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Do You Have Computer Skills And Typing Ability?

Often nurses in the past have been challenged with typing skills, and when electronic records arrived, this was a problem for them.  Electronic medical records are now standard in most larger facilities. But still, the typing needs in clinic are limited due to “point and click” type programs or phrases that will populate at the start of a sentence. 

The typing skills in clinic settings are very different from legal documents and reports for your clients, such as attorneys who will file with the court; better typing skills are necessary.  Handwriting notes do work for many people, but for me, typing is faster and easier to read, both for myself and others.  You do not file handwritten reports with the court, and many of the filings are now electronic and need to be “digital.”

Do not get nervous or upset if you “think” you do not have the typing skills needed.  You can learn and find places for support.  If you have learned the skills as a nurse and medical health care professional, you certainly can develop and fine-tune your typing skills.

When reviewing medical records, you do not always receive all the documents you will need to review.  At times, at the start of a case, families bring medical records to the attorney, which are copied and sent to you for review. These are records the families have requested from the facility; these records are not always complete. 

At a later date, if the case moves forward to be filed as a legal document, additional records are received via discovery filed by the attorney.  Typically, medical records will arrive in batches. I have received records up to 5 to 6 times and often a page or two at a time.  Also, documents may be needed from other facilities and will be received at a different time.

Example # 1

Recently I completed a case where the medical records were received several times.  Bate stamps are used by attorneys to mark the records to keep them organized.  The records I received had three sets of bate stamps, and I needed a spreadsheet for organization.  To handwrite my notes would have been a challenge and time-consuming.    

Example # 2

Another situation was a class action case, with thirty parties in the case.  The number of records was enormous.  Without typing skills, it would have been impossible to keep the received information organized. 

To keep everything straight, a spreadsheet also called a timeline needs to be created. It keeps record information in chronological order via an event depending on the case and situation.  Spreadsheets I have found to be valuable, and ever since my first case, I have used them and developed certain abbreviations for typing.  I created spreadsheets and timelines from my first case years ago.  This allows me to sort, create graphs, and focus on specific issues of the case. 

When you are using the computer to write reports and/or develop spreadsheets, often, the computer has its own mind for spelling. Many of the medical terminology words are not included in the auto-correct spelling.  You can add abbreviations or medical terminology you regularly use so they auto-populate. 

Remember, when you are developing spreadsheets and writing notes, all of this information can be requested by the attorney and other parties in a case. The notes, reports, and spreadsheets need to remain professional, accurate, and without typing and spelling errors.    Your skills reflect your quality of work.  

Where do you develop computer and typing skills if you do not have them, or if they need improvement?  There are numerous places; either online courses, local community colleges, or libraries will have classes.  Classes are important, and your style will be developed.  Nothing takes the place of practice and work on your part.  Some folks still using the system “hunt and peck” when they are typing, and this does not work.  You cannot bill for your learning time.  

One crucial point. I always recommend you type your own work rather than someone else unless you can dictate your work.  If someone does your typing, you must review the report because you could be asked who typed it and if you even read the report.  From day one, I have always done all my own typing; it speeds the review process and accuracy.  My typing skills were developed, and I am glad I made the effort.  You can also do this.  It does not matter if you use a laptop or a desktop.  If you use a tablet, there are limitations, but it could be done.  Typing is a developed skill and a skill you will always be glad you developed. 

“Nothing will work unless you do.” 

Maya Angelou


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