Reflecting back, there are many things I wished I had worked harder at when studying to become a Medical Transcriptionist / Healthcare Documentation Specialist.
I wish I would have practiced developing my listening ear more with the difficult dictators that I like to call the auctioneers (amongst other names that I will not mention); the dictators that think they can multitask by eating their lunch while dictating a report, and also the ones that have thick accents. I almost forgot the dictators that decide to rifle through all their papers and drawers while trying to dictate a report. I wish I would have realized back then, syllable sounds take the place of actual words with a lot of dictators.
I also loved it when the dictators would say a few words altogether, such as “VitalsperEMR”. I thought to myself, what the heck is a “pereemer”. So from that day on, another lesson learned, if a word doesn’t make sense, try to break it down into syllables and see if it then makes sense.
Thinking back to the early years of my career as an MT/HDS, I wish that I would have read the Book of Style from cover to cover and also referenced it more while I was transcribing. It sure would have saved me from making a lot of errors going through the course and even during the early days of doing MT/HDS work.
I highly suggest to all MT/HDS students, as soon as you can afford to do so, purchase the Book of Style. The BOS is like a Bible for MT/HDSs. It is an investment that will serve you well. Of note, do not forget that account specifics trump the BOS rules (but not everything is covered in the account specifics of course).
I also realized that you cannot spell medical words phonetically, especially drug names. You have to research spelling and meaning of all medical words, especially when you are dealing with the sound-alike words, such as dysphagia versus dysphasia (totally different meaning) or ileum versus ilium.
Lastly, I have learned there are a few skills you will need to acquire, to help you become a successful Medical transcriptionist / Healthcare Documentation Specialist.
- Work hard at developing your listening ear as early as possible. This requires practice, practice, practice!
- You also need to develop thorough researching skills. This is very important not only to become a successful MT/HDS, but to ensure patient safety as well.
- Make sure you follow account specifics and BOS rules.
- You need to develop good critical thinking skills and use common sense. For example, if the dictator says she will have her prostate examined, you know that only males have prostates, so therefore, you would type he, not she.
- Make sure all words, especially medical words and drugs; fit the context of the report.
- Remember, these are real people you are dealing with. I personally care about each patient as if they were one of my family members.
I leave you with one more piece of good advice. When frustrated, DON’T think about throwing your computer out the window! Computers don’t fly, and having to replace one because you thought it would causes even more frustration.