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WHY DO DOCTORS HAVE SUCH BAD HANDWRITING?

WHY DO DOCTORS HAVE SUCH BAD HANDWRITING?
Many people think most docs have atrocious handwriting. Why? Did they always have this condition?
Do they teach it in medical and dental school? Being a dentist, I think I know the answer.

Firstly doctors do not have bad handwriting, they just choose to write badly. This is not a conscious decision to confuse people, but an unintentional consequence of viewing other things as more important or urgent in the moment. These are the same people who have developed fine motor skills for precise surgical procedures. They CAN move a pen and write well.

Why? From personal experience, I have three writing styles. One is artistic and legible, the second is legible but occasionally a little more messy, and finally I have the doctor chicken scratch. Why do I "choose" to write messily? Like I mentioned above, we may be in a time crunch, usually not rushed, but mentally, writing takes on less importance than other things going on at the time. Even if we are not in a hurry, we immediately place the importance of a legible signature, etc. below that of a patient's time, the patient waiting in the next room and the much more important (to us at the time) of putting all our energy into diagnosis and treatment concerns.

As an aside, in the past there was a certain shorthand used for prescriptions that would mean, say three teaspoons that would be just a squiggle that the pharmacist would understand. These days it is still important the pharmacist and other health care professionals understand orders, prescriptions and notes. Thank goodness for the development of paperless solutions and computers. Oh, and spell check too!

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