Nursing like other professions has unique terminology. When a nurse administers medication, it is possible to find p.r.n on the instructions. The letters are an abbreviation for "pro re nata", a Latin word meaning when necessary. It means that the medication is for an occasion that has arisen, as needed or as circumstances require.
Some of the medications come with specific usage instructions such “take 1 table spoon by mouth every 8 hours.” However, some medications are for use when treating a particular situation such as common cold, intermittent chest pain, allergies or constipation. Some of these medicines are on sale at local pharmacies or are prescribed by physicians.
Medications that should be taken “as needed” go by the name PRN medicine. Nurses should know to differentiate between "as needed" and daily medications. A competent nurse should be able to distinguish PRN from other medicine when reading prescription list. For example, a patient may feel that their diabetes or blood pressure does not affect them every day but the medications for the conditions are effective when taken daily.Other patients may only have high blood pressure because as an after effect of another issue such as receiving shocking news. The latter will take PRN medicine.
When Should PRN Be Used?
When a pharmacist prescribes “take as needed” medicine, it is essential that the prescription includes clear instructions on when and how to take it. The following information should be part of the instructions:
1. Dosage for a set period
For instance, many people take nitroglycerin tablets for chest pain only when they have the symptoms. It is essential that a pharmacist provides instructions that someone who takes three doses in 15 minutes without relieving the symptoms should seek medical treatment.
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2. Right time and conditions for taking PRN medication
Instructions by a pharmacist are necessary for guiding patients on when to take PRN medication. For example, a patient with a heart problem and under instruction to check weight daily should only take “as needed” pills if the scales show a weight gain of more than 3 pounds in 24 hours.
3. When to take PRN medication to solve a single health problem
Physicians may prescribe PRN medication to treat a current health issue. For example, a patient recovering from recent surgery for chronic knee pain might require some "as needed" medicine in addition to the usual prescription of pain killers. It is important to provide the order of taking both medications and the right time to separate the doses.
4. Ingredients for APRN
It is a good idea for nurses and patients to discuss with pharmacists on any medication questions. The reason is that many PRN medicines have similar ingredients. If you take several types of these drugs at once, it may cause a dangerous overdose of a particular ingredient. For instance many prescription and non-prescription drugs contain acetaminophen hence it is unsafe to take them together without the direction of a pharmacist.
What Does PRN Stand For In Job Application?
If you are unable to find a permanent nursing job at a hospital, you can apply for a PRN job. These Latin initials will stand for "as the situation demands" to mean you will work only when the hospital needs you. It is the same as working "pool" or per diem. Most hospitals keep a group of back up nurses and other supplementary personnel who step in for regular staffers who are sick or vacation. They also go to duty when hospitals receive a higher than the usual number of patients like during natural disasters, disease out breaks or terrorist attacks the facility cannot turn them away or treat them without additional help.
PRN job requires a commitment to work for certain hours per month. It is usually not hard to get the number of hours you require, but it requires flexibility as the hospital might require you any moment even at odd hours.
It is essential for medical practitioners to look out for PRN on medicine packaging and determine the dosage to give the right direction to their patients.