Day 3 Communicate clearly

It is well known that doctors are not usually great communicators verbally, and even worse at the written form of communication. I know, I know. Writing is hard for us doctors. But 10-year-olds can do it, so it shouldn’t be that hard. I’ve been asked many times to decipher some doctor’s writings, and it’s difficult. Messages get lost, orders get misinterpreted, and much time is wasted on clarifying information. Much of medical errors in hospitals often occur at the communication level, both verbal and written. Since communication is essential in team work and patient care, as doctors, we should respect our colleagues and patients by making an intentional effort to communicate clearly, both in verbal and written form. Progress notes, operation records and request slips are places where we can better our writing. Ward rounds, emergency departments and multidisciplinary team meetings are places where we can sharpen our verbal skills. Work hard today to be succinct, legible and clear.

@nursenerdy compassion and clearer, client-specific/centered communication!


5 thoughts on “Day 3 Communicate clearly

  1. TTBA(v)JD

    I can definitely support this one! We spend too much time trying to decipher people’s handwriting!!
    I’ve felt the repurcussions of this as a patient too: a few years ago I had a “laparoscopy +/- proceed” i.e. we’ll see what it looks like when we get in there, do what we need to do, and tell you afterwards. Except the surgeon didn’t come and see me afterwards, and none of the other doctors could read his handwriting, so no one could tell me what they found or what they did, or what surgical interventions took place. I didn’t find out until my clinic appointment with the surgeon 3 months later. I wouldn’t have had the 3 months of wondering if he’d had better handwriting!

    1. Otorhinolarydoc

      interesting story. brings home the point indeed.

  2. Mark

    Great list so far thanks, you might be struggling by about the 20th

    We should all be digitised now, handwriting is a thing of the past, we really should be asking why we are using paper and pen for communication

    1. Otorhinolarydoc

      thanks. you;ll be surprised. I’ve drawn up the topics till the 31st jan already. I agree we should be digitised. but many hospital computers are not well supported with good platforms, etc. sometimes they slow us down, and paper is still quicker and more reliable. sometimes.

  3. Liz

    I agree with Oto on this one, ESP in the current hospital in Vic where I work in. Not only are the computer systems here old and archaic, the IT department and HR management are so tied up in red tape & bureaucracy that it’s just simply much faster & easier to use good old’ pen & paper:)

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