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The Importance of Understanding Medical Terminology

schedule 19th July 2015 by Ben Piper in Virtual College

Doctor talking to nurse

Whether you're a trainee GP, a nursing student, a social care worker, or a doctor's receptionist, if you work in an environment where a basic comprehension of medical terms is required, it's important that you understand medical terminology.

In any of these roles, you may find yourself responding to an emergency situation, making a 999 call and having to administer life-saving care, such as CPR or an epipen injection. When you're dealing with emergency responders, it can help to have an understanding of medical terms.

But it's also likely to be important in your day-to-day duties, when measuring medication doses for care home residents or as a receptionist responding to triage information from more senior medical staff.

Why it's important to understand medical definitions

Medical terminology can look and sound complex, but it's important to be able to break words down and understand their roots, prefixes and suffixes to prevent any misunderstandings or errors. The Virtual College Medical Terminology Training Package focuses on this area.

Mistakes and misunderstandings can be life-threatening. According to research from the University of Manchester in 2018, 237 million medical errors are made across the NHS each year, contributing to between 1,700 and 22,303 deaths on an annual basis.

Of these errors, 71 per cent occur in primary care settings. Multiple factors can be behind these mistakes, including overstretched staff, but having a sound understanding of medical terms could be key to preventing them.

What's more, the financial cost of medical errors can come in anywhere between £60 and £6 million. Every healthcare worker therefore has a part to play in ensuring they understand medical terms so as not to cost the NHS much-needed cash.

Medical Terminology Training Package

Our Medical Terminology Training Package includes two e-learning modules: An Overview of Medical Terminology and Skeletal Terminology.

At the end of the course, you will have been taught different ways to learn and remember medical terms, and work out the definition of ones you may be unfamiliar with.

You can find out more about our Medical Terminology Training Package here.

Ben Piper - Virtual College

Author: Ben Piper

Ben is a member of the Virtual College marketing team. He has a degree in economics and writes about business and education issues. In his spare time he loves food, drink and films.

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