Adventures In Medical Terminology

If you’re starting nursing school, medical school or certification in one of the allied health professions, you will soon become familiar with common medical terms. What sounds like Greek and Latin now, will soon become your second language, and after a bit of practice, words like ‘intravenous therapy’ and ‘intercostal spaces’ will roll easily off your tongue. You’ll gradually start using common abbreviations too, instead of the clunky expanded forms. More important than learning medical words one by one though, is understanding what individual word parts mean and how they fit together in medical terminology.

What’s the need to know word parts or their meanings, you might ask? Can’t we just pick it up as we go along? Yes, experience is one way to learn a language. Besides, rote learning is no fun and memorizing lists of words is a painful exercise for most people. In any event, no medical terminology course can completely teach the vocabulary of the workplace. But there are advantages to understanding what meaning particular prefixes, roots and suffixes give to medical words.

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How To Learn Medical Terminology With Videos

We live in an age where you can learn many new things simply by watching a video on YouTube. Differentiating reliable learning from questionable information is a much harder task. Even when you find what you need, it’s hard to not get distracted by other video suggestions. In this short tutorial, we will show how learn medical terminology with our trusted video series – without getting sidetracked.

Method 1: General Search

The easiest way is to go to and enter the term “1 minute medical terminology” in the search box. Results will list our channel, playlists and all videos.

Advantage: straightforward; you’re taken directly to a list of our videos and playlists. We research, proofread, and name our sources at the end of each lesson, so you can trust what we teach.

Disadvantage: the lessons are listed individually, so you may have to repeat the search after watching each video.

Method 2: Channel Search

Search YouTube for “1 minute medical terminology” then refine the search results using filters. Under filter options, select “type”, then choose “channel”. The search results will show our channel, 1-Minute Medical Terminology, near the top. (We’re actually the top channel dealing only with teaching the meaning of medical terms).

Advantage: easy access to the full list of medical terms our lessons cover.

Disadvantage: same as for method 1

Method 3: Playlist Search

Repeat the search just as in method 2, but instead of selecting “channel” select “playlist”. The results will include all our learning playlists.

Advantage: this is the best method if you already have some knowledge of medical terminology. Simply choose a playlist and keep without being constantly redirected to other channel’s videos.

Disadvantage: this may not be the best way for beginners to learn medical terminology. For better memorization, we advise beginners to learn one new term at a time.

Method 4: Search From Within Channel

Go to our channel and click the search icon (located right next to the “about” tab). Use that search box to look up individual terms, just like you use a dictionary. For example, type in “epi” to find our tutorial on the medical prefix “epi-“.

Advantage: you can find the meaning of specific terms you need, without sorting through 70-plus videos. It’s also an easy way to select videos for adding to playlists of your own.

Disadvantages: none!

If you’d rather skip all these methods and get straight to our videos, click the hashtag below now:


Medical Terms Best Learned In Pairs

A great memory trick when studying basic medical terminology, is to learn a medical term and its opposite at the same time. For example the prefixes hypo and hyper mean opposite things, and are best remembered when studied together. That’s because comparison makes meanings clearer. Another reliable memorization technique, is to picture an outrageous image related to the meaning and/or the sound of the word you’re learning. For example, to memorize the phrase “opposing pairs“, you could picture in your mind, two giant pears in a tug of war. Naturally this type of visualization is much easier to do with everyday English than with medical words. Which is why our videos do it for you, using wacky cartoons to represent real medical terms.

In the video lesson that we’re highlighting today, we’ve combined both of the strategies above by creating the pictures for you and pairing them with opposite imagery.

Wherever possible, we try to link the new to the familiar (one more way that our mini tutorials help you to remember). This means that when we teach the meaning of a prefix or suffix, we show how they are part of common medical words that you already know. For example, hyper- means above normal and is found in a word that everyone knows: hypertension.

Here’s a list of medical terms covered in this lesson:

1. inter-  and intra

2. hypo- and hyper

3. exo- and endo-

4. poly- and oligo-

5. brady- and tachy-

6. macro- and micro-

7. peri- and tele-.

8. ante- and post- (or retro-)

After watching the video, practice what you’ve learned by making sentences of your own. Review the lessons within the next day, at the end of one week, then again in a month’s time. Each revision should take less time. Before you know it, your medical vocabulary will have expanded significantly. Have fun learning!

6 Million Reasons To Learn Medical Terminology Now

Last month, with healthcare resources stretched thin in many countries, the World Health Organization warned us to expect a shortage of 6 million nurses globally, while calling for urgent investment in nurse education and training. That’s 6 million potential new jobs – an encouraging estimate in our current bleak economic landscape. More nurses likely means a greater need for healthcare support staff too. What do all medical professionals have in common? They use medical terminology to communicate with each other. It’s like a foreign, secret language that you need to learn to join the club.

As we slowly re-emerge, shell shocked, from the ongoing seige that had visited the world these last 5 months, the question of how to move forward will be on everyone’s minds. For many, staying home could go from being a responsible, temporary decision, to an involuntary hardship caused by job loss or decreased work hours.

These 2 factors: time at home, and needing a new career, should put healthcare at the top of your list of possibilities. Not to mention that if you become a nurse or other essential worker, you could be helping fight microscopic enemies like the one (which we shall not name here) that has upended all our lives. There’s no need to go straight to nursing school either; the direct route may or may not be feasible in your current situation. An entry level position such as medical receptionist, is a great way to familiarize yourself with the terrain.

What is essential if you’re considering a career in healthcare, is being able to read, type and spell correctly – the terminology of medical professionals. Yes, a medical dictionary or cheat sheet of medical terms may help, but they can only take you so far. If you want the skills that can help an entry-level employee make enough of an impression on the people in a position to give you a leg up – you simply have to put in the work. Get started today learning medical terminology with our free video series, packed with fun, reliable learning. All the best as you explore the path forward – and stay safe!

Medical Terminology That You’ll Actually Remember

Taking a course in medical terminology is one thing – remembering the definitions of medical terms when you need them, is quite another. Referring to a medical dictionary is a good habit, but for work that involves speed as well as accuracy you will need a good working knowledge of medical vocabulary. Medical office workers like medical transcriptionists, medical scribes, medical record technicians or medical coders and billers, will need to speak medicine like a second language.

For example, a common complaint from medical coders trying to get certified, is that the hardest part of medical coding certification exams involves the section on medical terminology. A basic understanding of common medical terminology is important not just for that part of coding certification exams though, but for speed and accuracy in looking up ICD codes in general. In real life, it means you have a good knowledge of medical vocabulary, and need to pick up a medical dictionary less often.

Our video series uses everyday language to define basic medical words, because what’s the point of a definition that makes you have to open a dictionary? Each lesson illustrates the meaning of one term, using mostly everyday images – instead of medical images – to make them more relatable. The illustrations are deliberately chosen to be outrageous or funny, so you will remember them long after watching the video. We use and encourage repetition, as another way to help with memorization.

Use our lessons alongside your medical terminology coursework, as an alternative or a supplement to flashcards, games or cheatsheets. We encourage you to share your learning experience in our comments section. Happy learning!

Take The 1-Minute Challenge To Learn Medical Terminology

Get the medical terminology skills you need, to communicate effectively and make a good impression. Don’t get stumped on rounds when you encounter strange medical terms. Don’t enter embarrassing misspellings in medical records. Regardless of where you are in the medical field, avoid errors by building or refreshing your knowledge of medical terms. Watch this video, and take up our challenge today.

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