1. Fangman, Susan RN
  2. Miles, Karen RN

Article Content

The curse of cursive

> An article in the September issue described medication errors linked to illegible cursive handwriting ("Avoid the Curse of Cursive," Medication Errors, September 2014).* However, neither of the examples shown look like "cursive" writing to me. They appear to be printed and easier to read than much of what I've seen in 42 years of nursing.

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Healthcare providers should take the time to write legibly to ensure their prescriptions are carried out correctly. I've never understood why physicians write so poorly and leave it up to a nurse to decipher it. I'd like to see this article published in JAMA and other physician-oriented journals.


Stigmatized diagnosis

> I've never before written to a journal, but I felt compelled to do so after reading the editorial in the September issue ("She Never Smoked a Day in Her Life," Editorial, September 2014).* Three years ago, my husband was diagnosed with cirrhosis from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. That has been devastating enough, but we've found that dealing with some healthcare providers' attitudes, especially at the beginning, daunting. I don't think my husband's primary care providers believed that he didn't have an alcohol use disorder. Of course that's the first thought that comes to mind when most people hear "cirrhosis." To make matters worse, he didn't want to tell his friends or extended family about the diagnosis because he felt embarrassed due to its association with alcohol. This isolated him from care and compassion that he could have used especially because he wasn't (and still isn't) a candidate for a transplant. Even today, when anyone asks me about his condition, I often feel I have to explain that his cirrhosis isn't from alcohol because I feel a certain stigma attached to the diagnosis.


I'm an RN working in long-term care, where I've heard "they brought this on themselves" or even felt this way myself after learning about certain diagnoses. Now I'm in a unique position to be able to understand how this kind of thinking can stigmatize people and isolate patients from not only the physical care they need, but the emotional care, too. Thank you for your editorial and for letting me express the emotional aspect as not only nurse, but also as a family caregiver.


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Dallas, Tex.




Lancaster, NH


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