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We’re Guessing LMAO Isn’t Approved, Either?

, , , , | Healthy | CREDIT: ThisPercentage | October 23, 2022

It’s 1990. I am a relatively new corpsman (medic) assigned to a surgery ward at the Naval Hospital. Our patients are all post-op and there are sixty beds. There are six or so corpsmen assigned to take care of these patients. As part of our duties, we are to chart our findings and observations as we make our rounds.

This surgery ward is usually the first assignment for corpsmen and nurses coming fresh from school. I joined the Navy at twenty-one, so I am a little more worldwise than my peers who are all eighteen or nineteen. I know, especially in the military, there is the book way of doing things and the effective way of doing things. We have volumes of manuals that cover every aspect of our jobs and duties that you could imagine.

Cue the new nurse who has been assigned and wants to show how good she is at managing the lowly corpsman troops. She is merciless, always looking for opportunities to embarrass or cause trouble for us.

One evening, I observe her shouting at one of the corpsmen for using an unapproved abbreviation in a patient’s chart. What is the offensive abbreviation? “ASAP.” He wrote that the patient needed an evaluation ASAP. You would have thought that he had personally offended [Nurse]’s honor.

I go and look in the approved abbreviations section of our operations manual to confirm that it is not there. It is not. I do find that there is a very extensive list of approved abbreviations available to use, though.

Cue malicious compliance.

I pull all of the corpsmen on the shift and tell them to bring their charts to the break room. We then chart all of the notes together using nothing but approved abbreviations. The notes look like another language! I make sure everyone can read their own notes and send them out to put the charts back.

The pain-in-the-butt nurse comes in to review the notes with the corpsmen. I take the first round. This is done while standing at patients’ bedsides. She opens the chart and looks at the notes.

Nurse: “WHAT IS THIS?!”

Me: “I don’t understand. What do you mean?”

Nurse: “I don’t understand anything you have written.”

Me: “It says that the patient is recovering well with little difficulty, but he will need further evaluation based on his comments and visible demonstration of discomfort and reduced mobility in his left upper limb.”

Nurse: “That is not what it says.”

Me: “Ma’am, I assure you that it does and that those are all approved abbreviations. I am sorry that you do not know them. I do realize that you are new.”

I smiled. She did not. This was the first of sixty charts she had to review.

I have never seen corpsmen so eager to review chart notes. We did go get the manual for her, just to be helpful.

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