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Glossary of Nursing Terms 2

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Accountability
being responsible for one's actions and accepting the consequences of one's behavior
Action stage
occurs when the person actively implements behavioral and cognitive strategies to interrupt previous behavior patterns and adopt new ones; this stage requires the greatest commitment of time and energy
Active euthanasia
actions that directly bring about the client's death with or without consent
Activities
the specific nursing actions needed to carry out the interventions (or nursing orders)
Actual loss
can be identified by others and can arise either in response to or in anticipation of a situation
Acute illness
typically characterized by severe symptoms of relatively short duration
acute pain
Pain that lasts only through the expected recovery period from illness, injury, or surgery, whether it has a sudden or slow onset and regardless of the intensity.
Adherence
the extent to which an individual’s behavior (for example, taking medications, following diets, or making lifestyle changes) coincides with medical or health advice
Advance health care directive
a variety of legal and lay documents that allow persons to specify aspects of care they wish to receive should they become unable to make or communicate their preferences
adventitious sounds
Added sounds superimposed on normal breath sounds and often indicative of underlying airway problems or diseases of the cardiovascular or respiratory systems.
Advocate
individual who pleads the cause of another or argues or plead for a cause or proposal
Algor mortis
the gradual decrease of the body's temperature after death
Allen test
Test used to determine patency of the radial and ulnar arteries.
anabolism
A condition that occurs when the intake of protein and calories exceeds the nitrogen loss.
angle of Louis
(Sternal angle) A horizontal ridge formed at the point where the manubrium joins the body of the sternum.
angular stomatitis
A clinical finding of poor nutrition, cracks at the corner of the mouth.
anthropometrics
Any scientific measurement of the body.
Anticipatory grief
grief experienced in advance of the event
Anticipatory loss
the experience of loss before the loss actually occurs
arterial aneurysm
A bulging or dilation caused by a weakness in the wall of an artery.
arterial insufficiency
Inadequate circulation in the arterial system, usually due to the buildup of fatty plaque or calcification of the arterial wall resulting in diminished pulses; cool, shiny skin; absence of hair on toes; pallor on elevation, red color when dependent; and deep muscle pain, usually in the calf or lower leg aggravated by activity and elevation of the limb.
arteries
Part of the peripheral vascular system that receive oxygen-rich blood from the heart and carry it to the organs and tissues of the body.
Asphyxiation
lack of oxygen due to interrupted breathing
Assessing
the process of collecting, organizing, validating, and recording data (information) about a client’s health status
Assignment
a downward or lateral transfer of both the responsibility and accountability of an activity from one individual to another
Assisted suicide
a form of active euthanasia in which clients are given the means to kill themselves
Atrioventricular Valves
Valves that separate the atria from the ventricles.
atrophic papillae
A clinical finding of poor nutritional health.
attending
Giving full time and attention to verbal and non-verbal messages.
Attentive listening
listening actively, using all the senses, as opposed to listening passively with just the ear
Attitudes
mental stance that is composed of many different beliefs; usually involving a positive or negative judgment toward a person, object, or idea
auscultation
The skill of listening to the sounds produced by the body.
Autonomy
the state of being independent and self-directed without outside control, to make one's own decisions
Autopsy
an examination of the body after death to determine the cause of death and to learn more about a disease process
Beliefs
interpretations or conclusions that one accepts as true
Beneficence
the moral obligation to do good or to implement actions that benefit clients and their support persons
Bereavement
a subjective response of a person who has experienced the loss of a significant other through death
Bioethics
ethical rules or principles that govern right conduct concerning life
blood pressure
Pressure caused by waves of blood as it ebbs and flows within the systemic arteries.
bronchial sounds
Loud, high-pitched sounds heard next to the trachea and are longer on exhalation.
bronchophony
Auscultation of voice sounds, patient says "ninety-nine" and normal lung sound will be muffled.
bronchovesicular sounds
Sounds that are medium in loudness and pitch, heard between the scapula, posteriorly and next to the sternum, and anteriorly upon inhalation and exhalation.
Bruit
A loud blowing sound, an abnormal finding, most often associated with a narrowing or stricture of the carotid artery usually associated with atherosclerotic plaque.
Bundle Branches
Expressways of conducting fibers that spread the electrical current through the ventricular myocardial tissue.
Bundle of His Atrioventricular Node
Nodes that are intricately connected and function to receive the current that has finished spreading throughout the atria.
Burn
results from excessive exposure to thermal, chemical, electric, or radioactive agents
capillaries
The smallest vessels of the circulatory system that exchange gases and nutrients between the arterial and venous systems.
Carbon monoxide
an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is very toxic
Cardiac arrest
the cessation of heart function
Cardiac Conduction System
The heart's conduction system which can initiate an electrical charge and transmit that charge via cardiac muscle fibers throughout the myocardial tissue.
Cardiac Cycle
The events of one complete heartbeat, the contraction and relaxation of the atria and ventricles.
Cardiac output
The amount of blood ejected from the left ventricle over 1 minute.
Caregiver
arrole that has traditionally included those activities that assist the client physically and psychologically while preserving the client’s dignity
Caring
an essential aspect of nursing
Case management
a method for delivering nursing care in which the nurse is responsible for a case load of clients across the health care continuum
Case manager
a nurse who works with the multidisciplinary health care team to measure the effectiveness of the case management plan and monitor outcomes
catabolism
A condition that occurs when there is a negative nitrogen balance.
cephalocaudal
Head to toe, direction.
Cerebral death
the higher brain center or cerebral cortex is irreversibly destroyed
Change agent
a person (or group) who initiates changes or who assists others in making modifications in themselves or in the system
Change-of-shift report
a report given to nurses on the next shift
Chart
a formal, legal document that provides evidence of a client’s care
Charting
the process of making an entry on a client record
Charting by exception (CBE)
a documentation system in which only significant findings or exceptions to norms are recorded
cheilosis
Inflamation of mouth.
Chemical restraints
medications used to control socially disruptive behavior
Chronic illness
illness that lasts for an extended period of time, usually greater than 6 months
chronic pain
Pain that is prolonged, usually recurring or persisting over 6 months or longer, and interferes with functioning.
Clara Barton
a schoolteacher who volunteered as a nurse during the Civil War. Most notably, she organized the American Red Cross, which linked with the International Red Cross when the U.S. Congress ratified the Geneva Convention in 1882
Client
a person who engages the advice or services of another person who is qualified to provide this service
Client advocate
an individual who pleads the cause of clients’ rights
Client record
see Chart
Closed awareness
a type of awareness in which the client is unaware of impending death
Closed questions
restrictive question requiring only a short answer
clubbing
Flattening of the angle of the nail and enlargement of the tips of the fingers is a sign of oxygen deprivation in the extremities.
Code of ethics
a formal statement of a group's ideals and values; a set of ethical principles shared by members of a group, reflecting their moral judgments and serving as a standard for professional actions
Cognitive skills
(intellectual skills) that include problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, and creativity
Coinsurance
an insurance plan where the client pays a percentage of the payment and some other group (eg, employer, government) pays the additional percentage
Collaborative care plan
see Critical pathway
Collaborative interventions
actions the nurse carries out in collaboration with other health team members, such as physical therapists, social workers, dietitians, and physicians
Comfort
a renewal, an amplification of power or sense of control, an invigorating influence, a positive mind-set, and a readiness for action
Comforting
a group of nursing interventions based on clients' cues of distress, with the goal of achieving client comfort
Communication
a two-way process involving the sending and receiving of messages
Communicator
nurses identify client problems and then communicate these verbally or in writing to other members of the health team
concreteness
Speaking to the client in specific terms rather than in vague generalities.
Congruent communication
the verbal and nonverbal aspects of the message match
Consequence-based (teleological) theories
the ethics of judging whether an action is moral
Consumer
an individual, a group of people, or a community that uses a service or commodity
Contemplation stage
the person acknowledges having a problem, seriously considers changing a specific behavior, actively gathers information, and verbalizes plans to change the behavior in the near future
Coroner
a public official, not necessarily a physician, appointed or elected to inquire into the causes of death
Counseling
the process of helping a client to recognize and cope with stressful psychologic or social problems, to develop improved interpersonal relationships, and to promote personal growth
Covert data (symptoms, subjective data)
information (data) apparent only to the person affected that can be described or verified only by that person
Creativity
thinking that results in the development of new ideas and products
Critical analysis
a set of questions one can apply to a particular situation or idea to determine essential information and ideas and discard superfluous information and ideas
Critical pathway
multidisciplinary guidelines for client care based on specific medical diagnoses designed to achieve predetermined outcomes
Critical pathways
multidisciplinary guidelines for client care based on specific medical diagnoses designed to achieve predetermined outcomes
Critical thinking
a cognitive process that includes creativity, problem solving, and decision making
Cues
any piece of information or data that influences decisions
cutaneous pain
Pain that originates in the skin or subcutaneous tissue.
Data
information
Database
all information about a client, includes nursing health history and physical assessment, physician's history and physical examination, laboratory and diagnostic test results
Decision making
the process of establishing criteria by which alternative courses of action are developed and selected
Decode
to relate the message perceived to the receiver’s storehouse of knowledge and experience and to sort out the meaning of the message
Deductive reasoning
making specific observations from a generalization
deep somatic pain
Diffuse pain that arises from ligaments, tendons, bones, blood vessels, and nerves, tends to last longer than cutaneous pain.
Defining characteristics
client signs and symptoms that must be present to validate a nursing diagnosis
Delegation
the transfer of responsibility for the performance of an activity from one person to another while retaining accountability for the outcome
Demography
the study of population, including statistics about distribution by age and place of residence, mortality, and morbidity
Dependent functions
with regard to medical diagnoses, physician-prescribed therapies and treatments nurses are obligated to carry out
Dependent interventions
hose activities carried out on the order of the physician, under the physician’s supervision, or according to specified routines
Diagnosis
a statement or conclusion concerning the nature of some phenomenon
Diagnosis-related groups (DRGs)
a Medicare payments system to hospitals and physicians which establishes fees according to diagnosis
Diagnostic labels
title used in writing a nursing diagnosis; taken from the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association’s (NANDA) standardized taxonomy of terms
Diagnostic-related groups (DRGs)
a Medicare payments system to hospitals and physicians which establishes fees according to diagnosis
Diastole
The phase of ventricular relaxation in which the ventricles relax and are filled as the atria contract.
diet recall
24-hour recall, patient verbally recalls all food, beverages, and nutritional supplements or products consumed in a set 24-hour period".
Directive interview
a highly structured interview that uses closed questions to elicit specific information
Discharge planning
the process of anticipating and planning for client needs after discharge
Discussion
an informal oral consideration of a subject by two or more health care personnel to identify a problem or establish strategies to resolve a problem
Disease
an alteration in body function resulting in a reduction of capacities or shortening of the normal life span
Documenting
see Charting or Recording
Do-not-resuscitate order (DNR)
a physician’s order that specifies no effort be made to resuscitate the client with terminal or irreversible illness in the event of a respiratory or cardiac arrest.
dullness
The level of the diaphragm during quiet respiration.
Dysfunctional grief
the state in which an individual or group experiences prolonged, unresolved grief and engages in detrimental activities
dyspnea
A change in normal breathing pattern, producing shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.
edema
Increased accumulation of fluid which could indicate an obstruction of the lymphatic system.
egophony
Ausculation of voice sounds, patient says "E", normal lungs sound like "eeeeee".
Electric shock
occurs when a current travels through the body to the ground rather than through electric wiring, or from static electricity that builds up on the body
Electrocardiogram (EKG)
Electrical representations of the cardiac cycle are documented by deflections on recording paper.
empathy
"The capacity to respond to another’s feelings and experiences as if they were your own” (Cormier, Cormier, & Weiser, 1984, p. 22)
Encoding
involves the selection of specific signs or symbols (codes) to transmit the message, such as which language and words to use, how to arrange the words, and what tone of voice and gestures to use
Endocardium
The innermost layer of the heart, a smooth layer that provides an inner lining for the chambers of the heart.
End-of-life care
care provided in the final weeks before death
epitrochlear node
Node located on the medial surface of the arm above the elbow that drains the ulnar surface of the forearm and the third, fourth, and fifth digits.
Ethics
the rules or principles that govern right conduct
Etiology
the causal relationship between a problem and its related or risk factors
eupnea
The regular, even-depth, rhythmic pattern of inspiration and expiration; normal breathing.
Euthanasia
the act of painlessly putting to death persons suffering from incurable or distressing disease
Evaluating
a planned ongoing, purposeful activity in which clients and health care professionals
Evaluation statement
a statement that consists of two parts: a conclusion and supporting data
Exacerbation
the period during a chronic illness when symptoms reappear after remission
Fabiola
a wealthy Roman matron – viewed by some as the patron saint of early nursing who used her position and wealth to establish hospitals for the sick
false reassurance
The client is assured of a positive outcome with no basis for believing in it.
Feedback
the response or message that the receiver returns to the sender during communication
Fidelity
a moral principle which obligates the individual to be faithful to agreements and responsibilities one has undertaken
fifth vital sign
Pain assessment.
flag sign
Dyspigmentation of mouth.
flatness
A high-pitched tone, very soft, and of very short duration.
Florence Nightingale
considered the founder of modern nursing, she was influential in developing nursing education, practice, and administration
Flowsheet
a record of the progress of specific or specialized data such as vital signs, fluid balance, or routine medications; often charted in graph form
Focus charting
a method of charting that uses key words or foci to describe what is happening to the client
focused interview
Interview used to clarify previously obtained assessment data, gather missing information about a specific health concern, update and identify new diagnostic cues as they occur, guide the direction of a physical assessment as it is being conducted, and identify or validate probable nursing diagnoses.
food frequency questionnaire
A questionnaire that assesses intake of a variety of food groups on a daily, weekly, or longer basis.
food security
A parameter used in nutritional assessment, free access to adequate and safe food.
Formal nursing care plan
a written or computerized guide that organizes information about the client’s care
fremitus
Vibratory tremors felt through the chest wall.
functional assessment
An observation to gather data while the client is performing common or routine activities.
general survey
Initial impressions based on what is seen, heard, or smelled during the initial phase of assessment.
genogram
A pictorial representation of family relationships and medical history.
genuineness
The ability to present oneself honestly and spontaneously.
glossitis
A clinical finding of poor nutrition, glands are smooth, beefy red or magenta.
Goals/desired outcomes
a part of a care plan that describes in terms of observable client responses, what the nurse hopes to achieve by implementing the nursing interventions
Governance
the establishment and maintenance of social, political, and economic arrangements by which practitioners control their practice, self-discipline, working conditions, and professional affairs
Grief
emotional suffering often caused by bereavement
Group
two or more people with shared purposes and goals
Group dynamics
forces that determine the behavior of the group and the relationships among the group members
Harriet Tubman
known as "The Moses of Her People" for her work with the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War she nursed the sick and suffering of her own race
Health
a state of being physically fit, mentally stable, and socially comfortable; it encompasses more than the state of being free of disease
Health behaviors
the actions a person takes to understand his or her health state, maintain an optimal state of belief, prevent illness and injury, and reach his or her maximum physical and mental potential
Health beliefs
concepts about health that an individual believes are true
Health care proxy
a legal statement that appoints a proxy to make medical decisions for the client in the event the client is unable to do so
Health care system
the totality of services offered by all health disciplines
health history
A comprehensive record of the client’s past and current health history gathered during the initial health assessment interview.
Health maintenance organization (HMO)
a group health care agency that provides basic and supplemental health maintenance and treatment services to voluntary enrollees
health pattern
A set of related traits, habits, or acts that affect a client’s health.
Health promotion
any activity undertaken for the purpose of achieving a higher level of health and well-being
Health protection
behavior motivated by a desire to actively avoid illness, detect it early, or maintain functioning within the constraints of illness
Health risk assessment (HRA)
an assessment and educational tool that indicates a client’s risk for disease or injury during the next 10 years by comparing the client’s risk with the mortality risk of the corresponding age, sex, and racial group
Health status
the health of a person at a given time
Heart
An intricately designed pump composed of a meticulous network of synchronized structures.
Heart-lung death
the traditional clinical signs of death: cessation of the apical pulse, respirations, and blood pressure
Heimlich maneuver
subdiaphragmatic abdominal thrusts used to clear an obstructed airway
Helping relationships
referred to as the nurse-client relationship
Higher brain death
see Cerebral death
Homan's sign
Diagnostic maneuver in which pain may increase with sharp dorsiflexion of the foot.
Hospice
the delivery of care for terminally ill clients either in health care facilities or in the client’s home
hyperresonance
Abnormally loud, low tone of longer duration than resonance.
hyperthermia
(Fever) may occur in response to viral or bacterial infections, or from tissue breakdown following myocardial infarction, malignancy, surgery, or trauma.
hypothermia
A response to prolonged exposure to cold.
Illness
a highly personal state in which the person feels unhealthy or ill, may or may not be related to disease
Illness behavior
the course of action a person takes to define the state of his or her health and pursue a remedy
immunocompetence
A biochemical assessment laboratory measurement used in nutritional assessment.
Implementing
the phase of the nursing process in which the nursing care plan is put into action
Independent interventions
activities that the nurse is licensed to initiate as a result of the nurse’s own knowledge and skills
Independent practice associations (IPAs)
provide care in offices, clients pay a fixed prospective payment and IPA pays the provider. Earnings or losses are assumed by the IPA
Indicator
an observable patient state, behavior, or self-reported perception or evaluation; similar to desired outcomes in traditional language
Individualized care plan
a plan tailored to meet the unique needs of a specific client--needs that are not addressed by the standardized plan
Inductive reasoning
making generalizations from specific data
Infective Endocarditis
A condition caused by bacterial infiltration of the lining of the heart’s chambers.
Inferences
interpretations or conclusions made based on cues or observed data
Informal plan
a strategy for action that exists in the nurse’s mind
inspection
The skill of observing the client in a deliberate, systematic manner.
Integrated delivery system (IDS)
a system that incorporates acute care services, home health care, extended and skilled care facilities, and outpatient services
interactional skills
Actions that are used during the encoding/decoding process to obtain and disseminate information, develop relationships, and promote understanding of self and others.
Interpersonal skills
all the verbal and nonverbal activities people use when communicating directly with one another
Interview
a planned communication; a conversation with a purpose
intractable pain
Pain that is highly resistant to relief.
Intuition
the understanding or learning of things without the conscious use of reasoning
Justice
fairness
Kardex
the trade name for a method that makes use of a series of cards to concisely organize and record client data and instructions for daily nursing care--especially care that changes frequently and must be kept up-to-date
kilonychia
A clinical finding of poor nutrition, spoon-shaped ridges in the cardia.
Knights of Saint Lazarus
an order of knights that dedicated themselves to the care of people with leprosy, syphilis, and chronic skin conditions
landmarks
Thoracic reference points and specific anatomical structures used to help provide an exact location for the assessment findings and an accurate orientation for documentation of findings.
Lavinia L. Dock
a nursing leader and suffragist who was active in the protest movement for women’s rights that resulted in the U.S. Constitution amendment allowing women to vote in 1920
Leader
a person who influences others to work together to accomplish a specific goal
Leading question
a question that influences the client to give a particular answer
Left Atrium
Forms the posterior aspect of the heart.
Left Ventricle
Egg shaped, most muscular chamber of the heart, located behind the right ventricle and forms the left border of the heart.
Licensed vocational (practical) nurse (LVN/LPN)
a nurse who practices under the supervision of a registered nurse, providing basic direct technical care to clients
Lifestyle
the values and behaviors adopted by a person in daily life
Lillian Wald
founded the Henry Street Settlement and Visiting Nurse Service which provided nursing and social services and organized educational and cultural activities. She is considered the founder of public health nursing
listening
Paying undivided attention to what the client says and does.
Living will
a document that states medical treatments(s) the client chooses to omit or refuse in the event that the client is unable to make these decisions
Livor mortis
discoloration of the skin caused by break down of the red blood cells; occurs after blood circulation has ceased; appears in the dependent areas of the body
Locus of control
(LOC) a concept about whether clients believe their health status is under their own or other’s control
Loss
an actual or potential situation in which a valued ability, object, or person is inaccessible or changed so that it is perceived as no longer valuable
lymph
Excess fluid from the tissue spaces.
lymph nodes
Clumps of tissue located along the lymphatic vessels either deep or superficially in the body.
lymphatic vessels
Vessels that extend from the capillaries of their system to the two main lympathic trunks and form their own circulatory system in which their collected fluid flows to the heart.
Maintenance stage
the person integrates newly adopted behavior patterns into his or her lifestyle
malnutrition
(Undernutrition) describes health effects of insufficient nutrient intake or stores.
Managed care
a method of organizing care delivery that emphasizes communication and coordination of care among all health care team members
Manager
one who is appointed to a position in an organization which gives the power to guide and direct the work of others
manual compression test
Test used to determine the length of varicose veins.
manubrium
The superior portion of the sternum.
Marfan's Syndrome
A degenerative disease of the connective tissue, which over time may cause the ascending aorta to either dilate or dissect, leading to abrupt death.
Margaret Sanger
considered the founder of Planned Parenthood, was imprisoned for opening the first birth control information clinic in Baltimore in 1916
Mary Breckinridge
a nurse who practiced midwivery in England, Australia, and New Zealand, founded the Frontier Nursing Service in Kentucky in 1925 to provide family-centered primary health care to rural populations

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