Making docs pay for bad handwriting?!?!

  1. So I am going home from work, and I am listening to the Dr. Dean Edell show. He brought up lots of topics...and I was like Okay..okay..I agree...oh yeah I agree..okay okay...then BOOM!

    He brought up, I think it was a southern state (had someone break suddenly in front of me..took my mind off the radio..LOL!), that is thinking of having Physicians pay a fine or legal action for 'chicken scratching' or very poor handwriting.

    Guess it came from pharamasists (go figure...I don't envy them having to try to read all that handwriting!), and a large lobby group for this state to make it happen. Then..okay I laughed and cheered...YES!!!!!! OH HECK YES!!!!!

    Then I stopped...oh crud...being real, I have to admit I see more than my fair share of RN handwriting I can't read (and on busy days...it can be MINE! EEEK!). If they do this for MD's..should they do it for us too?????

    Thoughts???????? OR funny stories too..I love those! LOL!

    Dr. Dean Edell said there was one case where an MD put in the order to put drops in patients right ear..so R ear....he said the Nurse put it in the patients "R-ear (rear)". Okay I find it hard to believe a nurse wouldn't question ear drops in someones rectum..but still...had to giggle (and said to myself...well if your writing was readable?!?!?!). LOL!!!!!!!!
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from TriageRN_34
    Dr. Dean Edell said there was one case where an MD put in the order to put drops in patients right ear..so R ear....he said the Nurse put it in the patients "R-ear (rear)". Okay I find it hard to believe a nurse wouldn't question ear drops in someones rectum..
    If it was Colace, I could understand the confusion, since I've seen it prescribed as an earwax softener as well as a stool softener....

    Maybe in that case, the problem was not so much the handwriting as it was the abbreviation.
  4. by   Antikigirl
    Well..I had to really giggle today...I have a doc that is the WORSE at handwriting..I can't tell you how many times I have to call and get a telephone order..or what I call translation...for his orders..the pharamacy is going nutty...we all can't read any of it!

    Today I had to call an oncall MD twice (man I hate that on weekends...uhgss!), and it was him both times...he is a sweet DOC..I mean really nice, listens so well...takes direction well (LOL!!!!!!!), and just a down right good guy...but I couldn't help but think 'thank goodness I am on the phone with him and writing telephone orders in my own hand...saves me two steps!" LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

    So hearing this broadcast really made me laugh..and I had a rough one today! (for those in LTC...4 falls within 15, 10 nurse notifications, and 2 out code three ambulance..and I am the ONLY nurse for all 160 of them...oh CALGON!!!!!!!!!!).
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    If i had a dime for every doctor's bad handwriting, i could pay off the federal deficit, and still buy a house.
  6. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I wouldn't wonder too much about ear drops up the rectum, considering some of the people i've met act like that's where their head is located lol.

    (Seriously, i would that ear drops rectally would sound strange, therefore question the order.)
  7. by   JnJTyson
    hehe..I work for a doc with TERRIBLE handwriting! I've gotten use to it, so
    I'm able to read it....but no one else can. Especially when we fax prescriptions and whatnot...

    I've gotten into the habit of just re-writing it when we have to fax. If he writes a prescription for a total body radioactive iodine scan (he's an endocrinologist)...he writes it all out on a prescription, I tape it to a blank sheet of paper and write: the pts name, dob, contact numbers and then
    "please contact pt to schedule a whole body radioactive iodine scan to r/o thyroid ca mets. DX code XXX.X...its already on the RX...but it just saves time.

    Takes a bit of extra time..but frankly, when the hospital calls me 2 days later and I have to pull the chart and read it back to them, it actually takes more time!!

    Good luck with the other docs!! =0)
  8. by   RNview
    [QUOTE=Marie_LPN]I wouldn't wonder too much about ear drops up the rectum, considering some of the people i've met act like that's where their head is located lol.[QUOTE]
    LOL :chuckle :chuckle You're funny.

    Anyway, Poor handwriting is a trade mark of the doctors. I wonder if they intentionaly do it. Sometimes they complain about slow and poor nursing care, but guess where it originates? If they make their handwriting readable, nurses wouldn't spend so much time trying to understand their orders. And they wouldn't be bothered, plus, nurses would have spent more time with bedside nursing.
  9. by   happthearts
    One of the worst I ever saw was when I saw a MD had wrote Hot water ennemas till clear on a comatose PT. Doc was from another country and insited his order was right could hardly read it as well .Showed it to the super and she said don't do it I will deal with the Doc. OUCH!
  10. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    I've worked with the hen scratch and neat writing from DRs.

    One I used to work for, and is actually stilly my family's DR has the neatest handwriting. Even my 13 year old comments on how she thinks his handwriting is cool lol


    As for getting a fine for it....they would need to fine nurses and instructors as well......LOL
  11. by   pmchap
    They must take a course in how to 'chicken scratch' during their long stints at uni. The interns seem to be great and easily readable - as soon as the get the letters VMO they adopt really bad habits. I am currently educating my students that - if you can't read it then get it rewritten - something that is creating a bit of tension in the wards I cover. Most RN's learn to decipher what the doctor meant (ie I can't really read it - but I know the patient and this is probably what the doc meant). During my training I went from running writing to printing - purely so that my writing was legible.

    I have had Doctors try and decipher thier own comments with know success.

    We have currently implemented a list of approved perscibing abbreviations for doctors to use so that there is a reduction in the confusion that takes place. (we have docs from pretty well ever country on earth and some locums are only on site for a couple of weeks).

    I hope this is as clear as mud for everyone -
    One last comment - bring back capital block letters.....

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