Nursing and Healthcare English Vocabulary

Guide to English Vocabulary for ESL Healthcare Workers

Nurse
Nurse. Hero Images / Getty Images

Here is a list of some of the most important English vocabulary items for the nursing and healthcare industry. This selection of vocabulary is based on the Occupational Handbook provided by the United States Department of Labor. Each vocabulary item includes the appropriate part of speech to help with usage. 

After the list, you'll find tips to help you further improve vocabulary related to healthcare. 

Top Nursing and Healthcare Vocabulary

  1. Accelerated - (adjective)
  2. Accredited - (adjective)
  3. Acute - (adjective)
  4. Adequate - (adjective)
  5. Administer - (verb)
  6. Administered - (adjective)
  7. Administration - (noun)
  8. Adn- (acronym)
  9. Advance - (noun / verb)
  10. Advice - (noun)
  11. Agency  - (noun)
  12. Aide  - (noun)
  13. Ambulatory - (noun)
  14. Anatomy - (noun)
  15. Anesthesia - (noun)
  16. Anesthetist - (noun)
  17. Approved - (adjective)
  18. Assist - (verb)
  19. Assistance - (noun)
  20. Assistant - (noun)
  21. Bathing - (adjective)
  22. Blood - (noun)
  23. Board - (noun)
  24. Bsn- (acronym)
  25. Cancer - (noun)
  26. Care - (noun / verb)
  27. Career - (noun)
  28. Care for  - (verb)
  29. Center  - (noun)
  30. Certified - (adjective)
  31. Clinical - (adjective)
  32. Clinic - (noun)
  33. Communication  - (noun)
  34. Condition  - (noun)
  35. Consulting - (noun)
  36. Continuing - (adjective)
  37. Council - (noun)
  38. Credentialing - (noun)
  39. Critical - (adjective)
  40. Demand - (noun / verb)
  41. Determine  - (verb)
  42. Diabetes - (noun)
  43. Diagnoses - (noun)
  44. Diagnostic - (adjective)
  45. Difficulty - (noun)
  46. Diploma - (noun)
  47. Disability - (noun)
  48. Disease - (noun)
  49. Disorder  - (noun)
  50. District - (noun)
  51. Dressing - (adjective)
  52. Duty  - (noun)
  53. Educational - (noun)
  1. Elderly - (adverb)
  2. Eligibility - (noun)
  3. Emergency - (noun)
  4. Emotional - (adjective)
  5. Entry - (noun)
  6. Environment - (noun)
  7. Exam - (noun)
  8. Examination - (noun)
  9. Facilities - (noun)
  10. Facility - (noun)
  11. Faculty - (noun)
  12. Follow - (verb)
  13. Formally - (adverb)
  14. Geriatrics - (noun)
  15. Gerontology - (noun)
  16. Health - (noun)
  17. Hold - (verb)
  18. Hospital - (noun)
  19. Illness - (noun)
  20. Increase - (noun / verb)
  21. Infectious - (adjective)
  22. Injection  - (noun)
  23. Injury - (noun)
  24. Internal - (adjective)
  25. Junior - (noun)
  26. Laboratory - (noun)
  27. Level - (noun)
  28. License - (noun)
  29. Licensed - (adjective)
  30. Licensure - (noun)
  31. Lpns- (acronym)
  32. Manage - (verb)
  33. Medical - (adjective)
  34. Medication - (noun)
  35. Medicine - (noun)
  36. Member  - (noun)
  37. Mental - (adjective)
  38. Midwife - (noun)
  39. Monitor - (noun / verb)
  40. Monitoring - (adjective)
  41. Msn- (acronym)
  42. Nature - (noun)
  43. Nclex- (acronym)
  44. Neonatology - (noun)
  45. Nurse - (noun)
  46. Nursing - (noun)
  47. Nutrition - (noun)
  48. Obtain - (verb)
  49. Offer - (noun / verb)
  50. Office - (noun)
  51. Oncology - (noun)
  52. Order - (noun / verb)
  53. Outpatient - (noun)
  54. Pass - (verb)
  55. Path  - (noun)
  56. Patient - (noun)
  57. Pediatrics - (noun)
  1. Pharmacology - (noun)
  2. Physical - (adjective)
  3. Physician - (noun)
  4. Physiology - (noun)
  5. Plan - (noun / verb)
  6. Planning - (adjective)
  7. Postoperative - (adjective)
  8. Practical - (adjective)
  9. Practice - (noun)
  10. Practitioners - (noun)
  11. Prenatal - (adjective)
  12. Prepare - (verb)
  13. Prescribe - (verb)
  14. Preventive - (adjective)
  15. Primary - (adjective)
  16. Procedure  - (noun)
  17. Program - (noun / verb)
  18. Prospect  - (noun)
  19. Provide - (verb)
  20. Provider - (noun)
  21. Psychiatric - (adjective)
  22. Public - (noun)
  23. Qualified - (adjective)
  24. Radiation - (noun)
  25. Rapid - (adjective)
  26. Record - (noun / verb)
  27. Registered - (adjective)
  28. Rehabilitation - (noun)
  29. Remain - (verb)
  30. Report - (noun / verb)
  31. Residential - (adjective)
  32. Response - (noun)
  33. Retaining - (adjective)
  34. Rn- (acronym)
  35. Rns- (acronym)
  36. Routine - (noun)
  37. Rural - (adjective)
  38. Scope - (noun)
  39. Section - (noun)
  40. Serve - (verb)
  41. Services - (noun)
  42. Setting - (noun)
  43. Sign  - (noun)
  44. Skin - (noun)
  45. Specialist - (noun)
  46. Specialize - (verb)
  47. Specialty - (noun)
  48. Specific - (adjective)
  49. Staff - (noun)
  50. Supervise  - (verb)
  51. Supervision - (noun)
  52. Surgeon - (noun)
  53. Surgery - (noun)
  1. Surgical - (adjective)
  2. Team - (noun)
  3. Term - (noun)
  4. Test - (noun / verb)
  5. Therapeutic - (adjective)
  6. Therapy - (noun)
  7. Training - (noun)
  8. Treat - (verb)
  9. Treatment - (noun)
  10. Unit - (noun)

Improving Your Vocabulary Tips

  • Use each word in a sentence both when speaking and writing. Try to use the words in conversations, or just practice by speaking to yourself using the target vocabulary. 
  • After writing each word in a sentence, write some paragraphs describing your own specialty in healthcare or nursing. Which words can you add to the list?
  • Learn synonyms and antonyms by using an online thesaurus to further extend your nursing and healthcare vocabulary. 
  • Use a visual dictionary which will help you learn the names of specific equipment used in healthcare. 
  • Listen to co-workers and note how they use these words. If they use words you don't understand, ask them to explain when they have time. 
  • Search online for information about nursing and healthcare in general. Listen to podcasts on the subject, read a blog about agriculture. Keep informed in English and your knowledge of related vocabulary will grow quickly.