The average English speaker has about 20,000 words in their vocabulary that they use actively. A medical student in their first year is estimated to learn about 13,000 new words—needless to say, most healthcare professionals have an extremely extensive vocabulary compared to just about any other profession, filled with knowledge about anatomical terms, bodily functions, acronyms, procedures, diagnoses, and so on. The language of medicine is complex and detailed, but doctors and nurses have created an underground dialect to humorously discuss their experiences in the workplace.
In an occupation surrounded by demanding patients and difficult situations, medical professionals can use these alternative terms and phrases to add a little humor to their communications with colleagues. The best cure for a long week is a good laugh, so we’ve compiled a list of silly, punny, and amusing medical slang for healthcare workers to use when you need to lighten the mood!
Adminisphere: anything related to hospital management and administrative issues. Example: I finally got the insurance paperwork for patient x. It took them hours to find it; I guess it must have gotten lost in the adminisphere.
Alphabet Soup: MRSA, ICU, VRE, COBD, IBS, ACEI, HIPAA—you get the idea. Alphabet soup is a humorous way to describe the thousands of medical acronyms and abbreviations used in the hospital on a daily basis. Example: The new resident mixed up an ECG and a CAG, but fortunately I caught it before alphabet soup struck again.
Artery: the study of paintings and generic artwork in the room of a patient. Can also refer to anyone outside of the medical profession who studies art. Example: Surprisingly, the artery in this particular wing is much more abstract than over at Radiology.
Attorney Induced Symptomology: symptoms that present themselves to doctors when a malpractice lawsuit is involved can be referred to as Attorney Induced Symptoms (AIS). Example: I know that this case is bogus, but you can’t blame me for coming down with Attorney Induced Symptoms when our legal team sends a notice!
Blamestorming: in the field of medicine things sometimes go wrong, and nobody wants to be the person to blame! You can blamestorm with your colleagues to figure out who is the scapegoat when an error has been made. Example: The patient’s wife was screaming about how her husband needed better pillows in his bed, but after some blamestorming Harold and I told her that the administration just refuses to spring for memory foam.
Buzzer Junkie: I’m sure most nurses and hospital aides can recall the frustration of a time when they had a patient who got a little buzzer happy and used his or her call button incessantly for no good reason. Example: Thank goodness for my Sanita clogs or my feet would be killing me after having to deal with that buzzer junkie all night.
Code Brown: every medical professional’s favorite thing to deal with—an explosion of poop and/or diarrhea. Example: I know he said he didn’t like needles, but I wasn’t expecting to have to clean up a code brown after a simple flu shot.
Fibula: a little fib that you tell someone. Hey, we all have to tell white lies once in a while! You can use this term at work, at home, or when talking to your in-laws. Example: He’s a bit of a hypochondriac, so Janice had to tell the patient a little fibula about where the balloons in his room came from so that he wouldn’t be ask for the entire room to be disinfected again.
Google MD: a patient who thinks that they know more than you because they used a search engine before they came in to Google all their symptoms. Example: Sorry I’m late, my last patient of the day was a Google MD and was convinced that her itchy eyes were caused by some sort of bowel condition.
Hospitel: this term can be used when a patient treats the hospital like a hotel, rather than an institution of medicine and healing. Example: She asked for a filet mignon and a room with an ocean view. This is a cardiology unit, not a hospitel! Nectar of the Gods: coffee. Without coffee, the practice of medicine might simply cease to exist. Example: I spilled some of my coffee on my lab coat this morning. I’m kind of upset about wasting the nectar of the gods, but at least I don’t have to worry about it leaving any stains on my new M3 Medelita lab coat!
Whambulence: an ambulance that you call to carry away people who can’t stop complaining about little things. This is another term that can be used outside of the medical industry—try it on your kids or spouse! Example: After 3 hours of listening to his wife’s parents complain about how the guest room was too small, Caleb wished that a whambulence would come take his whining in-laws to a hotel.
*Disclaimer: this post is intended for entertainment purposes only. It is meant to be light-hearted and entertaining, not to be taken too seriously and cause any offense.