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Ep29 Altered Mental Status (AEIOU TIPS)



Many patients experience Altered Mental Status (AMS).  There are many factors that can contribute to an alteration in a patients mental status and it’s important to know them.  This mnemonic will help you keep those causes in mind so you can quickly assess.  Remeber, as a nurse, our first job is to ASSESS, and this mnemonic provides you with a list of things to assess when your patient does have AMS.












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Podcast Transcription

Alright so this next mnemonic is to help you remember reasons why a patient might be presenting with Altered Mental Status. Me, being a neuro nurse, I am very quick to assume that any patient having altered mental status that has to do with what’s going on or with their brain. But, in reality, that is one of the many reasons that could cause altered mental status. So, this mnemonic is AEIOU TIPS. AEIOU TIPS. So, A stands for Alcohol and Drugs. So, obviously, that could really affect somebody’s mental status. E – Endocrine, lots of endocrine disease processes can affect the brain. I – Insulin, hyper, hypoglycemia. O – Overdose, overdosing on medications that are either prescribed or not prescribed or illegal drugs or something like that. Something to think about too is if you have a patient with like maybe poor memory, or something like that, they may forget that they have taken their meds that day and maybe they have taken, you know, for Centuroid in one day. Or, you know, or they have taken way too many Tylenol in a 24-hour period of time. Maybe they didn’t realize that their narco had Tylenol and they were taken a narco every 4 hours, 2 narcos every 4 hours and 2 Tylenols every 4 hours. So, that person can overdose on Tylenol and not even realize it. So, the O is for overdose, U is for Uremia, T is for Trauma, I is for Infection, P for Psychiatric, and S for Shock. So, there’s a lot of different things that can explain an altered mental status in a patient. And again, AEIOU TIPS. A – Alcohol, E – Endocrine, I – Insulin, O – Overdose, U – Uremia, T – Trauma, I – Infection, P – Psychiatric, and S – Shock.


This has been another episode of the nursing mnemonics podcast by NRSNG.com with your host, Katie Kleber, RN, CCRN. To grab all of our cheat sheets, head over to NRSNG.com/freebies. That’s NRSNG.com/freebies. Thank you so much for being here today. We love you guys. We thank you so much. We want to see you guys succeed. Listen, we’re all in this together. Now, go out and be your best self today. Happy Nursing.

Date Published - Jul 21, 2017
Date Modified - Jul 27, 2017

Jon Haws RN

Written by Jon Haws RN

Jon Haws RN began his nursing career at a Level I Trauma ICU in DFW working as a code team nurse, charge nurse, and preceptor. Frustrated with the nursing education process, Jon started NRSNG in 2014 with a desire to provide tools and confidence to nursing students around the globe. When he's not busting out content for NRSNG, Jon enjoys spending time with his two kids and wife.