How to Memorize Medical Terms

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How to Memorize Medical Terms. Medical transcription is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. According to the Department of Labor, the field will see an above average growth through 2010. People of all ages can make good money in the business, some even working from home. To qualify for medical transcription work, memorize medical terms, become a fairly fast typist and have a willingness to learn and work hard.

Learn the basic rules of medical terminology first. Each individual term has three separate parts called the "root," the "prefix" and the "suffix." Once you know basic root, prefix and suffix words, you'll know at least one-third the term. The prefix "tri" in "triangulation" is a good example.

Understand there are 12 body views, which include anterior, posterior, ventral, dorsal, medial, lateral, superior, inferior, external, internal, proximal and distal. If you know these, you could be able to understand another third or more of a term.

Know there are 11 separate body systems, including, but not limited to, musculoskeletal, respiratory and gastrointestinal. Each of these systems might be augmented with roots, prefixes and suffixes. If you know those, plus the name of the body system, you're well on your way to understanding another third or more of a term.

Be prepared to also learn a bunch of surgical terms, body parts, function terms and other descriptors specific to each body system. Once you know the root, prefix or suffix, the body system and the names of some surgical procedures, you'll be able to figure out just about any term. The speed at which you recognize terms will come with practice.

Break down each medical term into various parts and patch together the meaning. For example, breaking down the word "arthrocentesis" we would find "arthro" which is a root word for "joint" and "centesis," which is a surgical procedure term for "puncturing" a body cavity or organ with a hollow needle to draw out fluid. So when a medical professional says, "arthrocentesis," they're speaking of a surgical puncture procedure on a joint.

Try "relationship memorization." This involves taking a medical term and pairing it up with something with which you have some sort of a relationship. For example, let's take "dorsal," the body view referring to the "back." If you watched football and knew the former Cowboys' Tony Dorsett, you could remember "dorsal" because "Dorsett" played "back."

Check online for more ideas and sources to help you memorize medical terms. There are flashcards, dictionaries and even games, all designed to help you study and become a successful medical transcriptionist.


Give your iPod a job helping you learn medical terms with "iTerms Flash Cards for Medical Terminology."


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