The Two-Headed Hydra: Part 2

Posted on 11.15.2013

According to Greek legend, the only way to subdue a hydra is to lop off the heads and cauterize the stumps, one by one—yeech! Last time we vanquished the problem of understanding the nature of the online grader in the first half of the program. We pick up now, at the second half, which we call the practicum portion.

Hydra Head #2: Computer Comparison in the Practicum

The second hydra head rears up after the midterm, when you begin transcribing dictated reports.

In the practicum you score yourself, and deal with many instances of acceptable variation, so it can seem a little dicey. Understanding acceptable variation is a very important step to becoming an effective and efficient medical transcriptionist and editor.

Acceptable Variation

There are lots and lots and lots of examples of acceptable variation with regard to style and format choice in the practicum. Yes, it’s frustrating and a little overwhelming to see so many variations. We MTs tend to be precise, detail-oriented (dare I say compulsive?) people. We kind of prefer our lines to be clearly drawn, with definite rights and wrongs. These tendencies generally serve us very well, BUT the reality of the industry is there are lots of acceptable ways to work according to different account preferences, and when we’re working we may be asked to switch back and forth between accounts—a lot. We have to be able to recognize and differentiate between something that is a real error (a misspelling, an incorrect lab value, a wrong term, for example) versus something that’s really only a matter of account style preference.

The program would be a lot simpler for you and for us if we pretended there was only one way to handle format and style, and we trained you that way. The problem is, this approach would not realistically prepare you for the workplace; perhaps you’d breeze through the course, but then you’d be angry with us for not adequately training you for the job. We don’t want you to be mad at us, so we expose you to lots of acceptable variation now because it’s much better to grapple with and master this concept as a student than it is to struggle as a new employee.  The computer comparison tool can really become your best friend.

If you ever have a question about what are acceptable variations and what are true errors, our Student Support team is happy to assist you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone, email or our Ask an Instructor chat (on our student and graduate community). Onward and upward!