Medical Terminology

Study medical language online, to understand how medical words are constructed, and the meaning of medical terms; professional and career development as a foundation to work as a medical receptionist or health support job.

Course CodeBSC109
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Medical Terminology Training Distance Learning Course.

Study medical terminology to improve your job and career prospects in the field of medicine and health. Or study for your own interest.

  • Learn to decipher a medical term; breaking down it's components, to understand it's meaning.

  • Improve your opportunity to work in a medical support position (e.g. front desk for a health practitioner).

  • Expand your knowledge of human biology and health science.

A special course designed for people working or wishing to work in medical environments, with no medical training, to develop skills to communicate clearly and effectively using medical terminology.

This course is relevant to anyone working or wishing to work in fields of health, alternative medicine or paramedical areas; such as reception for a doctor or natural therapist.

This course is also suitable for writers in the medical field who would like to improve their knowledge of medical terminology.


Lesson Structure

There are 1 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Medical Terminology
    • What is Medical Terminology.
    • Origins of Words.
    • Structure of Words.
    • Medical Prefixes.
    • Medical Suffixes.
    • Constructing Medical Terms by altering prefix or suffix.
    • Anatomical Structure
    • Anatomical Prefixes.
    • Anatomical Suffixes.
    • Locating parts of the body.
    • Terms to indicate positioning of anatomical features in body.
    • Acronyms.
    • Symbols.
    • Medical Equipment and Procedures
    • Terms to describe Diagnostic and Surgical Procedures.
    • Terms to describe Medical Equipment.
    • Storage and Handling of Medicines.
    • Sterilising Equipment.
    • Terms to describe Bacteria.
    • Gram Staining.
    • Diagnostic Microbiology.
    • Research Microbiology.
    • Types of Wounds.
    • Problems Resulting from Wounds.
    • Treating Wounds.
    • Electrolytes.
    • Examples of Prefixes and Suffixes.
    • Pharmacological Terminology
    • Types of herbal and pharmaceutical medicines (e.g. Alkaloids, Calmatives, Cathartics, Decongestants, Expectorants, etc.).
    • Pharmacological Terms (e.g. Allergens, Carcinogens, Photosensitisers, Toxic Alkaloids, etc.).
    • Over the Counter Prescription Drugs.
    • Terminology for OTC and Prescription Drugs (e.g. Steroids, Barbiturates, anti-Psychotic Drugs etc.).
    • Prefix and suffix examples.
    • Musculoskeletal System Terminology
    • Naming main muscles.
    • Musculature ... Types of Muscle tissue.
    • Relationship between muscles and bone.
    • Bone and Joint problems (e.g. Sprains, Broken Bones, etc.).
    • Disorders of musculoskeletal System (e.g. Fibromyalgia, Sprains, strains, Cramp, etc.).
    • Suffix Examples.
    • Cardiovascular, Lymphatic and Immune Systems Terminology
    • Parts of the Heart.
    • Circulation.
    • Systole and Disystole.
    • Terms related to Disorders of Cardiovascular System.
    • Lymphatic System and Immunity.
    • Leucocytes.
    • Vaccination.
    • Immunity.
    • Disorders of Immunity.
    • Suffix and Prefix Examples.
    • Respiratory and Reproductive Systems Terminology
    • Lungs.
    • Respiration.
    • Pulmonary Circulation.
    • Gas Exchange (Diffusion, Perfusion, Arterial Pressure).
    • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
    • Diagnostic Procedures for Lungs and Airways.
    • Respiratory Disorders.
    • Male Reproductive System.
    • Female Reproductive System.
    • Pregnancy.
    • Parturation.
    • Caesarian Section, VBAC and Multiple Gestation.
    • Premature Birth and Miscarriage.
    • Reproductive Disorders (e.g. Amenorrhoea, Menorhagia, PCOS, Endometriosis, etc.).
    • Suffix and Prefix Examples.
    • Digestive and Excretory Systems Terminology
    • Parts of the Digestive System.
    • Renal System.
    • Kidneys.
    • Ureters and Bladder.
    • Urethra.
    • Disorders of Digestive and Renal Systems (e.g. Anal Fissure, Haemorrhoids, Inflammatory Bowel System, Kidney Stones, Pancreatitis, etc.).
    • Suffix and Prefix Examples.
    • Integumentary System (Skin) Terminology
    • Thermoregulation.
    • Electrolytes.
    • Types of Sensory Nerves.
    • Sun Protection.
    • Intergument Structure.
    • Cell Types.
    • Disorders (e.g. Scab, Atrophic skin, Abrasion, Excoriation, Scar, Ulcer, etc.).
    • Diagnostic Procedures.
    • Suffix and Prefix Examples.
    • Nervous and Sensory Systems Terminology
    • Brain.
    • Central Nervous System.
    • Peripheral Nervous System.
    • Disorders of Nervous System.
    • Disorders of Sensory System (e.g. Aphasia, Apraxia, Vertigo, etc.).
    • Diagnostic Procedures.
    • Suffix and Prefix Examples.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Communicate clearly and effectively using medical terminology.
  • Explain the scope and nature of terminology used in medicine and allied professions.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe general anatomical features, including dsorders.
  • To identify the meaning of words which describe medical tools, equipment and procedures.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe pharmacological terms.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the musculoskeletal system, including disorders.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the respiratory and reproductive systems, including disorders.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the digestive and excretory systems, including disorders.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the nervous and sensory systems, including disorders

What Does it Mean?

Medicine has a language all of its own.

If you want to work with Doctors, Nurses or other Health Practitioners effectively, you need to be able to communicate with them.

  • Gain knowledge and confidence by studying Medical Terminology.

Medical Abbreviations And Acronyms (course extract)





AA Alcoholics Anonymous

AAA Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

ABG Arterial Blood Gases

ABMT Autologous bone marrow transplantation

ABVD Doxorubicin bleomycin vinblastine dacarbazine

a.c. Before food from the Latin, ante cibum

ACE Angiotensin converting enzyme

ACEI Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors

ACL Anterior cruciate ligament

ACS American College of Surgeons

ACTH Andrenocorticoid hormone

ADA Andenosine deaminase

ADD Attention Deficit Disorder

ADH Antidiuretic hormone

ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

AF Atrial fibrillation

AFO Ankle-foot orthosis

AFP Alpha-fetoprotein

AHF Antihemophilic factor

AHG Antihemophilic globulin

AI Artificial insemination

AICD Automatic implanted cardiac defibrillator

AID Artificial insemination by donor

AIDS Acquired immune deficiency syndrome

AIH Artificial insemination by husband

ALG Antilymphocytic globulin

ALL Acute Lymphocytic leukaemia

ALPS Autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome

ALS Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

ALS Advanced Life Support

ALT Alanine Transfer

AMA Anti-mitochondrial antibodies

AMA Australian Medical Association

AMA American Medical Association

AMC Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita

AML Acute myelocytic leukaemia

AMP Adenosine monophosphate

AMS Atypical measles syndrome

ANA Anti-nuclear bodies

ANCA Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies

ANF Atrial natriuretic factor

ANF Anti-natriuretic factor

ANP Anti-natriuretic peptide

ANP Atrial natriuretic peptide

ANUG Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis

AP Alkaline Phosphatase

APECED Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy

APLS Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome

APSAC Anisoylated plasminogen streptokinase activator complex

APS Autoimmune polyglandular syndrome

APTT Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time

ARC Aids related complex

ARDS Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ART Antiretroviral therapy

ARM Artificial rupture of membranes

ASA Acetylsalicylic acid – commonly known as aspirin

AS Aortic stenosis

ASCD Arteriosclerosis coronary artery disease

ASD Atrial septal defect

ASO Antistreptolysine O

AST Asparagine Transferase

ATG Antithymic globulin

AT-III Antithrombin III

ATP Acute thrombocytopenic purpura

ATP Adenosine triphosphate

AVM Arteriovenous malformation

AVR Aortic valve replacement

AZT Azidothymidine





BAL Brochoalveolar lavage

BAL British anti-lewisite

BAO Basic acid output

BCG Bacillus Calmette Guerain ( a tuberculosis vaccine)

b.d. Twice daily from the Latin, bis die

BE Base excess

BK Bacterium Koch

BMC Bone mass content

BMD Bone mass density

BMI Body mass index

BMR Basal metabolic rate

BMT Bone marrow transplantation

BNF British National Formulary

BNP Brain natriuretic peptide

BP Blood Pressure

BP Bipolar disorder

BPD Borderline personality disorder

BPH Benign prostatic hyperplasia

BPM Beats per minute

BSE Bovine spongiform encephalopathy

BSP Bromsulphthalein

BUN Blood urea nitrogen





CABG Coronary arterial bypass graft

cAMP Cyclic adenosine monophosphate

Ca Carcinoma

CAH Chronic active hepatitis

CAH Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

CAT Computed axial tomography

CAPD Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis

CDC Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

CEA Carcinoembryonic antigen

CF Cystic fibrosis

cGMP Cyclic guanosine monophosphate

ChE Cholinesterase

CHE Cholinesterase

CHF Congestive heart failure

CI Confidence interval

CJD Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

CK Creatine kinase

CLL Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

CML Chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia

CMML Chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia

CMV Cytomegalovirus

COLD Chronic obstructive lung disease

COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

CO Cardiac output

CO Carbon monoxide

COX-1 Cyclooxygenase 1

COX-2 Cyclooxygenase 2

CPAP Continuous positive airway pressure

CPK Creatine Phosphokinase

CPR Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

CREST Calcinosis Raynaud Oesophagus Sclerosis Teleangiectasiae

CRF Chronic renal failure

CRH Corticotropin Releasing Hormone

CRI Chronic renal insufficiency

CRF Corticotropin releasing factor

CRP C-reactive protein

CR Complete remission

CS Caesarean section

CsA Cyclosporin A

CSF Cerebrospinal fluid

CT Computed axial tomography

CVA Central venous pressure

CVID Common Variable Immunodeficiency





DPB Diastolic blood pressure

DCM Dilated cardiomyopathy

DDD Daily defined doses

DHEA-S Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate

DHE Dihydoergotamine

DIC Disseminated intravacular coagulation

DPT Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus

DiPerTe Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus

DiTe Diphtheria Tetanus

DM Diabetes Mellitus

DNA Desoxyribonucleic acid

DNR Do Not Resuscitate

DO Doctor of Optometry or Doctor of Osteopathy

DOA Dead on Arrival

DTP Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis

DT Diphtheria Tetanus

DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis

DEXA Dual Energy Xray Absorptiometry




EACA Epsilon- aminocaproic acid

EBM Evidence based medicine

ECG Electrocardiogram

EDRF Endothelium- derived relaxing factor

EEG Electroencephalogram

EKG Electrocardiogram

ECPW Endoskopowa cholangiopankreatografia wsteczna

E Erythrocytes

EF Ejection Fraction

EGP Epidermal Growth Factor

EKG Electrocardiogram

EMLSCS Emergency lower segment Caesarean Section

ELLSCS Elective lower segment Caesarean Section

ELISA Enzyme – linked Immunosorbent Assay

EMC Encephalomyocarditis

EMF Endomyocardial fibrosis

EMG Electromyography

ENT Ear Neck and Throat (Otolaryngology)

EPH Edema Proteinuria Hypertension

EPO Erythropoietin

ERCP Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

ESR Erythocyte sedimentation rate

ESWL Extracorporal Shockwave Lithotripsy

ET Endothelin

ETOH Ethanol or ethyl alcohol

EUS Endoscopic Ultrasonography




FDA Food and Drug Administration

FDP Fibrinogen Degradation Products

FEV1 Forced Expiratory Volume 1 – second

Fe Iron

FFA Free Fatty acids

FFP Fresh Frozen Plasma

FHR Foetal heart rate

FSE Foetal Scalp Electrode

FSH Follicle stimulating hormone

FTA-ABS Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody

FTA Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody





G6PD Glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase

GABA Gamma-aminobutyric acid

GCS Glasgow Coma Scale

GDLH Glutamate dehydrogenase

GERD Gastro-oesophagus reflux disease

GFR Glomerular filtrate rate

GGTP Gamma glutamyltranspeptisade

GH Growth Hormone

GHRF Growth Hormone releasing factor

GITS Gastrointestinal therapeutic system

GIFT Gamete intrafallopian transfer

GORD Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease

GOT Glutamic-oxalacetic transaminase

GP General Practitioner

GPT Glutamic-pyruvic transaminase

GvH Graft-versus-host

GvHD Graft-versus-host disease





HA Hypertonia arterialis

HAV Hepatitis A Virus

HBG Haemoglobin

HB Haemoglobin

HBV Hepatitis B Virus

HCG Human Chorionic gonadotropin

HCM Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

HCT Hematocrit

HCT Hydroclorothiazide

HCV Hepatitis C Virus

HDL High density lipoprotein

HDL-C High density lipoprotein Cholesterol

HDV Hepatitis D virus

HEV Hepatitis E Virus

HGB Haemoglobin

Hib Haemophilus influenzae B

HIV Human Immunodeficiency virus

HL Hepatic lipase

HLA Human leukocyte antigens

HOCM Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy

HR Heart rate

HRT Hormone replacement therapy

HSG Hysterosalpingogram

HSV Herpes simplex virus

HTLV Human T-Lymphotropic virus

HUS Haemolytic uremic syndrome




IABP Intra-aortic balloon pumping

ACD-10 International Classification of Diseases 10th revision

ICD Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator

ICU Intensive Care unit

IDC Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy

IDDM Insulin dependant diabetes mellitus

IDL Intermediate density lipoprotein

IFG Impaired fasting Glucose

Ig Immunoglobulin

INF Interferon

INR International normalised ratio

IPPV Intermittent positive pressure ventilation

IQ Intelligence Quotient

ISA Intrinsic Sympathomimetic Activity

ISDN Isosorbide dinitrate

ISH Isolated systolic hypertension

ITP Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura

IUCD Intrauterine contraceptive device

IUD Intrauterine device

IUD Intrauterine death

IU International Units

IVF In vitro fertilisation

IUI Intra-uterine insemination

IVP Intravenous pyelogram








K Potassium





LAD Left artery descendens

LAS Lymphadenopathy


Study Medical Terminology by Distance Learning

You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study where and when you want to. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies. Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.


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In Australia Phone:

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Miriam ter Borg

Youth Worker, Tutor, Author and Natural Therapist. Miriam was previously an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, Youth Worker, Surfing College Program Coordinator, Massage Therapist, Business Owner/Manager. Miriam's qualifications include B.Sc.(Psych), DipRem.M
Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
Barbara Seguel

Teacher and Researcher, Marine Scientist, Tourism and Outdoor recreation guide, Health and Safety Coordinator & Production Manager for Fisheries, National Park Staff/Farmer, Laboratory technical aide, Zoo, Wildlife and Marine Park assistant. Barbara has w
Tracey Jones

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE. Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc. 25 years industry experience in writing,
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