Yo, Your Everyday Guide to Nursing Slang


The healthcare field is full of medical terms, jargon, acronyms and plenty of slang. While the slang can vary from facility to facility and even area to area, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with some of these. When you hear the word slang, you might think of silly words that have no real meaning but here are some everyday words you might hear and you should know what they mean:

  • Frequent Flyer: Someone who visits the ER or other facility frequently.

  • Sundowner/sundowning: Patients with dementia can become more confused or agitated when the sun goes down.

  • Happy Juice: IV pain medication.

  • Walkie talkie: Refers to a patient that every nurse dreams o f – one that can walk and talk (self-care, low maintenance)

  • Celestial Discharge: This means the patient has died.

  • Code Brown: Large poop. Call for backup.

  • Vampire: A hospital vampire is a phlebotomist.

  • Drug Seeker: Patients who are addicted to narcotics or other controlled substances. They go to the ER or doctor shop to get it.

  • PITA: PITA literally stands for “Pain In The A.” It’s a code nurses use to warn their fellow nurses about an uncooperative patient or relative.

  • NPS: New Parent Syndrome. This is a code nurses use for panicky new parents who constantly bring their child to the hospital for every little health problem.

  • Stream Team: A team of urologists

There are many more slang words within the medical field. What’s your favorite? Is there one that your facility uses all the time that other places probably wouldn’t?

Stay hip while working!

Now that you learned all this new slang – make sure your nursing credentials are up-to-date so you can always work! The Nurse Backpack app allows you to seamlessly track and share your important nursing credentials, so you’re always ready to go.

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