The career of medical assisting requires an extensive knowledge of medical terminology. Many of these words are based on the Latin and Greek languages. Most of the medical terms refer to parts of the body, conditions of the body(i. e. , infection, inflammation, redness, etc. ), planes of the body, or a combination of all three. The medical assistant with a strong grasp of medical terms will understand more about the field of medicine as a whole, and be able to teach her patients about what certain conditions and disease words mean.
Her peers and superiors will recognize the medical assistant who utilizes these words when communicating with other team members as a professional. Also, she will be able to communicate with all levels of caregivers with increased understanding, thereby becoming an integral part of the team. The following word elements are important for medical assistants to know. Examples of how these words are relevant to on-the-job learning are outlined below. Poster/o, meaning back of body: Case: The MA does her initial interview with a patient that has come to the doctor with leg pain.
When asked, the woman points to the entire backside of her left leg below the knee. As an MA documenting the reason for the visit, you can list it as posterior left lower leg pain. You have saved the doctor time by supplying him with the exact reason for the visit. He will be impressed by your use of correct terminology. Later/o, meaning the side: Case: The MA is working in an asthma and immunology clinic, and is reading the orders just written for the young woman in Exam Rm. 1. The orders say that he wants an x-ray now for the chest.
In further reading the order, it calls for “a PA and lateral of the chest. ” The MA may not have a full understanding of what the other components of the order mean, but she will recognize that the doctor needs to see a view of the lungs from the side. Hearing Mrs. Blinginbocker coughing like she might bring up a lung, you now know to expect this diagnostic procedure when other patients have symptoms like hers. Crani/o means cranium. In general this prefix means the head, but in particular it includes the skull and the brain within.
The MA is working in a neuro-surgeon’s office. She has pulled charts for the patients to be seen that morning. As she reviews Mrs. Higginbothom’s chart, she notes that Dr. Leyland performed a craniotomy 6 weeks ago on this patient. Although the other terminology may not be understood yet, i. e. , -otomy, the MA knows surgery was done on the head. Histo means tissue. An MA working in a dermatologist’s office received a number of faxes from the lab on the 3rd floor. Dr. Skinnerly comes in a few minutes late, and is hurrying to meet his first patient.
He asks the MA to, “bring me the report on the mole I removed from her back last week, please. ” The MA returns to the faxed papers and finds that there are three reports with Mrs. Langford’s name on them. She immediately sees the Histology Report, immediately recalling that histo means tissue, and rushes to the exam room in time to meet the doctor at the door. Had she not known what histo meant, the doctor would have had to search for the report himself, thus further slowing him down. Infer/o, means lower, or below.
The MA working in a nephrologist’s office(or kidney doctor’s office) is filing various reports in their respective patient charts. She is haphazardly glimpsing words here and there, and reads the phrase, “inferior portion of the left kidney. ” Immediately, the MA is thrilled, because she recognizes that the inferior area means the lower part of the kidney. The MA immediately feels a sense of pride in her education, as well she should. Abdomin/o, meaning abdomen.. Abdomin/o is a simpler term, one that most lay people know.
The MA working in a general practitioner’s office will hear many complaints of abdominal pain. This term is used so frequently, it is not easy to forget. Gastr/o means stomach. The last two terms should not be confused. Gastro means anything related to the organ called the stomach, whereas abdomen means the entire cavity, i. e. , the area containing the stomach, liver, kidneys, spleen, bladder, etc. Gastro is another term that an MA in a general practitioner’s office will hear nearly daily. If the MA sees a report regarding a gastric ulcer, she knows it is in the stomach.