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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Medical Terminology - Distance Learning Course

- Study Anytime and Anywhere.

  • Develop communication skills to use medical terminology effectively.
  • Work in health, alternative medicine or para medical areas.
  • Increase confidence using medical language.
  • Achieve your educational goals.
  • Flexible access to post-secondary education.

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Study Medical Terminology

Improve Your Ability to Communicate with Health Professionals.

  • Discover increased confidence in the use of medical language.
  • Studies to help non-qualified medical staff in understanding and communicating with colleagues.
  • Useful for CPD and professional development
  • Study by distance learning
  • Experienced tutors will help you achieve your goals
  • Study part time whilst you work



The course is suitable for -

  • Students wishing to study medicine or health related careers
  • Medical secretaries
  • Medical receptionists
  • Medical administrators
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Support workers
  • Care workers
  • Writers
  • Journalists



There are 10 lessons in this course as follows:

Lesson 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.

Lesson 2. Anatomical Structure

  • Anatomical Prefixes.
  • Anatomical Suffixes.
  • Locating parts of the body.
  • Terms to indicate positioning of anatomical features in body.
  • Acronyms.
  • Symbols.

Lesson 3. 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.

Lesson 4. 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.

Lesson 5. 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.

Lesson 6. 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.

Lesson 7. 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 (Penis, Testes, Scrotum etc.).
  • 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.

Lesson 8. 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.

Lesson 9. 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.

Lesson 10. 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.



Lesson aims in the Medical Terminology course include:

  • Explain the scope and nature of terminology used in medicine and allied professions.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe general anatomical features, including disorders.
  • Identify the meaning of words which describe medical tools, equipment and procedures.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe pharmacological terms.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the musculoskeletal system, including disorders.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the cardiovascular, lymphatic and immune systems, including disorders.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the respiratory and reproductive systems, including disorders.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the digestive and excretory systems, including disorders.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the skin, including disorders.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the nervous and sensory systems, including disorders.



Consider the following medical notes. How much of this do you clearly and thoroughly understand?

Sample History and Physical Note Taking

Note for John Doe on 4/18/02 - Chart 1124

Chief Complaint: This 26 year old male presents today for treatment of suspected rheumatoid arthritis. Associated signs and symptoms include aching, joint pain, and symmetrical joint swelling bilateral. Patient denies any previous history, related trauma or previous treatments for this condition. Condition has existed for 2 weeks. He indicates the problem location is the right hand and left hand. Patient indicates no modifying factors. Severity of condition is slowly worsening.  Onset was unknown.

Allergies: Patient reports allergies to aspirin resulting in GI upset, disorientation.

Medication History: Patient is currently taking amoxicillin-clavulanate 125 mg-31.25 mg tablet, prescribed by A. General Practitioner MD, Adrenocot 0.5 mg tablet medication was prescribed by A. General Practitioner MD.

Past Medical History: Past medical history is unremarkable.

Past Surgical History: Patient reports past surgical history of (+) appendectomy in 1989.
Family History: Patient reports a family history of rheumatoid arthritis associated with maternal grandmother.

Social History: Patient consumes 2-3 standard drinks a week. Patient denies illegal drug use. Patient denies STD history. Patient denies tobacco use.

Review of Systems: Neurological: (-) paralysis Musculoskeletal: (+) joint pain (+) joint swelling (+) stiffness Cardiovascular: (-) oedema, Neurological: (-) numbness
Musculoskeletal: (-) back pain (-) decreased ROM (-) episodic weakness
Cardiovascular: (-) chest pressure Respiratory: (-) breathing difficulties, respiratory symptoms (-) sleep apnoea.

Physical Exam: BP Standing: 120/84 HR: 79 Temp: 98.6 Height: 5 ft. 8 in. Weight: 168 lbs.

Patient is a 26 year old male who appears pleasant, in no apparent distress, his given age, well developed, well nourished and with good attention to hygiene and body habits.
Skin: No skin rash, subcutaneous nodules, lesions or ulcers observed. Palpation of skin shows no abnormalities.

HEENT: Inspection of head and face shows no abnormalities. Hair growth and distribution is normal. Examination of scalp shows no abnormalities. Conjunctiva and lids reveal no signs or symptoms of infection. Pupil exam reveals round and reactive pupils without afferent papillary defect. Ocular motility exam reveals gross orthotropia with full ductions and versions bilateral.

Bilateral retinas reveal normal colour, contour, and cupping. Inspection of ears reveals no abnormalities. Otoscopic examination reveals no abnormalities. Examination of oropharynx reveals no abnormalities and tissues pink and moist.

ENT: Inspection of ears reveals no abnormalities. Examination of larynx reveals no abnormalities. Inspection of nose reveals no abnormalities.

Neck: Neck exam reveals neck supple and trachea that is midline, without adenopathy or Crepitance palpable. Thyroid examination reveals no abnormalities and smooth and symmetric gland with no enlargement, tenderness or masses noted.

Lymphatic: Neck lymph nodes are normal.

Respiratory: Assessment of respiratory effort reveals even respirations without use of accessory muscles and no intercostal retractions noted. Chest inspection reveals chest configuration non-hyper-inflated and symmetric expansion. Auscultation of lungs reveals clear lung fields and no rubs noted.

Cardiovascular: Heart auscultation reveals normal S1 and S2 and no murmurs, gallop, rubs or clicks. Examination of peripheral vascular system reveals full to palpation, varicosities absent, extremities warm to touch and no oedema.


You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. 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.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.


At ACS we provide you with more than just a set of course notes.

Your 'learning package' includes:

  • Course notes.
  • Self-assessment quizzes.
  • Assignment feedback.
  • You can interact one on one with a professional tutor with decades of experience - just email, phone or log on to chat to connect with them.



Study alone can never guarantee career success; but a good education and understanding the language of medicine is an excellent starting point.

Success in a career depends upon many things. A course like this is an excellent starting point because it provides a foundation for continued learning, and proof of your commitment to learn.

Start studying today and put that commitment into practice. 


Register to Study - Go to “It’s Easy to Enrol” box at the top of the page and you can enrol now.


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Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (writing)Tracey has enjoyed creative writing since she was a child. She has had several short stories published and a novella. She is also a keen writer of children's stories and poetry. She has also written many academic and non-fiction books in the fields of psychology, sociology, child development, writing and marketing.

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