Does anyone else struggle with report writing?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by chrostopherhenandex, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. chrostopherhenandex

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    I feel like my reports (autism, psychoeducational, child clinical psychology) take forever to write and they aren't that good.

    But, then again, there is no such thing as a "perfect" report.

    But, my confidence has been dashed. I'm almost don't with my postdoc, and I feel like I'm still not cutting the mustard. I'll compare the document I send to my supervisor and it''s been edited to all hell. Organizational changes, rephrasing, etc...

    We rarely disagree about diagnosis. So I guess that's nice.

    Maybe my supervisor is sorta anal/perfectionistic about reports?

    I also struggle because our field's reports are so damn long compared to all other health fields.

    I dunno, does anyone have any quick tips on how to better and faster at report writing?
     
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  3. chrostopherhenandex

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    Also, any one got any good software?
     
  4. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    1. Most people don't read your report.

    2. When you don't have a supervisor any longer, you can write reports in any way and organization structure that it fitting with you. Cause again, almost no one else will read it.

    3. Its not a creative writing class, and I've never understood why some supervisors seem to make it so. Shorter is almost always better, unless there is some forensic component or question. Shorter will at least increase the changes that people will actually read your report.
     
  5. chrostopherhenandex

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    Thanks Erg... you always make me feel better.
     
  6. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Depends. Once you're own your own, I'd always recommend that you talk with your main referral sources about what they want/need from you. I tailor my reports depending on my sources. The outside neurology clinics get a different report than the in-house neuro-oncology clinic does. People don't read some reports because people throw out poor quality cookie-cutter junk that they use for EVERYTHING. If you find out what people want and/or need in your reports, you can write some that will be read, and keep out the junk that won't get read.

    Caveat, always include whatever CYA you need, regardless of it's clinical usefulness.

    As to the OP, my reports are about 4-6 pages for a full neuropsych eval, and that includes a data table. These take me 45-60 minutes to throw together.
     
  7. chrostopherhenandex

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    Maybe, I'm a little worried about my reports because I'm about to get out of my comfort zone. I'm going to work at a pediatric outpatient clinic with kids who have chronic illness (MD's, PT, OT, Speech, etc team-based model). It's quite scary because it'll be my first independently licensed position and it's unlike anything I've done before (internship was in a school) and pdoc was a private practice.

    I've done a fellowship and lots of research on chronic illness/neurodev. disorders, but I'll still be out of my element a little! It's a bit of a jump.

    They had to remind me the interview that I was qualified because I was being so careful about not exceeding my boundaries of competence (they're gonna help me grow).
     
  8. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist

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    Beware slps trying to give neuropsych tests. Do not acquiesce to this.
     
  9. Kadhir

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    Your impressions section is the single most important section in your report and the (only) part most people will read... and subsequently copy/paste into their own notes (sigh). If this remains fairly unedited, you're in OK shape. Other elements of your report will continue to evolve. I've had supervisors many years into the game still revising their styles.
     
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  10. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    You mean scoring 8 / 10 on a naming task isn’t 80%?

    I wish I were kidding.
     
  11. ClinicalABA

    Psychologist

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    Parsimony is your best friend. You should be providing the minimum amount of info necessary to say what you need to say. If you can say it in a sentence, don’t use a paragraph. I’ve recently started using a grid for the history section, and it goes quicker and is easier for the reader.
     
  12. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    "But, the patient improved their Trails A score by 25", they must be better! It couldn't possibly be because I administered it to the patient every day over the past week."
     
  13. briarcliff

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    Would you mind clarifying what you mean by "grid?" I've been looking for ways to more concisely write my reports.
     
  14. ClinicalABA

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    History section is basically table, with cells for the following. Info in each cell is brief list. Given that 2 year old children who don't talk are a) a relatively homogeneous population and b) don't typically have a lot of history, much of this section is templated, and i just change a few things in each cell for each report. I really try to stick only to information relevant to the presenting problems (which is typically autism).

    Family Composition


    Family History

    Birth History

    Medical History

    Developmental History

    Parent Concerns
     
  15. CatLover&PsychEnthusiast

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    Oh my gosh, this had me so concerned. I recently had a practicum in a physical rehab setting and speech was doing all kinds of cognitive evaluations and cognitive remediation and after shadowing one I had some serious concerns.
     
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  17. singasongofjoy

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    My history sections are quite similar, and also include a chart for therapy/intervention type, dates, frequency and duration of sessions, and provider; similar chart for previous evaluations and results. Also recently started using the smart phrases and making some templates for some paragraphs that are Frequently used, adding in drop-down options (e.g., the standard sentences like NAME is currently in X grade at X school...) in our medical records system. Has definitely helped w my reports (which are, IMO, still way too long, usually around 10 pages which is shorter than many in my organization... working on that).
     
  18. Thelostlilac

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    Have you talked to your supervisors about it? What helped me become a better report writer was getting good feedback from my supervisors and incorporating it each time I wrote a new report.
     
  19. smalltownpsych

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    Assessment class: 15 - 20 pages
    internship: 10 - 12 pages
    post-doc: 5 - 7 pages
    licensed psychologist: 4 - 5 pages
    in the future as a retired psychologist: 0 pages
     
  20. mypointlesspov

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    Right? At my practicum I was mortified when my supervisor cut out information that my professor/school assessment clinic would have considered necessary. But, as Shakespeare wrote, brevity is the soul of assessment reports.
     
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  21. EmotRegulation

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    Ya'll are making me so happy. I might just copy and paste this entire thread for my class. I teach personality assessment and supervise in our in-house training clinic and these reports are SO DAMN LONG. They come to me after a cognitive assessment course where they are trained to write out everything, and I basically have to teach them how to undo the extensive report writing in favor of brevity and clarity. The students don't believe me that real-world reports are shorter than the 15-20 page monstrosities they send me. So thanks for this!!
     
  22. AbnormalPsych

    AbnormalPsych Clinical Psychologist

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    One may argue short reports are much more ethical as well:

    4.04 Minimizing Intrusions on Privacy
    (a) Psychologists include in written and oral reports and consultations, only information germane to the purpose for which the communication is made.
     
  23. Grenth

    Grenth Clinical Psychology PhD Student

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    In my assessment classes right now we're being taught/expected to do 5-7 page reports, which means at this rate by the time I'm a venerable psychologist like smalltownpsych, I'll be down to around -1 to 0 pages.
     
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  24. AbnormalPsych

    AbnormalPsych Clinical Psychologist

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    My inpatient reports were 1.5-2 pages max when I did that work. Report + feedback on same day. It was awesome. And all the other professionals on the unit loved the brevity.
     
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  25. chrostopherhenandex

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    What do y'all think about a simple psychoeducational eval report being 1 or 2 pages.

    I was thinking, one paragraph on IQ.

    Like literally just saying something like "You're IQ is average, your reading and spelling sucks, you have dyslexia. Also, it seems like you can't focus worth ****. The rating scales and history (like one or two paragraphs) say you have ADHD."

    I feel like reports from medical doctors don't do as much justifying as we do.

    I'd much rather make a powerpoint about the results and give present that to the patient.
     
    #23 chrostopherhenandex, Jul 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  26. EmotRegulation

    Psychologist Faculty

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    I mean....I think it's important to distinguish between test results and fact (rating scales don't SAY anything, we interpret them). Also, you might consider checking your own grammar on that one. (It's "your," not "you're.")
     
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  27. CA_PsyD_FL_LMHC

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    I'm hoping this was pun-intended.
     
  28. chrostopherhenandex

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    So what y'all is saying that maybe I should proof some stuff?
     
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  29. mypointlesspov

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    You'd be a fine candidate for Derek Zoolander's School for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Want to Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too


    /s in case anyone gets mad
     
  30. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
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    I've written reports anywhere from 2 pages (single spaced) for practice to about 4-5. I cant think of a time where I could justify a longer report being needed or useful.

    I'm straight up horrified at teaching 20 page reports. Why practice what we dont do. That isnt what I teach in assessment courses either.
     
    #28 Justanothergrad, Jul 10, 2018 at 4:34 AM
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018 at 4:50 AM
  31. BuckeyeLove

    BuckeyeLove Forensic Psychologist
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    Just finished a death penalty mitigation evaluation: 120 pages. smh
     
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  32. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    I don't mind writing lengthy reports as long as it's all billable time at a few hundred dollars an hour.
     
  33. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist
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    Do you get to charge by the pound? That'd be great.
     
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  34. Seven_Costanza

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    Given the variability, I'm wondering which type of reports do internship sites - specifically VA sites - like to see from applicants. I have more extensive 25 page reports, and I have more brief 10 page reports.
     
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  35. CA_PsyD_FL_LMHC

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    That's a good question. I will have a pretty hefty variety of styles to choose from by the time I apply, and would love to know what style VA's and State Hospitals would generally prefer. Or is sending the style I prefer generally a good way to promote goodness-of-fit?
     
  36. AbnormalPsych

    AbnormalPsych Clinical Psychologist

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    In my experience... VA neuro: 5-7 pages, VA non-neuro: Always less than 4 pages
     
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  37. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Most VA neuro places don't put too much stick in the sample reports you send. Prac students essentially have to recreate their supervisors style, so it doesn't always tell us much about the individual student unless the report is a trainwreck. Definitely check it for typos. We recently had one that was absolutely riddled with spelling errors and typos. I didn't even bother with reviewing the rest of the application at that point.
     

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