Why Do Doctors Have Bad Handwriting Skills?

why do doctors have bad handwriting

You are on the right page if you want to know why doctors have bad handwriting skills.

By the end of this article, you should have understood several reasons why all doctors tend to have poor handwriting skills. Not only that, we shall consider whether it is a problem or not, then our blog will suggest possible solutions to this.

Many of us think it is normal for doctors to have bad handwriting skills, one reason being that we are not aware of the problems it has resulted in, in the past.

I could remember what mentality this made us (my peers inclusive) hold when I was much younger. Back in the day, I would argue that one needs bad handwriting skills to become a doctor – so funny a thought!

Nonetheless, whether it is terrible or not & why it is so is what this article has been designed to break down.

Do take your time to read through carefully.

Why Do Doctors Have Bad Handwriting Skills?

We gathered there are four reasons expert medical personnel give as excuses for writing bad.

1. The terminologies involved in medicine

Right here, you will get to know one reason you don’t have to blame doctors for their handwriting, in case you already do that.

You know how hard it could be to remember some of the jaw-wrecking terminologies used in this field. Should you are not used to it – imagine you are trying to write words like a defibrillator, epididymitis, etc., without getting any device to help you check the spelling errors in case you make one.

You would have to write without caring about the words visibly showing. This means your intention would be for the pharmacist to understand what letter came first and what ended it.

Perhaps, you would be able to relate better with this if you are used to taking down notes as dictions at the high or secondary school level. It happens in the higher institution when your target will be to get something down so you wouldn’t forget.

Let us bring it to ourselves. What do you do when you quickly have to write down a note by listening to the speaker – then you hear a few words, and you cannot vividly remember how they are spelled? Well, many would not necessarily write legibly for several other reasons.

2. Doctors are often in a rush

Having to prescribe drugs to too many people daily makes doctors’ handwritings get worse over time.

Doctors could sometimes attend to about 50 or perhaps 20 patients daily and imagine having to prescribe for all of these people and trying to meet up with other things.

The doctor is always in a rush to attend to all his patients, which is why doctors do not spend unnecessary time with patients. They are always straight to the point expecting people to make complaints and get the drug or other prescriptions.

This is precisely what happens to every other person in the exam hall after you must have written legibly on the first pages of your answer booklet. Always observe that your handwriting does not start and end the same way during examinations, especially when you have to write much.

With this, the doctor can’t take the time and try to go through his handwriting.

And in case you have never noticed it, doctors do not only write down prescriptions. Observe that they are writing down your complaints for reference purposes as you speak. It’s been said several times that more than many other professions, doctors write more.

3. A legible handwriting is not the aim

Finally, unlike we all do, most doctors are not bothered with what their handwritings look like.

They are majorly concerned with serving the pharmacists or whoever needs to receive the written prescription with the correct details.

Strangely enough, others in the field always claim to understand one another’s writings, perhaps, because they are already used to the terms that could be written.

It is always nice to write legibly, but how anxious do doctors get with this? Understanding that the aim of doctors, mainly because they have to write too many times, is not to get an excellent handwritten prescription will help you get the point better.

These people do not choose to write illegibly, yet they do not seem to attempt to work on their handwriting. Studies have shown that doctors ultimately want to ensure that patients get good health and thus only bother about the final receiver of the written prescription.

4. The hand molecules get tired

Having examined the fact that doctors have to write several times daily, then this can not be overridden.

Due to the nature of their job, doctors have lousy handwriting because the molecules of their hands soon get tired of writing after doing it for a long. Hence, they wouldn’t be able to help but write how they can.

The case might have been different if writing is not compulsory for them. For instance, they can get some ‘auxiliary doctors’ or whatever, if possible, to help them put down drug prescriptions when attending to patients.

Dangers of Bad Doctors’ bad handwriting

Doctors’ bad handwriting skills have caused several harms

Some of us think it is orthodox for doctors to write illegibly, so seeing it as a norm may not make us question the negative consequences that may come as a result. This is especially so because frequently, pharmacists will not bother to ask us questions, nor will they say what is written is not readable.

A report states that the world had lost about 7,000 lives in four years of studies yearly due to doctors’ bad handwriting.

As obtained from sources, there was a case of a doctor in the United Kingdom who prescribed glibenclamide for a patient. Due to his bad writing, the pharmacist misread what he wrote and gave the patient amoxicillin – causing the diabetes patient permanent brain damage. “The originality of this report is not the issue; knowing that things like this can happen due to a doctor’s bad handwriting is the point.”

How to Handle Doctors’ Bad Handwriting

Since most of them are not born to write illegibly, I think there are chances we can work on the problem.

You may be wondering what makes it a problem. The last subheading just pointed that out.

1. The use of computers in typing prescribing

Whatever doctors want to prescribe should be typed.

This is one of the best solutions to the given problem because prevention is better than cure. Since some patients get the wrong drugs based on illegible handwritten prescriptions, doctors should not have to write them at all. There is no way a computer-written medication will confuse unless the doctor who wrote it made a mistake.

This has been in advanced countries, but the chances that you have not seen it before may be high. Hospitals that mandate this will usually penalize doctors who prescribe by writing themselves.

2. The number of patients attended to

If it is possible, doctors should have to attend to a lesser number of people. This may not sound possible;            anyway, it could just have been one of the best solutions in case the hospital cannot provide doctors with the necessary electronic devices for the typed and printed prescriptions.

Come to think of what excuse a doctor who usually attends to about 60 patients daily would give if the number of people he has to listen to reduces to 10 – they must write legibly.

I think this can be achieved by recruiting more doctors in any hospital that wants to practice this – in case you wouldn’t want to go for the first solution for any reason.


From this point of view, illegible handwriting is not always something doctors want to be known for, nor is it something they want to do. But who could have helped it if he was in the boat with these medical professionals?!

Doctors are great people who always give their best to ensure that human life is not endangered. Regardless of their bad handwriting and what we have learned about them herein, they should be celebrated.

In conclusion, the issue of doctors having bad handwriting has been up for contribution several times in the past. And the immediate answer keeps being that they cannot help it since they have to write often. Another point that seems different from this has claimed that their aim of writing is one thing to consider – so true!

Imagine a doctor trying to ensure that he writes legibly when you consult them. It is not the norm, so you would probably think he is not a professional yet.

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About Abayomi

Abayomi is an education student and a certified content and prolific writer in Nigeria who is concerned with serving scholars across all nations with in-depth research and quality content.

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