help decoding a prescription...

  1. i sure could use some help... i'm transcribing medical records for a pain management doctor and of course i can't read his writing. forget that i have no experience doing this but it's a great addition to my income and i'm figuring it all out.

    anyway... i need help... he's written out a "change of medication" that reads: percocet 5mg 1/2 tablet?? PO a circle with a dot in the middle, the number 8L? PNN. and i have no clue what it all means. from what i've figured out so far, he's prescribing percocet, 5mg, 1/2 tablet, by mouth, and the rest is foreign to me and i don't know if i've even got the mg right... it looks like a 5.

    can anyone help me with this????????
  2. Visit whosyourbadkitty profile page

    About whosyourbadkitty

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 7

    15 Comments

  3. by   Mimi2RN
    Quote from whosyourbadkitty
    i sure could use some help... i'm transcribing medical records for a pain management doctor and of course i can't read his writing. forget that i have no experience doing this but it's a great addition to my income and i'm figuring it all out.

    anyway... i need help... he's written out a "change of medication" that reads: percocet 5mg 1/2 tablet?? PO a circle with a dot in the middle, the number 8L? PNN. and i have no clue what it all means. from what i've figured out so far, he's prescribing percocet, 5mg, 1/2 tablet, by mouth, and the rest is foreign to me and i don't know if i've even got the mg right... it looks like a 5.

    can anyone help me with this????????
    PNN is probably PRN, which means as needed. The dosage and time should be clarified with the doc. He may get irritated, but you need to get it correct. It's best not to guess. Eventually, you'll get used to his lousy handwriting! You need a dosage, a time and a route for each med.
  4. by   whosyourbadkitty
    thanks so much mimi. he's actually quite nice and doesn't get the least bit irritated when i ask questions. i impressed him with the quality of my work so i started off on a great note with him. i've set that report aside and highlighted that entire area for clarification. that's definitely not something i can guess at, nor would i even try to slip that through... thanks again for your reply.

    do you happen to know of a web site i could check for a list of all the symbols used in prescriptions? that would be a huge help.
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    due to drug errors, great emphasis on avoiding abbreviations these days . do not guess anything from this docs handwriting. highlight and communicate issue in your and his best interest.




  6. by   MyReign1
    Could the circle with a dot be a Q, the 8L=8h, and the PNN = PRN?

    So it would say "Q 8h PRN" = "Every 8 hours as needed."

    Just a suggestion. Remember to clarify, though.
  7. by   UM Review RN
    I'd call and ask him to clarify. If you make an error transcribing....baaaaaaaaaaaaaaad things could happen.:uhoh21:
  8. by   whosyourbadkitty
    nrskarenrn... i can't thank you enough for providing those links. i've bookmarked one and printed the ismp's list so i can laminate it. i'll be turning in my reports on wednesday so i'll let you all know what the mystery prescription was... i think myreign may have guessed it.

    i really appreciate everyone's help with this, especially considering i'm not a nurse. i'm glad i found and bookmarked this site... keep an eye out for me, i may need you all again and if i can return the favor... just yell.
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    You might just want to print the ISMP list and attach to your paperwork too since the DO NOT ACCEPT abbreviations list all started due to handwriting issues.
  10. by   GPatty
    CALL THE DOC to clarify!
    Never "assume" what you don't know....he may get angry, but I'd rather deal with an angry doc than to know I potentially harmed a patient!

    (You'll get more used to his handwriting as time goes on.)
  11. by   whosyourbadkitty
    drum roll please...

    the doctor's prescription was supposed to be:

    "percocet 5mg tablet, taken by mouth, 8L as needed"

    now i don't know what the "8L" means but that's ok i suppose... as long as i correct the report as requested, i'm good.

    you all are such a great help! i'll be coming back PRN.
  12. by   MyReign1
    The order was incomplete, it does not have a time frame. What if she/he needs the percocet every hour. The doc probaly couldn't even read his own writing.
  13. by   whosyourbadkitty
    there's a time frame... he noted "PRN". she's also taking other meds... so maybe this one is just a back up or addition she can take if she needs to and not regularly. i guess that's why he's the doc and i'm just the transcriber i wouldn't be surprised if he couldn't read his own writing though... some of the edits he gave me were inconsistant so i'll point out the errors and if he's ok with leaving them as is, they're his reports... as long as i get paid, i'm happy.
  14. by   EricJRN
    PRN is not really a timeframe. It simply means 'as needed.' There's usually some guidance as to how often the med can be taken PRN. This is what the previous poster was getting at.

    As an example, Percocet 5 mg, 1 tab PO, q8h prn. In other words, take as needed, but not closer together than every 8 hours. (In fact, as the previous poster also said, I suspect that 8L is really supposed to be q8h, but again, it's really out of the scope of this website to offer such specific advice.)

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