Basic medical Spanish terms with practice example uses [free pdf]

When we work in the medical field, one of the main things doctors and nurses must know and control is medical Spanish terms.

Controlling medical Spanish terms is necessary if we want to be able to communicate in this language and to not make inaccuracies.

What am I referring to? Here is a clear example: it is not the same tomarse una pastilla and tomarse una aspirina:

  • Pastilla: Piece of any medicinal substance.
  • Aspirina: Salicylic acid tablet. Aspirina (Aspirin) is a brand that sells salicylic acid.

As we can see from the example above, pastilla is a generic term referring to any type of compressed tablet (never liquid) while aspirina refers to on the one hand, a salicylic acid tablet and on the other hand, the brand that sells this medicine.

However, we can hear among native Spanish speakers how the term aspirina and pastilla are used as synonyms without distinguishing one term from the other.

But a doctor must know that between these terms do exist different meanings.

Basic medical Spanish terms

There are some medical Spanish terms you must know from the beginning if you work in the medical field.

Moreover, these terms are hardly ever alone; they are framed within a context, a situation.

If you’re following my blog, you already know that I really like to suggest all the vocabulary in many different situations considering that in the end, you’ll have to use this vocabulary in real life.

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Here, I suggest some basic level medical Spanish terms with sentences that could be heard in real life.

HOSPITAL (English: Hospital): When you’re talking to someone:

Tengo que estar en el hospital a las nueve en punto.

AMBULANCIA (English: Ambulance): In an accident or threatening situation:

La ambulancia viene de camino ¡no te preocupes, todo saldrá bien!

RADIOGRAFÍA (English: X-ray/ radiograph/ X-ray photograph): At the doctor’s practice with a patient:

Debes hacerte una radiografía para saber si tienes algún traumatismo.

SUERO (English: Intravenous drip/ I.V.): At a hospital room:

¡Hola! Vengo a ponerte un poquito de suero.

JARABE (English: Syrup): At the drugstore/chemist:

¿Tiene algún jarabe para la tos?

HISTORIAL MÉDICO/ HISTORIA CLÍNICA (English: Medical history/medical record): When we visit a doctor that hasn’t met us before:

¿Podría traerme su historial médico? Así sabré qué pruebas y tratamientos ha tenido usted.

ESTETOSCOPIO (English: Sthethoscope): Nurse or his/her assistant at the doctor’s practice:

¿Podrías pasarme el estetoscopio para auscultar al paciente? Está justo a tu lado.

TIRITAS (English: Sticking plaster/adhesive bandages [Band-Aid]): You cut yourself on the finger:

Límpiate la herida y ponte una tirita durante las primeras 24 horas.

CARDIOGRAMA (English: cardiogram): When we talk to a patient:

En el cardiograma no se aprecia ninguna anomalía.

TENSIÓMETRO (English: Sphygmomanometer/ Pressure gauge): Talking to a friend:

Esta tarde voy a ir a la farmacia a comprar un tensiómetro para poder tomarme la tensión yo misma en casa.

Maybe you would like to increase your medical spanish terminology with this related posts:

Body organs in Spanish: digestive system

Parts of the body in Spanish


Download the free guide 

I’ve already told you what some of basic medical Spanish terms are in this post, but there are also more terms that you need to know.

That’s why I’ve made this free guide in pdf with more terms with practice examples and one practice exercise. 

You’ll find each term with its translation in English and you’ll also be able to read it in sentences with the aim of getting to know first hand how us, native Spanish speakers, use each one of them.

Download free guide here

I hope this post about basic medical Spanish terms help you to start learning medical terminology 😉


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