EMS Tips

Don't Write on Your Gloves – 5 Reasons to Use Something Else

Last week I asked, “What do you use to write your patient assessment and care notes.

Predictably, several readers answered, “Gloves!”

Here are reasons not to write on your gloves.

1. Gloves are BSI. Gloves should only be used for what they do best – protecting you from the patient and protecting the patient from you.

2. Micro damage. Writing on the glove may compromise its structure and make it permeable to microscopic particles, like bacteria and viruses.

3. Cross contamination. In an ideal crew configuration one member touches the patient and one member touches everything else. If I am touching the patient I like my partner to be writing patient care notes, opening cabinets, unwrapping equipment, and touching computer buttons. My gloves touch the patient and the things my partner hands to me, but does not expect me to hand back.

4. It looks tacky. Can you imagine sitting with your doctor and your doctor taking notes on the back of his hand?

5. Get out of the trash. Inevitably a glove with a set of vital signs written on it will get tossed into the trash before the vitals get transcribed. Pawing through the trash for a pair of used gloves with ball point pen scrawling – poor form.

Before HIV/AIDS did Paramedics write notes on their bare hands?

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By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.