diagnosis area or in a patient history area of the patient chart.

po means by mouth and is used to indicate how medications or other substances should be administered to patients.

pr is used to indicate that something should be given or done by rectum. This can be used for medications or doctor's orders.

As needed is abbreviated as prn. There are many ways in which this abbreviation is used. It can be used for how often a patient should be treated or seen as well as for how often a patient can do some type of activity. This is normally seen in the doctor's orders or prescriptions.

pt is short for patient. This is normally seen in the description of the patient or the reason why the patient came into the office or hospital.

PT is the abbreviation for physical therapy. Note the only difference between this abbreviation and the last one is the case of the letters. This will appear as a part of the doctor's orders.

Q Abbreviations for Every

Most of the abbreviations for Q are related to writing prescriptions or giving doctor's orders. Let's look at those now.

q is short for every. This is normally followed by other letters to let you know how frequently something should happen. You will see this in most abbreviations that start with Q. Here are some of those abbreviations.

q2h means every two hours. The number in the middle can be changed based on prescription or doctor's orders. q12h is normally the highest that it goes and means every 12 hours.

The abbreviation qAM means every morning. This lets you know that something is to take place once a day in the morning, usually when a person wakes up.

To denote that something should happen every day, the abbreviation qd is used. It is not completely out of the question to see q24h, which would mean every 24 hours or every day.

Every hour is abbreviated as qh. When something has to happen every hour, the person is normally in the hospital so this is usually seen in doctor's orders.

Just like something may need to happen in the morning when a person wakes up, something may need to happen every bedtime or every hour of sleep. The abbreviation for this is qhs.

Every evening is abbreviated as qPM. It is used in the same way as qAM.

Other Q Abbreviations

qid is short for four times a day. You may be wondering what happened to every since the q is still there. This abbreviation is derived from the Latin phrase quarter in die, meaning quarter of a day. If something is done on the quarter of a day, then it will be done four times a day.

QNS is short for quantity not sufficient. This abbreviation is normally seen in a lab report back to the doctor's office to let them know that whatever specimen, such as blood, stool, etc, was not enough to run the tests that the doctor wanted the lab to do.

R Abbreviations for Right

R is used for right. It is normally followed by other letters to let you know the right side of something. It is important to remember that medical terminology uses right and left based on the patient's right and left and not the right and left as you are looking at a patient. Here are some of the right abbreviations.

The abbreviation RLL stands for right lower lobe. It is used to indicate when something is going on or needs to be done to the right lower lobe of the lungs.

The RML is short for right middle lobe. It indicates that something is happening with the right middle lobe of the lungs.

Right upper lobe is abbreviated as RUL, and it is used in the same manner as RLL and RML.

RLQ refers to the right lower quadrant of the abdominal region. This area is divided into four quadrants, and they are named based on location within the quadrant. The abbreviation is used to describe where a patient is experiencing something like pain or where something like x-rays need to be taken. It can also be used to describe where certain internal organs are located.

Right upper quadrant is shortened to RUQ, and it is used the same way as RLQ to let people know the location of something in the abdominal region.

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