"The pt took PCN one tablet po bid for one week after this tonsillectomy."
This sentence is not full of typos -- it is medical terminology, which is confusing to many. Healthcare workers use medical terminology to communicate patient care. Communication errors can be deadly; therefore, it is critical to anyone pursuing a career in the healthcare field to have a solid grasp of medical terminology.There are creative and fun ways to teach medical terminology.
The building blocks of medical terms are prefixes, suffixes and root words -- understanding these is key to understanding medical terminology. When students know medical prefixes, suffixes and root words, they can interpret most medical terms. One activity to help students learn these is to give each student an index card with a different prefix, suffix or root word. Have students get into groups to see how many medical terms they can create.
Medical terminology textbooks review each body system and those terms related to each system. There are flash card students can use to review as well as learning exercises after each section. Instructors can follow the book and have students complete these learning activities, and the answers can be reviewed individually or as a class. The evaluation of learning activities is an opportunity for the teacher to assess students and the need for additional instruction.
Make It Fun
Different learning activities make learning medical terminology fun and are an excellent way to reinforce and review material. A game of Bingo can enhance learning. Blank, laminated Bingo cards can be made by the instructor. Students can fill in the blocks with medical terms from a teacher-generated list. With the students using dry-erase markers to mark their cards, the teacher reads the definitions. Crossword puzzles, word searches and television-based games, like Password and Wheel of Fortune, are other fun learning activities. Teachers download game templates for free on the Internet, and all the teacher needs to do is enter subject-appropriate questions.
Make it Real
The objective for teaching medical terminology is to teach students how to decipher medical terms and use them appropriately. Simulating a real-life scenario can assess if these objectives were met. The teacher can generate a healthcare progress note that contains medical terms and abbreviations. Students should read the progress note and then identify and define the terns and abbreviations.
- "Medical Terminology: The Language of Health Care Features, 2nd Ed."; Marjorie Willis; 2005
- Resources for A&I Classes: Talk the Talk" 101 -- Medical Terminology
- Internet4Classrooms: PowerPoint Game Template Links
- CTE Online: Bingo Activity Overview/Details
Denice DeAntonio began writing in 2009. Her work can be found in "Stroke Connection," "Guidepost" and online at Advances for Nurses. DeAntonio has a Bachelor of Science in nursing from West Chester University and earned a Master of Education from Temple University.