Healthcare Jobs Key Terms

Learn buzz words commonly used in the health care industry

All industries have key terms that might not be familiar to an outsider, and the health care industry is no exception. Whether you are just considering going into the medical field or you are about to embark on your education and training, it's important to know the jargon commonly used by health care professionals.

Take the time to learn not only the basic definitions of these key terms, but also how they are used within the many specialized practices of health care.


Many medical students and newcomers to the health care field participate in preceptorships. During a preceptorship, a highly experienced medical professional provides one-on-one training to the student or trainee. Preceptorships typically combine hands-on training and observation.
Texas Chiropractic College for examples of different preceptorship levels.


Phlebotomy, sometimes called venipuncture, is the act of drawing blood samples from veins and then preparing the samples for laboratory testing. Many professionals in the health care industry must be trained in phlebotomy.
College of DuPage website. To learn more about a career in phlebotomy and educational requirements, visit the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Locum tenens

Locum tenens is a Latin phrase meaning "to hold the place of." In the medical field, locum tenens refers to a temporary employment opportunity for a physician. Recent medical school graduates often take advantage of locum tenens because it allows them to work in several different kinds of practices before committing to one.

Mid-level provider

Mid-level providers are also referred to as non-physician practitioners, or NPPs. This term is often used to describe physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a term commonly used among the nursing community. All nurses must pass the NCLEX before joining the workforce.

Ambulatory care

Ambulatory care, or outpatient care, is a broad term used to describe health care in which the patient is not admitted into the facility. Typically, if the patient walks into the health care facility, receives care, and then walks out, the type of care administered is categorized as ambulatory.

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