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How to chart location of fingers?

Nurses   (64,332 Views | 9 Replies)

agldragonRN has 5 years experience and specializes in Wound Care, LTC, Sub-Acute, Vents.

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Hi folks,

I had a discussion with one of my coworker's today because she charted "bruise to right 4th finger tip noted". I took it as having a bruise on the right ring finger tip but she said the 4th finger is the pinky.

I know this is like basic nursing 101 but I learned to call and chart the index finger as the 2nd finger, middle finger as the 3rd, ring finger as the 4th, and pinky as the 5th finger. I also call the toes in the same order.

Which one is correct?

Thanks!

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iluvivt has 32 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion.

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The thumb has 2 phalanges and the fingers have 3. They are all considered digits. So the thumb is considered a finger for the most part. We have 10 fingers and not 8 fingers and 2 thumbs. To get around the charting you could say the 4th finger with thumb being counted as number 1 or as the thumb not being counted, There is no doubt the thumb is a bit different. I tend not to count it as a finger and just use the terms first finger,middle finger,ring finger,baby finger.

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KelRN215 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pedi.

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If I read 4th finger, I'd think the ring finger.

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agldragonRN has 5 years experience and specializes in Wound Care, LTC, Sub-Acute, Vents.

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If I read 4th finger, I'd think the ring finger.

That's how I have always taken it and I chart same way too but I want to be sure I am charting it correctly.

I googled it and both seems to be correct. But wikipedia seems to agree with my coworker-4th finger is the pinky.

This is basic anatomy and I am surprised I did not know the 4th finger is the pinky! I won't chart with numbers anymore and just use thumb, index, middle, ring, and little finger.

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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According to my Nursing Textbook (from a while back) we have 8 fingers, or 10 digits. The fourth finger is the pinky (first is the index finger. However, the 4th finger is the same as the 5th digit, google seems to agree.

To avoid confusion I use the "little piggy" system (laceration to the tip of the little piggy that went to market).

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agldragonRN has 5 years experience and specializes in Wound Care, LTC, Sub-Acute, Vents.

1,547 Posts; 14,061 Profile Views

The thumb has 2 phalanges and the fingers have 3. They are all considered digits. So the thumb is considered a finger for the most part. We have 10 fingers and not 8 fingers and 2 thumbs. To get around the charting you could say the 4th finger with thumb being counted as number 1 or as the thumb not being counted, There is no doubt the thumb is a bit different. I tend not to count it as a finger and just use the terms first finger,middle finger,ring finger,baby finger.

Thanks for the refresher. Yup I know the phalanges: proximal, medial, and distal. Thumb only has proximal and distal phalanges.

But my question is how did you learn it? If you read the charting "4th finger", would you think of ring or little finger?

Thanks.

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agldragonRN has 5 years experience and specializes in Wound Care, LTC, Sub-Acute, Vents.

1,547 Posts; 14,061 Profile Views

According to my Nursing Textbook (from a while back) we have 8 fingers, or 10 digits. The fourth finger is the pinky (first is the index finger. However, the 4th finger is the same as the 5th digit, google seems to agree.

To avoid confusion I use the "little piggy" system (laceration to the tip of the little piggy that went to market).

Wow 8 fingers only? That is new to me but oh well I learn something new everyday. I will start using your system.

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edmia has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency, ICU.

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I would use the word "digit" instead of finger to avoid confusion. But yes, without thinking about the semantics, 4th finger would conjure up an image of the 4th digit aka ring finger.

Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

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One of my early nsg instructors advised that when in doubt about charting something, we should be as descriptive as poss so as to avoid confusion. Even if this meant not not using "medical jargon' if you were concerned or couldn't find the right word. She felt accuracy with clear understanding was paramount.

To this end, I've always used "thumb, pointer, middle, ring and pinky" finger for description. No confusion.

"Big toe, second toe, middle toe, fourth toe, and little toe".

And left or right.

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Remember your anatomical position, that would be palms up thumbs pointing out. The thumb is called the pollux, but it is still a finger. If you cut your pointer finger on your right hand you would chart laceration to the right #2 finger.

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