- Black people are lazy.
- Surgeons are assholes.
- Doctors have lousy handwriting.
- They are not true.
- They are offensive.
Now let's look at some of the differences among those three statements. In this day and age, no one but the most obnoxious racist would agree that the first statement has any degree of veracity whatsoever. The problem is that the second two sentiments are considered true by so many people that they are often considered "conventional wisdom."
Why is this so? Why do people feel justified in labeling an entire medical specialty emotionally dysfunctional and an entire profession legibility-impaired? Perhaps people believe that because they have had experiences demonstrating these qualities with multiple members of a group, their observations are therefore applicable to the entire group. Perhaps people may even feel they have never met a member of the group who does not possess the offending quality. Yet despite that reasoning, it is still not legitimate to conclude that all blacks are lazy based on personal experiences with a given number of unmotivated African Americans, or lack of experience with those who are studious and industrious.
There are people of every race and nationality who are lazy. Discussions of motivation need to be addressed to the individuals displaying the behavior instead of inappropriately criticizing a whole group of people. Surgeons who lack interpersonal skills should not be excused because, "That's the way surgeons are." Not only are they not "all" like that by any means, inappropriate behavior does not deserve to be tolerated under any circumstances.
What about handwriting?
First of all, how legible is the handwriting of the average adult in any profession today? Who knows? How much longhand writing does anyone do anymore anyway? Not much. Handwriting fatigues the more you write, so being expected to write the equivalent of up to 15 pages by hand daily (hospital notes and prescriptions, not to mention office notes for those of us without EMRs) might explain some diminished penmanship.
I was a calligrapher before I became a doctor. My handwriting is not just legible; it is lovely. Patients are often in awe of my prescriptions, instructions and Return to Work notes, usually accompanied by some crack about doctors and their handwriting.
I don't disagree that those physicians who do not pay attention to these matters can represent a danger to patients both in and out of the hospital, with illegible orders and prescriptions respectively. Those individuals need to be counseled about their unacceptable performance in this area. But I know for a fact that I am not the only doctor with legible handwriting, and I am sick of listening to assumptions about my penmanship based on the letters MD after my name.
So knock it off about docs and handwriting already, you lazy assholes.