MD's professional handwriting skills

  1. Have you ever wondered if physicians took a special course in handwriting skills???? I have. Many times I would get orders to copy onto the mars that were grossly illegible. My co-workers and I would pass the orders around trying to figure them out. Sometimes just tilting the paper to the left would reveal the answers. Sometimes turning it completely upside down would make the whole sentence clear. Am I the only nurse with this problem? or are there others? It is fun at times to make your own coclusions:trout:
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    About hppynurse2

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 4
    Long term Psychiatric
    Specialty: home health, psychiatric

    34 Comments

  3. by   peds4now
    Nurses do it too in their notes. I seriously think it may be an unconscious move to avoid responsibility for what is written. In effect, the nurse or unit secretary composes the orders to be things they consider to be within the range of normal, because they are in fact illegible.
  4. by   meownsmile
    I think we all have our share of ciferin that has to go on when it comes to some docs. We laugh about the first class in medical school being Illegable Handwriting 101.
    Anyway,, we do fax those illegable orders to their office for them to rewrite, or we sometimes catch them before they leave the floor and ask them to decifer it and we rewrite it as a VO and have them sign it right then.
    I think in some cases there is some of what schooldays mentioned in that they THINK it makes them not as responsible somehow if people have difficulty reading their orders. Either way,, its unacceptable to have handwriting that takes 6 people to figure out what was written.
    I cant wait until we go to computer order system for the docs. They have to enter their own orders and they WILL be legable. IF it works like they say its supposed to it will be a godsend for those of us who struggle with those orders.
    We have been known to write up incident reports and send to the QA. We keep hearing that if there are complaints they will have to counsel the doc. But havent heard that they have yet. So we keep writin it up.
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    I think it is simply that we all write so much we end up being lazy about our handwriting. I know my signature is unreadable at times.

    Also boys have worse handwriting skills than girls. My #2 son had many interventions for his illegible handwriting - even an expert or two. Finally one of them said "get him on a computer".

    steph
  6. by   jill48
    I think it's because we are doing everything rushed and that is how the handwriting looks when we do it too fast. I once had a new manager bring me into her office with the narc book and accuse me of making my signature sloppy on purpose (I think she was trying to accuse me of diverting, or preparing to divert?). After the smoke stopped coming from my ears:angryfire , I went and got as many patient charts as I could carry and showed her my signature looks exactly the same in the charts. I explained to her that I move in two modes, fast and faster, and that is just how my signature looks. Never had a problem with her again .
  7. by   caroladybelle
    Quote from stevielynn

    Also boys have worse handwriting skills than girls. My #2 son had many interventions for his illegible handwriting - even an expert or two. Finally one of them said "get him on a computer".
    And that will improve his handwriting how?

    Yes, there are plenty of things one can do by computer, but one still has to write some in most career fields.

    And the only way to improve is to practice.
  8. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from caroladybelle
    And that will improve his handwriting how?

    Yes, there are plenty of things one can do by computer, but one still has to write some in most career fields.

    And the only way to improve is to practice.
    The handwriting expert worked with him for a year and he got alot of practice. In fact my kids went to private school where they learned penmanship, which wasn't taught much in the public school. He had to redo homework every single day. He can write - it just isn't pretty. And the reason for getting him on a computer is that the frustration level for my son with the handwriting issue was just too much and the teacher felt we were focusing on a small issue and that had a negative effect on everything else.

    Getting him to learn to type was a godsend. He is a good writer and got good grades in English. He is 22 now and still remembers that year and how much he hated school. I'd rather get him on a computer and liking school again.

    Most of the men I know do not have very legible writing - some of the smartest guys I know.

    As for me at the end of my shift today - my signature was looking really sloppy.

    steph
  9. by   ginger58
    I think every order that can't be read easily should be faxed to the director of medical staff. If they can't write clearly then they should be made to print. I don't how much time I've wasted trying to read orders, as well as asking others to help decipher!
  10. by   I_am_Julia
    i think there's a secret class that they take called "bad handwriting to make medical staff nuts".

    i've never understood why "they" think it's necessary to write so poorly.


    Quote from hppynurse2
    have you ever wondered if physicians took a special course in handwriting skills???? i have. many times i would get orders to copy onto the mars that were grossly illegible. my co-workers and i would pass the orders around trying to figure them out. sometimes just tilting the paper to the left would reveal the answers. sometimes turning it completely upside down would make the whole sentence clear. am i the only nurse with this problem? or are there others? it is fun at times to make your own coclusions:trout:
  11. by   bethem
    Quote from i_am_julia
    i think there's a secret class that they take called "bad handwriting to make medical staff nuts".

    i've never understood why "they" think it's necessary to write so poorly.
    to derail a little, i think the docs must also take classes called "the phone: ignoring it when it rings". they sit at the station, right in front of the phones, and completely ignore the ringing. never mind the fact that i have to climb over them to answer it.
    i cannot ignore a ringing phone, no matter how hard i try.
  12. by   Roy Fokker
    There are a couple of docs and surgeons on my floor who really need to be sat down and talked to about their pathetic handwriting.

    Many of the docs do fine - I'm actually more irritated by their lack of "signing" off on their orders than the sloppy handwriting.

    And there are some surgeons who are very meticulous and neat.

    Of the nurses on my floor, there is only one other nurse whose handwriting I can read 110% every time - and it happens to be a guy (combat veteran. Served in Gulf I and II). Most of the nurses do fine - there is one senior nurse whose handwriting I can't read at all and makes it difficult during chart check time.

    The only thing "confusing" about my handwriting is not that it is illegible, but I write in cursive form. Many of the nurses on the floor are not used to it - but they aren't used to male nurses on the floor either

    Quote from stevielynn
    Also boys have worse handwriting skills than girls.
    There's a generalisation if I ever saw one.

    What's next? "Girls are smarter than boys" ?


    cheers,
    Last edit by Roy Fokker on Mar 17, '07
  13. by   samaletta
    I think it's very arrogant and dangerous. I too cannot wait to go to the computerized orders....may be a few years though.
  14. by   rita359
    Touching on a pet peeve of mine. Also can't figure why drs think some shorthand symbol for their name suffices. If another doc asks me who wrote a particular order, unless a secretary who is familiar with the doc knows the signature, I don't have a clue. I think the medical staff people should issue doctors a stamp of their typed name which would have to be used under their signature on all written orders etc.

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