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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nursing Review Glossary - A

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abruptio placentae
Premature separation of a normally positioned placenta in a pregnancy of at least 20 weeks' gestation either before labor or during labor but before delivery. This serious complication of pregnancy, occurring in one of every 200 births and often resulting in hemorrhage, may lead to the death of the mother, the fetus, or both. Also called ablatio placentae, accidental hemorrhage.

1. Behavior toward another that is offensive, harmful, or injurious. 2. Misuse or particularly excessive use of a substance, service, or equipment; commonly refers to improper use of a drug or similar substance.

1. The act or process of adapting to changes in the physiologic or psychological environment to maintain homeostasis. 2. In ophthalmology: adjustment of the lens of the eye for various distances. 3. In sociology: the use of compromise, arbitration, or negotiation to resolve conflicts between persons or groups that arise from differences in customs or cultural norms. Also called adjustment.

acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
A disorder of the immune system characterized by an inability to mount a successful defense against infection such as by organisms that usually aren't pathogenic (opportunistic infections). The syndrome is caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes a marked depletion in the number of helper T cells. AIDS is currently incurable and fatal. However, recently developed drug treatments and regimens seem to be effective in prolonging the lives of clients with AIDS.

active immunity
Acquired immunity caused by the production of antibodies, either after infection or as a result of vaccination.

acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
A form of leukemia, most commonly occurring in children, marked by large numbers of immature leukocytes in the blood and blood-forming tissues (including the bone marrow, spleen, liver, and lymph nodes). The disease has a sudden onset and rapid clinical course. Signs and symptoms include fever, pallor, fatigue, loss of appetite, anemia, bleeding, bone pain, spleen enlargement and, because the immune function is disturbed, frequent infection. Also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

acute nephritis
Acute inflammation of the kidney, possibly involving the glomerulus, tubules, and interstitial tissues.

Addison's disease
A life-threatening condition characterized by fatigue, hypotension, loss of appetite and weight, nausea or vomiting, and increased hyperpigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes. It results from partial or complete loss of glucocorticoid, mineralocorticoid, and androgenic function of the adrenal glands caused by tuberculosis, an autoimmune process, or other disease. Also called Addisonism, Addison's syndrome, chronic adrenocortical insufficiency.

Addisonian crisis
An emergency situation occurring with adrenal hypofunction and exposure to trauma, surgery, or other severe physiologic stress that exhausts the body's stores of glucocorticoids.

1. Activated or transmitted by epinephrine, norepinephrine, or a similar substance. 2. Also called a sympathomimetic, a drug that stimulates alpha or beta receptors (thus mimicking the effects of epinephrine or norepinephrine) or acts primarily on receptors in the sympathetic nervous system that are stimulated by dopamine.

advance directive
Documented written or verbal instructions by the client about his wishes for life-sustaining medical care in the event he becomes incapacitated (for example, living wills, durable powers of attorney for health care, or any document that states the client's wishes).

1. In anatomy: any muscle in a state of contraction whose action is opposed by another muscle with which it’s paired (called the antagonist). 2. In pharmacology: a drug that has an affinity for and stimulates physiologic activity at cell receptors.

An intense, irrational fear of being in open spaces or of venturing out from the home or other familiar setting. The anxiety may be generalized to any setting beyond the home or may be specific for certain types of situations and environments, such as open spaces or crowded places.

1. Loss of the ability to move voluntarily. 2. The rest period after systole in the normal heart rhythm. 3. In psychiatry: a neurotic condition characterized by symptoms of paralysis.

Allen's test
A test designed to evaluate a client's collateral circulation in the arm before an invasive arterial procedure such as arterial blood gas analysis. While the client's radial and ulnar arteries are occluded, he clenches his fist, causing the hand to blanch. The client then unclenches his fist while the pressure on the ulnar artery is released (but the radial artery remains occluded). The hand should become pink, indicating a patent ulnar artery.

Decreased visual acuity in one eye in the absence of detectable structural or pathologic changes.

The absence or cessation of menstruation. Except in preadolescents and in pregnant and postmenopausal women, amenorrhea may reflect dysfunction of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovary, or uterus; congenital absence or surgical removal of both ovaries or the uterus; or an adverse effect of medication.

Withdrawal of a sample of amniotic fluid by transabdominal puncture and needle aspiration, usually performed during the fifth month of pregnancy to detect such genetic disorders as Down syndrome, neural tube defects, and Tay-Sachs disease; if the clinician suspects sex-linked genetic defects, the procedure may be done to determine fetal gender.

Artificial rupture of the membranes.

1. Having the ability to relieve pain. 2. A medication that relieves pain.

A systemic reaction to a previously encountered antigen.

A surgical procedure in which two blood vessels, ducts, or other tubelike structures are joined to allow the flow of substances between them. Types of anastomoses are end-to-end and side-to-side.

angina pectoris
Severe chest pain characterized by sensations of spasm, constriction, and crushing weight, classically radiating from the area over the heart to the left shoulder and arm and possibly accompanied by a feeling of choking or suffocation. Angina usually results from myocardial oxygen deprivation secondary to atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries.

Loss of appetite.

anorexia nervosa
An eating disorder, most common among adolescent girls, that is characterized by an aversion to eating, a morbid fear of becoming obese despite significant weight loss, a disturbed body image that results in a feeling of being fat even when extremely thin, and amenorrhea (in females).

1. In pharmacology: a drug that nullifies the action of another drug. 2. In anatomy: a muscle whose effects counteract the effects of another muscle. 3. In dentistry, a tooth that meets another in the opposite jaw during chewing or clenching of the teeth.

Direction referring from front to back and side to side.

1. Of or relating to blockade of the impulses of parasympathetic or other cholinergic nerve fibers. 2. Any agent with anticholinergic properties.

anticipatory guidance
Information about a disorder or about the normal growth and development expectations of a specific age-group given at an appropriate time before an event in order to provide the client with support and strategies for dealing with potential problems before they occur.

antiembolism stockings
Elasticized stockings prescribed for some postoperative or bedridden clients to enhance venous blood flow from the lower extremities and thus prevent thromboembolism resulting from pooling of blood in the veins and dilation of veins.

antisocial personality disorder
A disorder that manifests after age 15 as a pervasive disregard for and violation of the rights of others.

Absence of urine production.

aortic stenosis
An abnormal narrowing of the orifice of the aortic valve, which prevents normal flow of blood from the left ventricle into the aorta. The constriction may result from a congenital malformation or pathologic fusion of the valve cusps. Aortic stenosis causes decreased cardiac output and pulmonary vascular congestion.

Apgar score
A numerical evaluation of a neonate's condition in which a rating of 0, 1, or 2 is assigned to each of five criteria: heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex responses, and skin color. The five scores are then combined: A score of 7 to 10 is considered normal, 4 to 7 indicates moderate distress, and 3 or less indicates acute distress. The Apgar score is usually obtained at 1 minute and 5 minutes after birth.

Loss or impairment of the ability to communicate through speech, written language, or signs, resulting from brain disease or trauma.

aphthous stomatitis
A recurring disease of unknown cause marked by the eruption of ulcers on the mucous membranes of the mouth. Also called canker sore.

Inflammation of the vermiform appendix. When acute, appendicitis commonly necessitates an appendectomy to prevent perforation of the appendix and subsequent peritonitis.

Complete or partial inability to perform purposeful movements in the absence of sensory or motor impairment.

The absence of living, disease-producing organisms. Medical asepsis refers to the removal or destruction of disease organisms or infected material. Surgical asepsis refers to protection against infection before, during, or after surgery by means of sterile technique.

A respiratory disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of paroxysmal dyspnea, bronchospasm, wheezing on expiration, and coughing. Conditions that may trigger an asthma attack include inhalation of allergens or pollutants, vigorous exercise, emotional stress, and infection.

Impairment of the ability to coordinate voluntary muscle movement.

atopic dermatitis
A skin inflammation occurring in individuals with a genetic predisposition to allergies, characterized by intense itching, maculopapular lesions, and excoriation (rash pattern varies with age but usually occurs on the face).

Evaluation of hearing using an audiometer. Various audiometric tests identify the lowest intensity of sound at which a client can perceive an auditory stimulus, hear different frequencies, and differentiate speech sounds. Pure tone audiometry evaluates the ability to hear frequencies, usually ranging from 125 to 8,000 Hz, and can determine whether a hearing loss results from a problem in the middle ear, inner ear, or auditory nerve.

auditory hallucinations
Perceptual experiences occurring in the absence of actual external sensory stimuli (for example, hearing voices telling one to do something).

auscultatory gap
Absence of Korotkoff sounds between phases I (onset of faint, clear tapping sound that gradually intensifies) and II (onset of swishing-like sound) while obtaining a blood pressure reading.

Austin Flint murmur
A mid-diastolic aortic regurgitation murmur usually heard best using the bell of the stethoscope over the mitral area. It’s a low-pitched, rumbling murmur.

The surgical transfer of tissue (commonly skin) from one location of the body to another location in the same individual.

autoimmune disorder
A disorder resulting from an inappropriate immune response that is directed against the self. Antigens normally found in the internal cells stimulate the development of antibodies; these antibodies can’t distinguish antigens of the internal cells from external antigens and act against the internal cells to cause various reactions.

A condition in which the immune system mounts an attack against the individual's own body tissues. One theory proposes that autoimmunity reflects an inability of the immune system to distinguish between autoantigens and foreign substances, caused by some change in the cellular components of the immune system. Autoimmunity may lead to hypersensitivity and autoimmune disease.

autonomic dysreflexia
Reaction that may occur in clients with spinal cord injury above T6. Dysreflexia results in profuse diaphoresis, pounding headache, blurred vision, and dramatically elevated blood pressure. This life-threatening reaction may occur even from seemingly minor stimuli, such as lying on a wrinkled sheet or having a full bladder.

autosomal recessive disorder
Genetic disorder involving two expressed abnormal autosomal genes (not expressed in the parents) in which the individual affected receives one copy of the altered gene from each parent; thus the individual is homozygous for that trait.

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