Thursday, September 1, 2011

Evolution of my handwriting

Now I have made fun of doctor handwriting on several occasions such as in this post many moons ago. However, now I will turn the spotlight squarely on myself and make fun of my own handwriting.

I don't think I ever had awful penmanship, but I do recall thinking when I was around 8 or 9 that my handwriting was too babyish and I had to step it up a bit to be cool. Because, as we all know, the key to being cool is having cool handwriting. Anyway, the way I remedied this was to give certain letters a little curl at the end. For example:

Cool, right? You'd totally want to come to my sleepover, right?

I later made further modifications to increase the coolness of my handwriting, such as changing my y's, g's, etc., from the very lame:

To the much more fashionable:

Then a year later, I decided all these flourishes were lame and had to train myself to stop doing them.

When I was in middle school, I started writing in script all the time, mostly because one of my teachers required it. God knows why a teacher would bring something like that upon himself. There are all these sayings about how you finally are an adult when you go to college, have your first kiss, get your first period, etc. But I think you are an adult when you stop writing script r's like this:

And start writing them like this:

I have to say, I do sometimes meet adults who write their r's in the former fashion, and I always secretly wonder if they have their pubes.

I kept on using script pretty much all through college, then in med school I switched back to print. Mostly because the only way I could stand to take infinite notes was to attempt to make them look pretty. (I also used a multi-color pen. Yes, this was a low point in my life.)

Eventually, after printing enough, my print evolved into that mixture of print and script that I like to call "scrint."

I actually think I have pretty readable handwriting. I've never gotten called by a nurse or pharmacy who couldn't make out an order I wrote. But I remember in residency, I handed out this handwritten cheat sheet to the junior residents and one of them complained about my handwriting. (Actually, what he said was, "Dr. Smith says she can't read my handwriting, but look how bad this is!")

Fortunately, I have saved a copy of that cheat sheet and I can provide a sample for your perusal:

(Bonus points if you can figure out what the cheat sheet was for. Dr. Grumpy is excluded.)

Anyway, I think I have totally readable handwriting and that junior resident was full of shit.


  1. Adductor digiti minimi spasm?

    I always got "f's" in coloring and penmanship. Your scrint >>> my scribble


    Oh, sorry, I forgot you said I'm excluded.

  3. Your writing is very legibile.

    In Primary school, around the age of 7 I was taught to write script. I never bothered to revert back to print, and gradually through the years my script has deteriorated so many people complain about my hand writing.

    Now my r's are like a normal r but with a line going to it. z is another letter they taught really strangely in script.

    Now if I ever write in print (such as Kardex prescribing), it looks like a 6 year old wrote it as my print has never advanced beyond that level.

  4. Incredibly legible.

    I miss my maiden name only because I had such an awesome signature for it. My capital As look like stars.

  5. My teachers started complaining about my handwriting when I was in FIRST GRADE. My 'r' looked like a 'v'. Not sure what that indicates for my maturity.

    I spent 7 years reading police handwriting, and the last 15 reading physician and pharmacist handwriting. Trust me, yours is VERY legible.

  6. We would be thrilled to have you write orders on our floor. I love it when we get the new residents in every year, because they haven't had the good penmanship jaded right out of them, and they still have the stampers with their pager # on them. It's a breath of fresh air compared to the crusty onco docs who lean back and write orders with their feet (sometimes I think they do it in a foreign language too, just to keep us sharp).

  7. Your writing is phenomenal, really.
    We were all required to use script and I've always found it faster, and was actually very legible with it, if aesthetically unpleasing. But then I started residency and my script has taken about 2 months to turn into a long wiggly line no matter what I write. And we're all this bad, so the trauma nurses actually have a rule that they hammer into each new-coming resident's head: ALL ORDERS MUST BE WRITTEN IN CAPITAL PRINT LETTERS, LIKE SO. Break this rule, and you WILL rewrite all your orders, no mercy given. But, of course, it was necessary... I don't think I've seen a single doc at my hospital write as legibly as you, or even anywhere near it.

    As for the cheat sheet... I'd say it's electrode positions for some type or other of electrophysiologic testing of the ulnar area of the hand.

  8. When I transcribe orders at work, it's like translating the Rosetta Stone. "Ok, I think this is an D because that definitely says Diet there... Distention? Discontinue? Ditropan?... what's the next word? argghh!!" My job would be so much easier if they could write as well as you do.

  9. Looks like an ulnar nerve motor study. Your handwriting is pretty good--better than most attendings I've had so far (except for one surgical oncologist whose handwriting was amazing).

  10. Is the cheat sheet for an ulnar nerve conduction study?

  11. Holy cow, your handwriting is almost exactly like mine! I do the same thing, mixing script and print. Wow!

  12. rem6775 got it... it's for an NCS of the ulnar motor nerve. I thought it was pretty nice of me to make up the sheet, and sort of lame that the one junior resident complained.

  13. It is honestly the best handwriting I've seen from an attending in my life! That person was obviously living in some sort of utopian handwriting bubble! They would definitely pass out if they saw my handwriting. Thank my lucky stars for EMR!

  14. ya i'd agree its an ulnar nerve study as well.