Report Writing

Grammar and spelling errors, wrongly capitalizing generic medications, poor report organization, etc. are all indicator of a neophyte report writer. And, it reduces our credibility. What, and how you, write is representative of Limbic Resources, Inc. and you, who sign the report.

Our referents, mostly primary care providers, neurologists and psychiatrists are all well educated and many of them are from other countries (we do not produce only enough MDs to fill all residencies, so we import many foreign doctors). These folks tend to pride themselves on their facility with the English language, especially when it is their second (or third or forth) language.

For example, a chief psychiatrist, for whom Jerry worked for of many years in psychiatric inpatient units wrote his consult notes using a $200 calligraphy pen. He went to the best medical school in the Philippines, where English was used rather than his native Filipino language (Tagalog). Imagine speaking Mandarin or Hindi as your native language and then going to college and medical school where everything was taught in English. Still, there were no spelling or grammar errors in the psychiatrist's handwritten consult notes, not ever, and his language was careful and eloquent. Rather than seeming arrogant, the other doctors for whom he consulted considered this a sign of respect towards their patients and themselves. We do the same when we proof read carefully emails to our referents and ourselves, before sending out an unclear or difficult to read email. In brief, don't dash off notes in a chart or write quickly without proofreading several times anything written down.

Appearances are
nearly everything. A sloppy, misspelled report will not be received well. Remember, any guidance you get correcting/improving your report writing skills will go to making you look better; i.e., your personal credibility. So when I get advice and corrections (usually from Gail, my wife) I am happy about her constructive criticism, as I can fix things before I send a report out and my ignorance or lackadaisical manner is exposed to the whole world, forever preserved in an electronic medical record.

The following section will contain references to a few things learned by the writer over 45 years about mistakes and conventions in report writing. But, let’s start with why we test in the first place.

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