HSA Course in Stoke On Trent

Medical Terminology For First-Aiders

Being a first-aider isn’t the same thing as being a doctor. In fact, it’s not quite the same thing as being a paramedic. As a first-aider, it is your job to provide immediate and temporary care to someone in need – whether a colleague, loved one, or stranger. However, despite the difference in role, there is some medical terminology that you should know. 

Medical Terminology Every First Aider Should Know

In this article, we’ll be going through some medical terminology that may be handy to all first-aiders, regardless of whether you’re providing first aid at work, at home, or community. 


The UK’s non-emergency medical advice phone number for all medical enquiries that warrant advice but don’t necessarily need an ambulance. 


The UK’s medical emergency phone number. This number (and 111) can be dialed from any mobile phone keypad – even if the phone has been disconnected.


Acronym standing for: 



Commence CPR. 

This should be the first First-Aid to be done. 


Acronym standing for: 




This device is also known as the Defibrillator


A class of medication designed specifically to deal with pain. For example, Pain relief – Paracetamol, Oxycontin, Morphine, Ketamine are all examples of analgesia.


Medical terminology meaning a lack of electrical activity in the heart. Also known as a flatline. 


An acronym designed to measure a patient’s level of response. Stands for: 


Responds to Voice

Responds to Pain


Especially useful for monitoring trends over time.

Cardiac Arrest

A situation wherein the human heart suddenly stops beating. This leads to rapid deterioration and soon death. 


An acronym for cardiopulmonary resuciation. To perform CPR, a first-aider must compress the chest to a rhythm of roughly 100 – 120 BPM. Every 23 – 30 ‘pumps’ the first aider should blow air into the patient’s mouth. This assists blood circulation and keeps the brain oxygenated. 


Acronym standing for Community First Responder. A CFR is a volunteer trained up by the Ambulance Service to assist with the more serious 999 ambulance calls.


A person from an alternative service (for example the police service or the fire service) who have been trained to assist with the more serious 999 ambulance calls. 


A rather dark slang term meaning ‘circling the drain’ – itself a metaphor meaning close to death.


See: AED. 


An acronym designed to help first-aiders remember the order when dealing with serious incidents. Stands for: 





Commence CPR (only if necessary)

Heart Attack

A situation wherein the heart’s blood supply is blocked, leading to arrhythmia and eventually death. 


From a Greek term meaning ‘high’. Can refer to anything being abnormally high such as hyperthermia (too hot) or Hyperglycaemia (Blood sugar levels too high)


Hypo is from the Greek meaning ‘low’. Can refer to anything being abnormally low. For example, hyponatraemia means a low level of sodium in your blood. 


An acronym used to help a First Aider remember the information needed when dialling 999. Stands for: 

Location (where)

Incident (exactly what has happened)

Other Services required (Fire. Police etc.)

Number of Casualties (number of people injured/need assistance)

Extent of injuries (description of injuries)

Location (repeat the first line of information)


An acronym and slang term meaning Little old Lady


Acronym standing for Mental Health First Aid


An acronym and slang term meaning Member Of the Public.

Myocardial infarction (MI)

A blockage in one of the blood vessels which supplies blood to the heart. Also known as a Heart Attack. If there are no external symptoms it is known as a ‘Silent MI’

Normal Sinus Rhythm

Also known as an NSR. This term means a normal regular heartbeat with no signs of distress or panic. The patient is healthy. 


A slang term and acronym meaning: 



Comfortable Support


This acronym is often used in the treatment of Strains or Sprains.


A stretch or tearing of a ligament as a result of overextension. 


Slang term and acronym meaning ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction. A type of Heart Attack. The ‘ST’ in the first part of the acronym refers to the heart’s electrical waveform.


An overextension of a muscle or tendon to the point of damage. 


An acronym for a mini-stroke – one that is temporary

Transient (meaning not permanent)

Ischaemic (meaning a blockage in blood flow)


Ventricular Fibrillation

Also known as VF. A term meaning random electrical activity in the heart. This random activity prevents the heart from beating properly and requires a defibrillator to set it back into rhythm.

Ventricular Tachycardia / VT / Pulseless VT

Also known as VT or Pulseless VT. Ventricular Tachycardia is a condition where the heart is beating so fast as to not be able to refill with blood. This prevents it from beating properly. This is another condition which requires a defibrillator to be put back into rhythm. 

First Aid Courses in Stoke-On-Trent from APT Health and Safety

Contact APT Health and Safety today if you are interested in expanding your team’s knowledge base. 

We run a wide range of courses including First-Aid training, UKATA Asbestos Awareness, numerous Fire Marshal training courses, and HSA courses in Stoke On Trent designed for health and safety awareness schemes. Our schemes have been designed for experts, based on years of experience.  

Get in touch with APT if you would like more information about any of our courses.

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