Different Pen colors

Nurses General Nursing


Ok I just started working in another facility and I have never heard about the use of a red pen or green or blue to mark off orders or write up notes. I have always been taught you always use black ink because of legal purposes, does anyone else use numerous colors on their charts??


Aneroo, LPN

1 Article; 1,518 Posts

Specializes in Cath Lab, OR, CPHN/SN, ER.

I only use black ink. Only time I've seen anything else used was in the Medex, they used a yellow highlighter to highlight discontinued meds.


1,577 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

I work in a hospital. We use black ink to write orders and red ink to "red line" the orders, meaning that they are entered in the computer system or "taken off" and are correctly entered as written. Sometimes our Unit Secretary uses blue ink to indicate that she has taken the orders off the chart.


875 Posts

In all hospitals I worked at all charting has been done in Black ink, but orders being takenn off by secretary or whomever, are usually checked off and initialled in red, thats because it is easier for us to see that it has been processed.

One MD I currently work with does wirte in blue ink. In alot of ways I think he is smart, theres no way for someone to just slide in an order--

MissJoRN, RN

414 Posts

We used to use the tricolor by shift charting when I worked in LTC. I think the reasons for discontinuing it were convenience, nurses getting confused during 12 hr shifts, and no real reason to continue. I don't think there ever was a legal issue, though. Sometimes I still come across one of those pens while cleaning up (just threw the remnants of one away this weekend!)

suzanne4, RN

26,410 Posts

When medcial records copies the records to microfiche, it copies better with just the black ink. Other colors do not copy in color. Red makes it easy on the staff to see when an order is signed off, etc. It does not copy as red when the file is saved.

allnurses Guide

Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN

11,302 Posts

We used to use red ink to note orders or put in allergies but stopped about 5 years ago and the policy is everything in black in now.


Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

Our floor nurses ( i say floor nurses, because they are the only ones that have this task) use a red pencil to sign off orders that they have read or entered in the computer, or as someone else called it "red lining".

Yellow highlighter with a red pencil line is used to signal a d/c'd med.

Black line through vitals means the vitals have been entered in the computer.


59 Posts

Specializes in Peds Heme/Onc.

We use red ink to write Allergies and that is it. Everything else is done in black ink. A yellow highligter is used to mark of d/c'd meds.


81 Posts

My LTC facility uses the 3 colors to indicate the shift the med needs passes on on the MAR. We only chart in black ink. We used to chart in colors,but it made it easy for State to see when an entry was missed.


421 Posts

Specializes in ICUs, Tele, etc..

Same thing with ours, plus the attendings sometimese use blue.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

Many years ago we used black or blue ink to chart day shift notes, green for the 3-11 nurses notes and red for the 11-7 nurses notes. Some places still use red ink to d/c meds on the med sheets. A lot of the nursing homes I've worked at use green and red inks to mark the times a medication is supposed to be given as a way of identifying the shift. This practice was stopped in most places because the early xerox and copy machines did not copy the green and red ink very well or not at all. In my early acute hospital years we noted and signed off doctor's orders using red ink.

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X