Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Too Many Tenses

Another problem occurs when the dictating physician keeps switching back and forth between the past, present, and future tenses. Sometimes this occurs between different paragraphs. Often, it occurs within the same sentence.

When dictating, try to keep everything in one tense, referring to events in the past (even if you are describing a surgical procedure). And be careful about choosing active rather than passive verb forms. For example:

We're closing the wound using seven #6-0 Prolene sutures.The wound was closed using seven #6-0 Prolene sutures.
There is several bruises.There were several bruises.
There is no any signs of clubbing.There were no signs of clubbing.
The patient was explained the risks and benefits.The risks and benefits were explained to the patient.
The patient was consented.Informed consent was given by the patient.
The patient was laid on the operating room table.The patient was placed on the operating room table.

Next: Nonsensical Dictation

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