Jargon buster

A guide to some of the terms used within the NHS

Named nurse

The nurse with special responsibility for you when you are in hospital.  He/she will work closely with you and your consultant to design your care plan and review its progress.  Also known as a primary nurse.

National Health Service (NHS)

The National Health Service was set up in 1948 to provide healthcare for everyone in the United Kingdom, based on need, not the ability to pay. It is made up of a wide range of health professionals, support workers and health care organisations.


The specific area of biology that studies the nervous system (which includes the nerves, spinal cord and brain).


Neurodegeneration is what happens when the cells of the brain and spinal cord deteriorate and are eventually lost. Neurodegenerative diseases include dementia and Alzheimer's, which affect a person's memories.


Neuroimaging maps and graphically depicts the structure and function of the brain. It falls into two broad categories: structural and functional imaging. Structural imaging deals with the structure of the brain and the diagnosis of large scale brain disease such as tumours or injury. Functional imaging is used to diagnose metabolic diseases on a finer scale (such as Alzheimer's disease) and for neurological and cognitive psychology research.


Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system and is at the frontier of investigation of the brain and mind. The study of the brain is becoming the key to understanding how we perceive and interact with the external world; and how human experience and biology influence each other.

NHS Trust

A legal organisation providing health and social care services within the NHS.

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