Drs. handwriting - Can you read it well?

  1. Hi. I was just wondering how you deal with not being able to read a drs. handwriting, because even though I am not a nurse, a lot of times I cannot read the Prescriptions that my drs. write out, therefore I wonder how nurses deal with this? When you have to go back to the dr. to ask questions, are they usually nice or do they act like you should have been able to read it?
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  2. 31 Comments

  3. by   LauraF, RN
    I took a class in hyrogliphics.:roll
    Honestly I have never had a doctor get angry when asking for clarification. I think they would rather have their patients get the correct meds, then having us translate it wrong. The doctors I used to work with would rattle off what they were writing as orders, sometimes they would say one thing and write another, and then I could stop them before they left the floor. If your on the same floor with the same doctors you get used to their writing. Plus my penmanship is awful!
  4. by   Helori
    Major problem on our floor as we are a teaching hospital with many clerks, interns, residents, and consultants. So we never really have a chance to get used to anybodys writing. Most of the time they will type the progress notes which is great but as for orders if I can't read them I can't process them! And hey, if they get uspest with me calling to clarify the order because of their messy handwriting, well tough. Maybe then they will print legibally in the future! Now there's a thought!!! :chuckle

    Almost as annoying as bad writing is doctors that will write an order with no date, no time, no signature and then leave lying around wherever they happened to be charting without flagging it. Then they come back the next day and wonder why nothing's been done.
  5. by   jenac
    There have been many, many times we've had to call and clarify orders for lack of readability! I've even gone so far as to fax the order over to have it "translated".
    I'd rather get chewed out for asking than writting a wrong order any day.
  6. by   mario_ragucci
    One day, yule think back on these times of bad handwriting by doctors as "the good old days" because once they start to introduce the pull down note book style information terminals. It will have an impact on the time it takes to process an order or to, get things done. I am afraid of my interpretations of far out handwritings, but there are only so many things a doctor can write on an order. Doctor can't start writing about a football game as he is prescribing lovonox, right?
    Thank of these as the good old days, because they are, in my opinion.
  7. by   Team HPNI
    Legibility remains a major concern. Our corrective actions include:

    -- Legislating compliance (we created a policy mandating legibility)
    -- Education (reminding them that legibility is mandatory)
    -- Monitoring (identifying problem individuals and working with them to achieve acceptable compliance)

    Persistence is the ultimate weapon.
  8. by   Agnus
    Ask for clarification. If you do this enough something magical happens. They start taking care with their handwriting. If they seem upset that you asked it is not your fault. They know that.

    Any docotor worth his/her salt will want you to ask rather than make an error.

    I don't recall having a problem because I asked after not being able to read an order.

    Gusessing is not wise. Too many drugs and such have simular names and spellings. If you can read an order and it doesn't make sense ask. They do make mistakes.
  9. by   ageless
    ....also prescriptions are witten in apothecary style so perhaps some of the symbols may also throw one a curve ball if one has never been exposed to pharmacology..............
  10. by   HoJo
    Haven't had to for a while, where I work we have a complete computerized system, but we still call them for clarifications sometimes when need be.
  11. by   altomga
    Oh, but it is sooo much fun translating the md's writing. with one doc at my facility it used to be a game on who could figure the orders out the fastest....too bad that this doc has switched to all printed out orders, progress notes now LOL Really, we call the doctor to clarify and even sometimes the pharmacy can help us out with the meds. Never gotten chewed out for it
  12. by   ScarlettRN
    I guess if you work in a pharmacy, it is harder to decipher a script the way we can based on the diagnosis and the context of the order.
  13. by   ShelleyERgirl
    I work in an internal medicine office with a doctor who has quite possibly the worst handwriting in the free world! I think he was an ancient Egyptian in a past life We constantly have to ask him for translation on his scripts not to mention his progress notes that his IF he remembers to document everything. This man has got to be the most disorganized man ever, sometimes we are amazed he ever made it through med school. One thing I can say is that he doesn't get mad, I think he is used to it at this point.
  14. by   niteshiftnurse
    I have had times that "no one" can read the hand writing, not even the people in the pharmacy. I have even had to hold the order upto the ceiling lights and read it backwards. As a rule, when I call for clarification, they are nice, but did have to call a doc who was very rude. At that point, I wrote an incident report and made a copy of the order and guess what............when it was given to the doc, he couldn't read it either. will be glad when we get computerized orders

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