Rhino Means Nose

In this article, you will find a story from one of our team members, Jennifer, who struggled through her medical terminology course. You’ll also learn why Dean Vaughn Career Prep has helped her retain the material that she uses every day.

When I was a junior in college, I took a course in medical terminology. I had a 3.8 GPA going into the semester. I went to Walmart the day before classes started to get my supplies. I got smiley face stickers, college-bound notebooks, 2 boxes of index cards for medical terminology, along with everything else I felt that I needed to succeed.

Night #1: The Terror Started

I logged onto my online medical terminology course, greeted my professor and peers, and did my discussion post, with a generic copy and paste bio about myself that I used for my other three classes. Then I brought up my assignments list and saw the list of assignments that were due, greater than the rest of my classes.

I kept my cool and cracked open the textbook, and I didn’t even know where to start. The textbook looked more like a glossary, in the sense that it listed word parts with their respective definitions, and I didn’t learn like that. I made flashcards for every chapter and reviewed them frequently. I stuffed the cards in my purse wherever I went, and if I had a couple of minutes, I would pull them out and do a speed round of learning. No matter what I did, nothing ever stuck. I binge studied for my end-of-the-week exams and did decently, and I use that term loosely.

Night #23: The Glimmer of Hope

This class alone tanked my GPA. I tossed and turned at night, wishing that I hadn’t taken this course and that it wasn’t required for my degree. I was in the car with my husband one night, and he explained that he had taken a medical terminology course in high school. He relayed how hard it was at the secondary level, much less at the collegiate level.

My husband did share a nugget of what he had learned. He reminded me that rhino- meant nose. I imagined a rhinoceros with a giant nose, and a red arrow pointing at the nose. And I carried that morsel with me, throughout the rest of the course. On one of my exams, one of the quiz questions was to define “rhinorrhea.” I had a flashcard for -rrhea, and I remembered that it meant discharge, but for rhino- I immediately remembered what my husband had told me. Nose discharge. Funny, right?

Night #54: Resolution

The course was finally coming to an end, and I had a final exam left. I went into it feeling great, breezed through the questions confidently, and then I got my grade: 72. I was so depressed. Luckily, I had a decent enough grade to continue with my studies, scholarships, and financial aid – but it really took a toll on my morale, and my abilities as a student.

Where did it lead me?

I stumbled upon Dean Vaughn Career Prep and took the Medical Terminology By Body System course. This system was different. It was delivered in an online format, just like the class that I had previously taken. I finally learned! This system uses audionyms, a familiar term that sounds like the medical term that you are working on, and pairs it with an illogical association to help you remember the definition. This weird, wacky way of learning helped me to remember. For example, for -itis, the audionym is an eye test. The illogical association is a paper eye test on flames, representing something in flames, or inflammation, which is the definition of -itis. I had a moment of reflection when I came across the rhin- card when taking the medical terminology course. I couldn’t help but think of my husband’s tip. 

Dean Vaughn’s technique is very effective. I would recommend it for anyone struggling in a medical terminology class. For students that will need to take medical terminology, supplement your studies with Dean Vaughn Career Prep’s medical terminology course.



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