EMS Education Tips

How to learn EMS acronyms

For EMT, paramedic students and new EMS providers learning the jargon of EMS is an important step in the progression from zero to hero. There are lots of ways to learn acronyms:

  1. Create your own flashcards or use online flashcards.
  2. Hand write acronyms and abbreviations with their meaning.
  3. Complete online quizzes which include terms, acronyms and abbreviations.
  4. Listen to EMS podcasts and case discussions to hear acronyms in context.
  5. Add acronyms and abbreviations into your conversations and documentation.
  6. Review your department’s approved acronym list.

Most important though is learning the assessment, pathophysiology or treatment that is behind the acronym. It is merely interesting to know which each letter in OPQRST, SAMPLE, AS/PN, DOPE or LEMON. The knowledge of the abbreviation becomes useful when you are able to use it the process of assessing and treating a patient.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.