Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Terminology
Medical terminology is the vocabulary or language those who work in the medical field use when describing the body and how it works, as well as disorders, procedures, and treatments. The words involved typically have a root or essential meaning. They may also have a prefix, which comes at the beginning of the word and may indicate something like direction, quantity, or location. A medical term may also have a suffix, which comes at the end of the word and may indicate something like status, disorder, or condition. An example is the word "endocarditis." "Card" is the root of the word, which indicates it has something to do with the heart. "Endo" is the prefix, which means "inner." The suffix, "itis," means inflammation is present. So, the word "endocarditis" means inflammation inside the heart.
Anyone can benefit from studying medical terminology. If you work in the medical field, learning the language helps you communicate with doctors and nurses, as well as patients. By using a standard set of words, there is no room for doubt when discussing a patient's status. Even if you work in the medical field but do not have a clinical job, you can use your understanding of medical terminology to communicate with patients, their families, and insurance companies. If you don't work in a field that would use medical terminology, understanding it can help you on a personal level. If you or a loved one has a medical condition, knowing medical terms means having a better grasp on your health, and it may even help you communicate better with your doctors and nurses.
Of course, doctors and nurses must understand medical terminology before starting their careers, but many hospitals and doctor's offices require non-clinical staff members know it as well. Even if you work as a receptionist, medical clerk, or patient care coordinator, knowing medical terms can enhance your job. It's also important for anyone who works in emergency services, like firefighters, police officers, 911 dispatchers, EMTs, and paramedics. There are several other unexpected careers that can benefit from understanding medical terminology; these include court reporters and anyone who works in the insurance field. Lawyers, paralegals, and legal secretaries who handle cases that may involve illnesses and injuries should also learn medical terminology.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.