PRN Meaning: What’s the Meaning of this Term?

Have you ever come across the abbreviation “PRN” in medical contexts and wondered what it means? It’s a commonly used abbreviation in the medical field, and understanding its meaning is essential for both healthcare professionals and patients alike. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of PRN, exploring its origins, significance, and application.

Key Takeaways

  • PRN originates from the Latin phrase “pro re nata,” meaning “as needed” or “as the situation demands.”
  • In a medical context, PRN is used for medicines taken intermittently instead of daily.
  • In nursing, PRN refers to an on-call working arrangement without a set schedule.

PRN Meaning

What Does PRN Mean?

PRN is an abbreviation commonly used in the medical field, which stands for pro re nata, a Latin phrase that translates to “as the need arises.” In the context of healthcare, PRN typically refers to medications that are taken “as needed” instead of on a regular, scheduled basis.

PRN Meaning: What's the Meaning of this Term? Pin

Origin and Context of PRN

As a Latin term, pro re nata has its roots in ancient Rome, where it was used to describe actions taken on an as-needed basis. Fast forward to modern times, and PRN has become an integral part of medical prescriptions and nursing practices. Medical professionals use PRN to denote that a specific medication should be taken only when required by the patient’s symptoms or condition.

Related Terms to PRN

There are several related terms and abbreviations in the medical field which share a similar context to PRN. Here are a few examples:

  • qd (quaque die): This Latin term means “every day” and is used to prescribe medications that must be taken daily.
  • tid (ter in die): Translates to “three times a day,” indicating the frequency of a medication’s administration.
  • qid (quater in die): This means “four times a day,” specifying how often a patient should take the prescribed medicine.

It’s essential to understand the meaning and context behind PRN and related terms, as they play a crucial role in the proper administration and usage of medications. This knowledge contributes to better healthcare management and safety for both patients and healthcare providers.

PRN Examples


In everyday conversations, PRN is often used among healthcare professionals, such as nurses and doctors, to discuss medication dosage schedules. For instance:

Person 1: “I have a headache. Should I take this medication now?”
Person 2: “Yes, take it every 4 hours PRN for pain.”

Person 1: “My grandmother is having trouble breathing.”
Person 2: “Administer oxygen PRN to maintain her oxygen saturation above 90%.”


Here are some examples of how PRN might be used in a medical context:

  • Take this medication every 6 hours PRN for pain.
  • Administer oxygen PRN to maintain oxygen saturation above 90%.
  • Monitor blood pressure PRN and report any significant changes.
  • Use a heating pad PRN for muscle soreness.
  • Administer anti-nausea medication PRN for patients experiencing nausea or vomiting.

Social Posts

In social media posts, particularly within healthcare communities, PRN might be used to describe available job positions or work opportunities.

  • Just got prescribed pain medication for my back injury. Taking it PRN as needed.
  • My doctor recommended using a heating pad PRN for muscle soreness. It’s been a game-changer!
  • If you’re experiencing nausea or vomiting during pregnancy, talk to your doctor about anti-nausea medication PRN.

More about PRN Terminology

PRN Synonyms

PRN, or “pro re nata,” is a Latin term that translates to “as needed.” It is commonly used in the medical field, particularly in reference to medication, to indicate that it should be taken only when necessary rather than on a fixed schedule. Some other terms that convey the same meaning as PRN include “as needed” and “po” (per os), which means by mouth. These terms help healthcare professionals communicate clearly and concisely about the appropriate use of medication.

Other Meanings of PRN

  • Public Radio Network: PRN can also refer to a Public Radio Network, which is a group of radio stations that are affiliated with a national or regional network.
  • Purchase Requisition Number: PRN can be used as an abbreviation for Purchase Requisition Number, which is a unique identifier assigned to a request for the purchase of goods or services.
  • Patient Record Number: In healthcare, PRN can also stand for Patient Record Number, which is a unique identifier assigned to a patient’s medical record.
  • Peer Review Network: PRN can be used to describe a Peer Review Network, which is a group of professionals who review and evaluate each other’s work to ensure quality and consistency.
  • Professional Research Network: PRN can also refer to a Professional Research Network, which is a group of professionals who collaborate on research projects.
  • Personal Response Network: PRN can be used to describe a Personal Response Network, which is a system that allows individuals to call for emergency assistance in case of an accident or medical emergency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between PRN and per diem?

PRN and per diem are both terms used to describe flexible work arrangements. While they may seem similar, there are subtle differences between the two. PRN, which stands for “pro re nata,” is a Latin term that translates to “as needed” in English. It is often used in healthcare settings to indicate that a person is available to work on an as-needed basis.

Per diem, on the other hand, means “per day” in Latin. It’s typically used for employees who are paid a set amount for each day they work rather than an hourly or salary rate. The main difference between the two is that PRN workers are called upon when needed, while per diem workers have a more established schedule but are still considered temporary or flexible workers.

How does PRN medication dosage work?

PRN medication refers to drugs that are taken on an as-needed basis, rather than on a regular schedule. This type of medication is often prescribed for conditions that have intermittent symptoms, such as allergies or pain relief after surgery. When a patient experiences symptoms, they’ll take the PRN medication as directed by their healthcare provider. It’s important for patients to follow the dosage instructions and consult with their medical professional if they’re unsure when or how to take a specific PRN medication.

What types of jobs are available for PRN positions?

PRN positions are most commonly found in the healthcare field, but other industries may also utilize PRN employees. These roles can include nurses, nursing assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, medical assistants, radiologic technologists, and more. Outside of healthcare, PRN positions might be found in customer service, retail, or other industries that require occasional or flexible staffing.

What are the benefits of a PRN role?

There are several benefits to working in a PRN position, including flexible scheduling and the opportunity to gain experience in various settings or specialties. PRN workers can often choose when and where they work, making it an ideal option for those who have other commitments or need a more flexible work-life balance. Additionally, PRN roles can provide valuable experience by exposing professionals to different work environments and patient populations, potentially making them more versatile and marketable in their field.

Can PRN positions lead to full-time opportunities?

Yes, PRN positions can potentially lead to full-time job opportunities. Depending on the employer and the individual’s performance, a PRN worker may be offered a permanent position if one becomes available. In some cases, working in a PRN role can also help to build a professional network and may open doors for future full-time employment through connections made on the job.

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