It is not that the handwriting is always illegible, but the name of the medication may not be familiar to us and the directions are usually written in Latin abbreviations. For instance, if you are to take one pill four times a day after meals and at bedtime with water the directions might say
i quid ac,hs w aqua
Their signatures are a whole different story. I think lawyers are worse than doctors. They sign so many documents that their signature is little more than a scribble in many cases.
I have one doctor who has per-printted prescription pads with the medication and basic instructions already printed. He just fills in the dosage, the number of bills to be take and then signs it.
OK, a funny ( i hope ) answer.
so that if they make a mistake with the medicine, there is No way you can ever tell
I say not all of them are, I have relatives who write prescription very nice to read. One reason is that when you studied in medical school and you usually write notes on what you hear and since talking is much faster than writing so your hand needs to catch up so what happens is that the bad handwriting you got from school you carry on after school.
I agree with you on this issue. I believe they are either in a hurry or they are just trying to look special so that only they can decipher their prescriptions. It inspires awe in the client.
Because they have to write and sign so many documents - writing and signing the same thing over and over again makes people lazy! Plus they are under pressure to work quickly - at around 12 minutes for a consulation, examination, writing prescription/tests, etc., the least important part is done as quickly and roughly as possible (writing).
The university I taught at had the policy of signing every single page when marking assignments/exams. Signing well over 10,000 pages per semester, made my signature deteriorate to a quick illegible scribble!
I think it's from writing so much during college. I didn't study medicine. I studied music, but I had to take so many notes and study so much for those Music History tests and writing orchestral scores and arrangements that I ended up messing up my handwriting for good. I don't make what a doctor makes, but I write like a doctor.
Time is a valuable thing. When patients are scheduled/rounded on so quickly, it leaves very little time to document. Caregivers want to give the patient as much time that they can, while managing their time to see all of their patients. This may leave very time to really sit down and write cleanly, as much as it is desired. For instance, doing a medical history, a physical assessment, and the assessment and plan for a patient documentation can take a lot of writing and time. What ends up happening is that they end up writing to fast and haphazardly which causes illegibility. I deal with it everyday as I dig through charts, it is a headache, but as a I watch a physician taking care of several floors of patients, I know its alot to get through.
To fix this problem we need to find a solution to either increase efficiency or an easier way to document. I think electronic is paving the path for this. Its easier at times to do e-prescribing or transcription, and its much more legible and leads to less confusion about what was written. However, this depends on institutions and their overall implementation. As time goes on, I think this will improve.
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