Perhaps one of the most chest-swelling moments during medical training is when you first sign an official medical order or prescription. There it is, that illegible swirling scribble that you have been refining for years, looking the same as it does on bank checks, loan papers, school applications — but now for the first time, it is resting on a Doctor’s Order, and it has power, my friend — deep and mystic POWER! Moo-ah-hahahaha!
(It is considered rather poor form to laugh malevolently when signing your name. I apologize.)
But like any awesome thing (other examples: chocolate syrup on a slip-n-slide, edible underwear, nuclear fission, radioactive spider bites), it comes with a drawback: suddenly everybody wants your signature. Pharmacists, medical records departments, nurses, insurance companies, employers (yours and the patients’), billing agencies — they all have some paper that needs your signature and NEEDS-IT-RIGHT-NOW.
And so, there are many reasons to grumble about signatures, and I will begin with the Doctor’s Excuse Note… tomorrow.