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Atreyu
04-08-2002, 05:27 AM
On some job listing websites, I see the letters "PRN" used sometimes when referring to the status or type of job. I feel like a tremendous idiot for asking this, but can anyone explain to me what this means? I'm usually good at figuring out acronyms, but for the life of me I can't figure this one out.

Ice Wolf
04-08-2002, 05:37 AM
If the jobs are in the nursing field, the following could be an option:


PRN positions: Acronym stands for Latin word, "pro re nata," which translates to "as the situation demands." Staff in PRN positions work on an "as needed basis." PRN positions are budgeted positions; however, are considered "temporary employment." Consistent with temporary positions, staff in PRN positions are not eligible for most employment benefits, do not have access to performance improvement counseling or grievance resolution procedures.


From this site. (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/HRS/policies/recruitandhire.html)

kuroashi
04-08-2002, 07:13 AM
"Probably Really Nonsensical"

Atreyu
04-08-2002, 07:54 AM
Ah. I'm not looking for nursing positions, but I am looking for a job in the healthcare field.

But not a PRN job...I'll need a more steady income than that. Right now the most interesting job opening is in the Minneapolis metro area, a place I know little about except that it's cold and the people are generally OK.

Thanks for the assist, Ice Wolf.

friedo
04-08-2002, 08:06 AM
Nitpick: An acronym is an abreviation which you pronounce like a word, such as "SCUBA" or "NASA." An abbreviation which you don't pronounce as a word, like "PRN" or "SDMB" is an abbreviation.

I have no idea WTF "PRN" means though.

OneChance
04-08-2002, 08:15 AM
friedo, I don't think that's right. Check any dictionary for the definition of abbreviation and acronym.

Atreyu
04-08-2002, 08:20 AM
Actually, friedo was right about what an acronym is (http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=acronym), and I stand corrected on my misuse of the term in the OP.

OneChance
04-08-2002, 08:29 AM
Atreyu, the link you provided mentions nothing to back up friedo's claims. In fact, if you click on that page's link to TLA, it gives examples of some acronyms, such as NNTP, FTP, and SCCS. How are those pronounced as words?

Balor
04-08-2002, 09:33 AM
It is a pity that more people don't study Latin and ancient Greek today. Long ago when the world was young, I studied them, and it enriched my understanding of the English language. It makes sense of a lot of technical words and phrases.

1. PRN in this context is probably an abbreviation for "pro re nata". In Latin this means "for the business born" - that is for an occasion as it arises. Over here, we would probably call this a contract job or temp (temporary) job, as opposed to a permanent employee.

2. As you know from your ancient Greek studies, acronym means a name based on initials. The "acro" bit means "top" or "tip" i.e. the initials. The "onym" bit means name.

So, strictly an acronym must be a name like NATO, MASH or radar, that you can say. By extension of the "acro" part, I suppose Gestapo is also an acronym, although it uses more than one initial letter from the original German words.

If you don't say it as a word, an abbreviation is not an acronym. USA is not an acronym, because people say the letters U,S,A, and do not say Oosah.

friedo
04-08-2002, 11:49 AM
Originally posted by OneChance
friedo, I don't think that's right. Check any dictionary for the definition of abbreviation and acronym.

Well, I checked. Merriam Webster says:


Main Entry: ac·ro·nym
Pronunciation: 'a-kr&-"nim
Function: noun
Etymology: acr- + -onym
Date: 1943
: a word (as NATO, radar, or snafu) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term


And,


Main Entry: ab·bre·vi·a·tion
Pronunciation: &-"brE-vE-'A-sh&n
Function: noun
Date: 15th century
1 : the act or result of abbreviating : ABRIDGMENT
2 : a shortened form of a written word or phrase used in place of the whole <amt is an abbreviation for amount>


Granted, Merriam's definition for abbreviation does not exclude acronyms, so I will concede that acronyms are a subset of abbreviations. But it is clear that an acronym must be pronounced as if it were a word.

I realize this is one of those common-usage issues that I will probably lose soon, just like "irregardless" has become so common that it's actually in the dictionary now.

gazpacho
04-08-2002, 01:21 PM
Granted, Merriam's definition for abbreviation does not exclude acronyms, so I will concede that acronyms are a subset of abbreviations. But it is clear that an acronym must be pronounced as if it were a word.
Wow we read the same passage and get a different idea of the meaning. Your definition quoted for acronym said nothing about pronunciation.

GKW
04-08-2002, 02:17 PM
I have only heard of p.r.n. being used in writing prescriptions as in, 'take as needed'. I think it may have a different meaning when referring to law?

LorieSmurf
04-09-2002, 02:59 AM
I'm in the medical field, and PRN is an abbreviation for the aforementioned Latin, and basically means "as needed", like on a prescription "Lortab every 6 hours, prn" In a job description it would mean the same thing..The company would need you on a PRN basis: when needed, or where needed. (like the PRN nurse positions in my hospital will be scheduled on days where the staffing is short, or they'll go to another floor where the staffing is short that day)

Lorie

Is it just me, or are the smileys different colors today? And I still want Smashy back, dammit!

Ice Wolf
04-09-2002, 05:45 AM
Originally posted by SuperLorie

Is it just me, or are the smileys different colors today? And I still want Smashy back, dammit!

Yes, the smilies are back to Version 1.x. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=108043) And "bah!" to Smashie.