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Mnemonics and Nursing
Article · November 2019
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Dr S K Maheshwari
Baba Farid University of Health Sciences
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International Journal of
Nursing Science Practice and Research
ISSN: 2455-6351 (Online)
Vol. 5: Issue 2
Mnemonics and Nursing
S.K. Maheshwari1,*, Prabhjot Kaur2
Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, University College of Nursing, Baba Farid
University of Health Science, Faridkot, Punjab, India
PG Research Scholar, University College of Nursing, Baba Farid University of Health
Science, Faridkot, Punjab, India
Being able to remember new and unfamiliar material is very necessary for the success of
students. As all the students move through high school to college and university and beyond,
larger amounts of new information and the content that is presented to them is very complex.
Mnemonics are various strategies that help to retain very complex information or facts and
figures in the long-term memory. Thus, these are some of the memory enhancement methods
which can help the students to remember and recall the knowledge that they have learned.
This article presents an overview of mnemonics and variety of mnemonic strategies that can
be useful to students in improving their knowledge and learning.
Keywords: memory, mnemonics, nursing, students
*Corresponding Author
E-mail: skmbfuhs@gmail.com
Mnemonics is a scheme that is being used
from years to assist in memory. It is
considered as an art from ancient times
which is of intellectual interest [1]. It is
basically a self-help learning device
designed to increase the confidence of a
learner. With the help of mnemonics, we
may strengthen the learning skills of
students. Mnemonics is verbal or visual in
nature, which serves to improve the
storage of new information and helps to
recall the long list of words [2, 3].
Mnemonics is the skill of assisting memory
by using various methods like rhymes, rules,
phrases, diagrams, acronyms and other
devices – these all help in the recall of
names, facts, dates and figures [4–6]. There
are two basic types: those that are used for
remembering facts are called fact
mnemonics and those that are used for
remembering rules and procedures known as
process mnemonics [7].
In the field of cognitive psychology,
mnemonic techniques are considered to be
strategies for encoding new information in
memory in such a way that they can be
more easily retrieved [8–10]. Among the
most studied techniques are those
involving imagery or verbal mnemonics,
such as using the first letters of a set of
words to form an acronym or phrase or
using the words to make up a story [11].
Mnemonics can be used by anyone and
anywhere. These are teaching and learning
methods which are used by student
learners and teachers. Students can make
IJNSPR (2019) 19–25 © JournalsPub 2019. All Rights Reserved
Page 19
Mnemonics and Nursing
their own mnemonics to be able to retain
the content of difficult subjects [12–14].
For any type of academic content,
mnemonics could be an important
component through which any type of
material could be retrieved.
Mnemonics helps you to increase memory
by imposing sense, structure and
organization on material. It usually
involves adding something to the material
to make it more memorable. Mnemonics
use the basic principles – i.e.
understanding and comprehension — so
that we may be able to catch what we are
studying [15]. The true test of whether or
not we understand what we are studying is
our ability to apply the information
correctly and second is applying your
knowledge – if you are able to apply what
you have studied to solve your problems
with the information available then you
have truly learned it. Mnemonics works in
the following ways:
• Attention–Firstly student will pay
attention to content and ensure
• Repetition–Mnemonics would only
work when a student will repeatedly
learn the subject matter with the help
of mnemonics.
• Retrieval cues–Retrieval cues are
stimuli that assist in memory retrieval.
Retrieval cues help you to store
information in long-term memory and
bring them to your consciousness. The
presence of retrieval cues can make
recalling memories much easier.
• Dual coding cues–Verbal and visual
• Organization–Chunks.
• Rehearsal
Memory aids or mnemonics always helps
students to recall information, and thereby
helps to reduce stress related to studies and
Maheshwari and Kaur
freeing up more cognitive resources for
higher order thinking. Mnemonics can be
described as follows:
1. Music mnemonics – Mnemonics can
be used as a song and jingle.
2. Name mnemonics – First letter of
each word is connected to make a new
mnemonic. For example, VIBGYOR
can be used as a mnemonic to
remember colors of the rainbow.
3. Expression mnemonics – Expression
mnemonics are most popularly used. In
this mnemonic, the first letter of each
item in a list is arranged to create a
new word.
4. Model mnemonic – In this mnemonic,
some type of representation is
constructed to help with understanding
and recalling important facts.
5. Ode mnemonics – In ode mnemonics,
a poem is created to make content
more memorable.
6. Note organization mnemonics –
Students can make lecture notes in an
organized manner which may improve
learning of students.
7. Image mnemonics – An image can be
used as a mnemonic that help students
to recall information.
8. Connection mnemonics – In this, new
knowledge is connected to previous
9. Spelling mnemonics – Spelling
mnemonics is intended to help
remember the spelling of words.
Acrostics: Acrostics can be used in the
form of a poem where the first and last
initial letters will combine to form a
message. It will help the person to recall
more effectively. This type of words can
catch attention of anyone. For example,
Newton’s Law Made Extraordinary Base
(Neutrophils, Lymphocytes, Monocytes,
Eosinophils, Basophils). Students can
easily remember the ranking order of
normal differential count for white blood
cells with the help of this mnemonic [16].
IJNSPR (2019) 19–25 © JournalsPub 2019. All Rights Reserved
Page 20
International Journal of Nursing Science Practice and Research
ISSN: 2455-6351 (Online)
Vol. 5: Issue 2
Acronyms: Acronyms are widely used as
a mnemonic technique in the form of an
abbreviation. The sentences can be
established from the initial alphabet of
words that are to be evoked. The following
examples demonstrate the use of
To remember the colors of the rainbow,
the implementation of the acronym ROY
G BIV could be taught to students: Red,
Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo,
Keyword method: Keyword method is an
intervention that can be implemented to
learn something innovative and nonfamiliar vocabulary words within any
content area of instruction. Keyword
strategies make use of concrete, similar
sounding words to help students in the
recall of new vocabulary words [17]. In
this method, picture is used to make the
unfamiliar information more meaningful
and tangible, and it helps student to
remember for long term. During
application of keyword strategy, we must
follow the 3 R’s: reconstructing, relating
and retrieve.
Reconstructing: In the first step, a
keyword is made by their own creativity.
A student will be familiar to this keyword.
A keyword is a word that is familiar to the
student’s vocabulary. A student can easily
make an illustration related to this
keyword and it can be retrieved more
Relating: Next, develop an illustration
that will describe this keyword.
Retrieve: In the third step, students will
go through all the above-mentioned steps
as said by teacher to efficiently recall the
innovative words that are created by
Cranial nerves can be easily remembered
with the help of following mnemonic:
• Oh OhOh, To Take A Family
Vacation, Go Las Vegas & Hungary
(Oh) Olfactory
(Oh) Optic
(Oh) Oculomotor
(To) Trochlear
(Take) Trigeminal
(A) Abducens
(Family) Facial
(Vacation) Vestibulocochlear
(Go) Glossopharyngeal
(Las Vegas) Vagus
(And) Accessory
(Hungary) Hypoglossal.
Mnemonics are really very effective for
good and creative memorization, but a
student should have mastery to make their
own mnemonics. The very basic
information and complex vocabulary can
be easily learned with the help of these
techniques. A student has his own memory
codes into which complex sentences and
words can be included. With the help of
mnemonic techniques, memory blocks can
be easily removed. It will also help you to
fill the gaps in knowledge and you can
become expert.
In an era of overloaded information, an
efficient memory is very important for the
success of students. Thus, mnemonics are
some of the memory improvement
techniques which can help the students to
reminisce and recall the knowledge that
they have learned. Many studies have
found these techniques to have significant
effect on student’s learning. Mnemonics is
one of the oldest techniques used for
encoding and remembering information.
Mnemonics are of various techniques and
strategies that help a student to achieve
success in examinations and interviews by
IJNSPR (2019) 19–25 © JournalsPub 2019. All Rights Reserved
Page 21
Mnemonics and Nursing
improving their memory capability. It is a
very shortcut and simple method through
which we are able to relate our study
material with a picture or an illustration and
a word or sentence will be formed.
Mnemonic strategies exist from the very
beginning, i.e. from ancient Greek times.
Everyone uses mnemonic devices, even if
they don’t know their name. In various
subjects, where we have to remember long
lists of words, mnemonics proves to be
very effective and helpful. Lists of drugs
and various procedures can be learned
easily by various mnemonics. Our brain
helps us to encode this creative information
into our memory, and when we repeatedly
use it, it will go into our long-term memory
and we can evoke it later.
Mnemonics are memory aids we can easily
use to remember sentence sequence. Facts,
face, events and content matter can be
mastered and recalled by using memory
devices, popularly known as mnemonics. If
we see mnemonics in comparison to other
conventional methods of teaching, then it
proves to be the best learning strategy ever.
Mnemonics aids student to increase their
long-term and short-term memory. A
student gets bored during lectures and
discussions but adding mnemonics to their
practice will be an enjoyable method to
create interest of the students.
Mnemonics are very helpful in learning
disabilities. In dyslexia, students face so
much difficulty in reading content and
unable to learn it properly, despite the
student is very brilliant. But with the help
of mnemonics, reading abilities can be
easily enhanced and dyslexia can be
reduced in children.
Mnemonics will improve creative skills of
students. So, if we have ability to imagine
Maheshwari and Kaur
study material in a picture or image form, it
will be easy to evoke later on. It depends on
our preference to use very powerful and
brilliant mnemonics.
Mnemonics helps to reduce boredom in
students. Mnemonics helps to activate
nervous system functioning. Our brain
works very effectively to store any
complex information and it also activates
our nervous system to receive any type of
information. By using mnemonics, it
becomes easy to keep blood cells
functioning healthy.
• Less study, more score
• Crack your entrance exam
• Memorize a list of items
• Memorize long answers
• Memorize mathematical formulae
• Memorize account, economics formulae
• Live stress free life
• Memorize periodic table
• Memorizing history dates
• Sharpen your brain
In nursing and nursing education, syllabus
and content are so much that students are not
able to remember each and everything so
perfectly. In nursing education, curriculum
is very complex. More focus is on theory
part. There are so many traditional methods
that are used in nursing education to learn.
For example, demonstration method, role
play and lecture method, but still students
didn’t get benefit from it and not able to do
patient care properly and possibly loose
marks in examination. If memorization is the
doorway to all mental and physical
activities, it should be learnt in a systematic
manner. There are various techniques
through which this is possible. In clinical
area, mnemonics can also be helpful.
Various steps of nursing procedures can be
easily remembered with mnemonics.
IJNSPR (2019) 19–25 © JournalsPub 2019. All Rights Reserved
Page 22
International Journal of Nursing Science Practice and Research
ISSN: 2455-6351 (Online)
Vol. 5: Issue 2
Mnemonics compiled all the symptoms in
one word which aids us to improve
memory. Mnemonics are some of the best
memory techniques which make the
process of memorization interesting and
effective. These are methods in which any
given information can be memorized using
principles of organization, attention,
association and visualization. So there is a
need to conduct the study how mnemonics
can be useful for students to learn subject
matter. Mnemonics are used in the form of
keywords and peg words and many other
I (Inspection)
A (Auscultation) AM A
P (Percussion)
P (Palpation)
D Disordered thinking
E Euphoria/Emotions
L Language ability impaired
I Illusions, delusions & hallucinations
R Reversal or sleep wake cycles
I Inattention/distractible
U Unaware/disoriented
M Memory deficits
Teacher can use systems of rhymes,
acronyms, diagrams or other techniques to
aid a person in recollecting names, dates,
facts, figures and more. Some persons may
also use mnemonics by intellectually
turning a list of words into a memorable
sentence or a mental image that
incorporates all of the words. There are so
many studies that have been conducted in
past to see the effects of mnemonics on
perceived memory of students.
D Diabetes
E Ethanol
M Medication
E Environmental
N Nutritional
T Trauma
I Infection and sepsis
A Alzheimer’s disease
adolescents and adults in learning new
information and other concepts. Image
mnemonics helps us to link our material
with an image to learn it more accurately.
In this article, we have only discussed
about mnemonics as the best technique to
improve memory of the students.
• If your students have some attention
problems, then make sure it. By using
these strategies, attention could be
improved. Because when we use
mnemonics in the form of images and
illustrations, it will catch attention of
the students more appropriately.
• Mnemonics improves the external
memory of students. Students can
practice mnemonics in writing manner.
A teacher can give assignment to
students and students would be able to
learn these strategies more effectively
and score good marks or grades during
• As we all know, mnemonics works
better when we connect this new
information with already learned
information. So, to make it more
meaningful, mnemonics could be
linked to the previous knowledge.
• Use picture mnemonics on the
overhead projector. Show some
IJNSPR (2019) 19–25 © JournalsPub 2019. All Rights Reserved
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Mnemonics and Nursing
pictures to the students related to their
content or students can also imagine
pictures in their mind if resources are
not available. For example, delusion of
grandiosity can be illustrated with the
help of a picture in which there can be
picture of God who is omnipotent.
If students would link their knowledge,
then it will be more helpful for them to
learn the content more efficiently and
effectively, despite repeating it again
and again.
Students remember information better
if they have practiced mnemonics more
frequently. It is the responsibility of
teacher to practice all mnemonics in
class during study hours.
1. Mnemonics will be helpful in studentcentered education. So there will be
many opportunities for students to use
their creative, imaginative and
intellectual ability.
2. These techniques will be more helpful
when teacher can rely on mnemonics
to make the learning of any content
matter more permanent because
teacher will also use his/her creative
3. Mnemonics can be applied to any topic
or any subject. It is not limited.
4. Mnemonics can be taught by anyone to
any age group.
5. School curriculum should include
mnemonics as they will assist the
students for processing the information
throughout their life.
In this article, we have concluded that
mnemonic techniques are very helpful for
the students who are in nursing field and it
also assist to retain long information by
making it easier and meaningful. But
lastly, we can say that it can be used in any
field or specialty.
Maheshwari and Kaur
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Cite this Article: S.K. Maheshwari, Prabhjot Kaur. Mnemonics and
Nursing. International Journal of Nursing Science Practice and
Research. 2019; 5(2): 19–25p.
IJNSPR (2019) 19–25 © JournalsPub 2019. All Rights Reserved
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