The glossary page was written by Amanda Vercruysse.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare)
“The comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March 2010. The law was enacted in two parts: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and was amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act on March 30, 2010. The name “Affordable Care Act” is used to refer to the final, amended version of the law.”-

A tube passed into the body for excavating fluids or injecting them into body cavities. It may be made of elastic, elastic web, rubber, glass, metal, or plastic.

Use or passage of a catheter.

Charge Nurse
A nurse who is responsible for supervising the nursing staff on a hospital or nursing home unit. This nurse reports to the nurse manager.

Diagnostic Related Groups (DRG)
An indexing or classification system designed to standardize prospective payment for medical care. Diseases and conditions are assigned to a single DRG when they are felt to share similar clinical and health care utilization features. The reimbursement for treating all individuals within the same DRG is the same, regardless of actual costs to the healthcare facility.

Inspection of body organs or cavities by use of an endoscope.

A device consisting of a tube and optical system for observing the inside of a hollow organ, cavity, or tissue plane. This observation may be done through a natural body opening or a small incision.

The branch of medical science concerned with the study of the physiology and pathology of the stomach, intestines, and related structures, such as the esophagus, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

ICARE values
Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence which are the core values of care at Mary Washington Hospital. –

Intensive Care Unit: A special hospital unit for patients who, because of the nature of their illness, injury, or surgical procedure require almost continuous monitoring by specially trained staff. In large hospitals, units may be devoted to a single group or patients, such as surgical cases, comprised of newborns, or patients with burns, trauma, emergency cardiac care needs, or infectious diseases.

Magnet Hospitals
Magnet hospitals are those that are recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. These hospitals provide quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice. –

A physician who specializes in the study, care, and treatment of neonates.

Operating Room: A room used and equipped for surgical procedures in a hospital, surgicenter, or doctor’s office.

Post-anesthesia care unit: “an area adjoining the operating room to which surgical patients are taken for nursing assessment and care while recovering from anesthesia. Vital signs, adequacy of ventilation, level of consciousness, surgical site, and levels of pain are carefully monitored as the patient recovers consciousness. The PACU has nursing staff with specific skills care for patients, and a nurse anesthetist or anesthesiologist is available” –

“A subspecialty of obstetrics concerned with the care of the fetus and complicated, high-risk pregnancies. Perinatology is also known as maternal-fetal medicine.” –

Registered Nurse: “a graduate trained nurse who has been licensed by a state authority after qualifying for registration”

An instrument for measuring the pulse.

The surgical opening of the trachea to provide and secure an open airway.

Karen Ann Quinlan
A woman who slipped into a coma after consuming drugs and alcohol in 1975. She lived on a ventilator for a while, but her vegetative state meant that she would not recover. Her parents wanted to take her off of life-support, but the hospital refused. In a court case in 1976, her parents won and Quinlan was removed from life support under a new precedent of “legal neglect.” This case brought up issues of quality of life and medical ethics. Quinlan was able to live off of life-support until her death in 1985 of pneumonia.-

Nancy Cruzan
In 1983 Nancy Cruzan was in a car accident that caused her to slip into a coma for three weeks and then enter a persistent vegetative state. Her family wanted to remove the feeding tube that was keeping her alive, however, Missouri refused to allow this because she had not made her wishes clear. Eventually, her parents were able to get permission from the courts to remove the feeding tube. She died 12 days later. –

Terri Shrivo
After a heart attack which lead to decreased oxygen, Terri Shrivo fell into a coma and then a persistent vegetative state. Her husband wanted to remove the feeding tube, but her parents did not. 15 years of court battles and legal proceedings, the feeding tube was removed and Shrivo died in 2005. For more information-



The majority of definitions come from Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. 

American Nurses Credentialing Center. Magnet Recognition Overview. (accessed April 30,2014).

Lewin, Tamar. “Nancy Cruzan Dies, Outlived by Debate Over the Right to Die.” The New York Times, December 27, 1990. (accessed March 12, 2014).

Mary Washington Healthcare. “iCare Values.” Mary Washington Healthcare. (accessed March 4, 2014).

McFadden, Robert D. “Karen Ann Quinlan, 31, Dies; Focus of ‘76 Right to Die Case.” The New York Times, June 12, 1985. (accessed March 12, 2014). s.v. “Preinatology.” (accessed April 30, 2014).

Taber, Clarence Wilbur, and Donald Venes. 2005. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Co, 2005. eBook Collections (EBSCOhost).EBSCOhost (accessed April 7, 2014).

“Terri Schiavo Has Died.” CNN, March 31, 2005. (accessed April 30, 2014).

The Free Dictionary. s.v. “PACU.” (accessed April 27, 2014).