Today I was counciled for using blue ink to chart with...normally I do use black but I used what was on hand and what was working at the time. I was told that you have to use black for legal documents since other colors will not copy well.
Now I do not remember ever hearing that it was a legal requirement to use black...only the custom. Black is for charting, red is for chart checks etc.
I decided to research the issue more and I have not found anywhere that there is actually legislation that requires black, only some institutions require it by policy. In fact I have read that the growing legal trend is to require non black ink for signing and filling out legal documents to differentiate between originals and copies. Black is seen as more formal where colors are considered more secure.
So what colors do you use and for which purpose? Is is only customary, policy, or is there actually a legal requirement to use certain colors? Does it REALLY matter what color a Nurse uses???
Aug 26, '09
When I started at a long term care facility, the policy was for each shift to use a color unique to that shift: red for night, green for PM, and black for days. Told that was common (back then). While in the middle of a horrendous inspection by the state, we were given the sudden mandate to change to everyone chart in black. Reason: the State inspectors were finding plenty of skeletons to pursue by reading revealing charting (accurate and thorough as it may have been) that stood out because of the color. I have always remembered that situation, although it was not very humorous at the time. Worked at another employer where some nurses insisted on charting with blue pen to annoy management because the policy book said "black or blue" ink and nobody had bothered to change it. I would think it was rather stupid to have to redo charting because I was trying to make somebody else look foolish. Just do what they tell ya to do, that's the policy.
Last edit by caliotter3 on Aug 26, '09