Well, for the last month now we have been using electronic run forms. For the most part, I like them. I like most being able to type out an extended narrative, instead of trying to scribble it all into a confined space. (I know you could always attach a supplemental page, but I rarely did.) I like that people can read my writing now.
I’ve never considered myself a great run form writer. I would scrawl out a basic template that, if you could make out the chicken scratch, usually went something like this:
“76-year-old female not feeling well since last night. Denies chest pain or dsypnea. Vomited X-1. No diarrhea. Found supine in bed. GCS-15, skin warm dry, lungs clear, ab soft non-tender, good neuros. Vitals as below. Sinus, no ST aberrations. IV # 20 in Left forearm. S. Lock. BS-144. Taken to hospital, turned over to ED staff with full report.”
But now with a keyboard and an unlimited space, I can be more free-flowing.
I did a call recently involving an old man found curled up in his apartment with altered mental status (See Sha La Lala Lala, Live For Today).
The next day I received an email from the hospital’s Clinical Coordinator asking for a copy of the form for my stroke patient. I guessed he was talking about the old man found curled up in his apartment who was possibly a stroke patient. But I knew I had given a copy of my run form to the nurse as well as put a second copy in the QA box, which I told the Coordinator in a return email.
Still, I spent a sleepless night, wondering if I had done something wrong.
He emailed me back that the reason he was looking for the form was because the stroke doctor (the patient did have a head bleed) said it was one of the best run forms he had ever read.
I emailed him back asking if he was sure it was my patient and not one brought in by my relief later in the day. I said I did not think I wrote very good run forms and it was likely my relief who wrote excellent ones.
He emailed me back that it was indeed my patient, and that the doctor had been very impressed with the narrative that was full of information (scene description, co-worker’s account, etc.) that had been very helpful to him.
The narrative. Yes! I had written quite a detailed narrative.
Suddenly I began to understand the meaning of it all.
I’ve written novels, essays, memoirs, speeches, poems, blog posts, and now I can write RUN FORMS!
Writers so love audiences. Might I say, we desperately crave them.
Now I have an entirely new audience.
Nurses, ED physicians, stroke doctors, cardiologists, trauma surgeons, internists, maybe even medical records personnel.
Now each time I sit down to do an electronic run form, after checking the obligatory boxes, my heart rises as I begin to type. I think I mustn’t disappoint my readership. I must educate and entertain them. I must make them feel as if they were there on the call with me. Ahh, the poetry of it!
After a motor vehicle accident, I ponder a moment, and then inspiration strikes.
“It was a dark and stormy night…”