50 Nursing Mnemonics and Acronyms You Need to Know Now

nursing mnemonics, acronyms and memory aids

Mnemonics and acronyms help us retain information more efficiently. These can be helpful especially if you have an upcoming exam or if you are reviewing for NCLEX-RN. Always remember that it’s not always about how hard you study, but how smart you use your time to absorb as much information as you can.

Here are 50 Nursing mnemonics and acronyms every nurse should know now:


Nursing Mnemonics and Acronyms (Cardiovascular System)

1. Angina Precipitating Factors — 4 E’s.

angina nursing mnemonic

Angina is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying heart condition. Angina is commonly associated with discomfort or tightness across the front of the chest.

Symptoms are usually caused by precipitating factors such as exertion, eating a large meal , emotional distress or extreme temperatures. The pain may also be felt in the arms, neck, jaw or stomach.


2. Circulatory Checks — 5 P’s.

circulatory checks nursing mnemonic

The circulatory system’s role is to transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. When a person is in a critical state, one of the most important things to do is to assess the person’s nerve function and blood flow.

o   Pain is assessed using the pain scale and by asking the patient about the characteristics of the pain.

o   Paresthesia can be assessed by applying stimulation near and distant to the affected area. Ask the patient to report tingling sensation and a decrease or loss of sensation.

o   Paralysis is assessed by asking the patient to flex and extend each ankle, wrist, toe and finger. Take note of pain upon movement or rest.

o   Pulses are assessed to check the circulatory flow. Absence of pulses may indicate blockage or decreased blood flow.

o   Pallor is assessed by checking the temperature and color of the patient’s affected limb. A cool or pale limb is indicative of insufficient circulation, while a bluish color is a sign of venous stasis.


3. Hypertension Nursing Care — “DIURETIC.”

hypertension nursing care acronym

Hypertension occurs when a person’s blood pressure remains elevated. Aside from being the most common health problem among adults, hypertension is also the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disorders.

Nurses may care for patients with hypertension by taking their daily weight to be able to take note of any unnecessary weight gain or loss, checking their daily intake and output, taking note of their urine output (amount and color), their electrolytes level, their pulses and if there are any ischemic episodes.


4. Complications of Hypertension — 4 C’s.

Complications of Hypertension nursing mnemonic

Hypertension is the most common risk factor for cardiovascular disorders. These disorders are pretty simple to memorize, as all of them start with the letter C: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Coronary Rheumatic Fever (CRF), Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and Cardiovascular Accident (CVA).


5. Causes of Heart Murmur — “SPAMS.”

causes of heart murmur nursing mnemonic

Heart murmurs are abnormal heart sounds that are loud enough to be heard through auscultation, and are produced when blood flows through defective valves.

Common causes include stenosis or the narrowing of a valve, a partial obstruction or aneurysm (a bulging in an artery). Another cause is mitral regurgitation which is a disorder in which valves do not close properly. Septal defects, which are usually acquired by birth, may also cause murmurs.


6. Heart Sounds — “APETM” — “All People Enjoy The Mall.”

heart sounds nursing mnemonic

Heart sounds may be heard through auscultation. You can assess the heart sounds through different auscultatory sites.

The aortic heart sound is located at the 2nd right intercostal space; the pulmonic at the 2nd left intercostal space; Erb’s point at the 3rd left intercostal space; the tricuspid at the 4th left intercostal space; and the apex or the mitral at the 5th left intercostal space.


7. Myocardial Infarction Nursing Management — “BOOMAR.”

myocardial infarction nursing management mnemonic

Cardiac ischemia occurs when a portion of the heart is starved of oxygen. If ischemia lasts too long, the starved tissue dies, causing myocardial infarction.


8. Causes of Shortness of Breath — “AAAAPPPP.”

shortness of breath causes nursing mnemonic

Shortness of breath (SOB) or difficulty of breathing (DOB) is usually caused by many factors such as heart and lung conditions. Problems involving the transport of oxygen to tissues may affect breathing.


9. Compartment Syndrome Signs and Symptoms — 5 P’s.

compartment syndrome signs and symptoms nursing mnemonic

Compartment Syndrome is a painful and life-threatening condition that occurs when too much pressure builds up inside an enclosed space in the body. It usually results from bleeding or swelling after an injury.


10. Emergent Syncope — “CRAPS.”

emergent syncope causes nursing mnemonic

Syncope (fainting) is the partial or complete loss of consciousness, and is usually related to insufficient blood flow to the brain.


11. Shock Signs and Symptoms — “CHORD ITEM.”

shock signs and symptoms nursing mnemonic

Shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is lack of blood circulation in the body. It may lead to serious complications such as heart failure or even multiple organ failure.


About the Author: Mary Elizabeth Velarmino Francisco earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Philippines. She is always happy to share her passion for writing and blogging. With coffee running through her veins, she enthusiastically battles each day, one article at a time.


Also Read:

1. Nursing Mnemonics and Acronyms (Nursing Assessment and Management)

2. Nursing Mnemonics and Acronyms (Chronic Disease Management)

3. Nursing Mnemonics and Acronyms (Acid-Base, Fluids, and Electrolytes)

4. Nursing Mnemonics and Acronyms (Nursing Pharmacology)

5. Nursing Mnemonics and Acronyms (Respiratory, Endocrine, and Nervous Systems)