Ingredients of a Successful Medical Transcription Career

A good medical transcriptionist is 1 part keyboarding, 1 part word building, 1 part tech guru, and 1 part analyst.
Have you seen the movie Waitress with Keri Russell?  I don’t know about you, but that movie made me want to create all kinds of random pies.  Like a good pie, there are many ingredients that go into making an awesome medical transcriptionist. Let’s discuss the ingredients!

1 Part Keyboarding
For the painter, it’s a paintbrush, for a carpenter, it’s a hammer, for an MT, it’s a keyboard—that tool on which we rely for everything. Cultivating keyboarding skills is tantamount to success in this field. It’s important to have not only a comfortable keyboard, but to be comfortable with your keyboard. Speedy typing relates not only to the position of your hands on the keys, but also to your ability to navigate the computer using keyboard shortcuts.

As in everything else in this course, practice is key—pun intended. Remember: while typing speed is important, don’t create unrealistic expectations for yourself. If your typing speed isn’t blistering-fast when you finish Keyboard Kinetics, that’s fine; if your speed isn’t lightning-quick at the end of the course, that’s fine too! The best MTs aren’t necessarily the fastest typists; they are, however, very adept with their keyboards.

Also, don’t compromise your health for speed. Make sure you are taking care of your hands and wrists so that no permanent damage is done. You want your medical transcription career to be long and profitable, so listen to your body and make adjustments with your keyboard where necessary to keep those fingers tapping.

1 Part Word Building
Esophogogastroduodenoscopy—kinda looks like a word scramble, doesn’t it? Before taking this course, if someone came up to you on the street and just blurted this word, you’d probably think that person was speaking in some foreign language. (Well, it kind of is a foreign language, but that’s beside the point.) Between the suffixes/prefixes, the new medical terms, the acronyms, and the numerous medical reports, this course assaults you with words. While the temptation may be to purchase notecards in bulk, and spend hours making flashcards, remember that you do not have to memorize everything! Doctors are required to know these terms frontwards and backwards, but MTs just need to be familiar with the terms, know how to spell the terms, and know where to find them. Also, while grammar is important to a good MT, no doctor will ever ask you to identify an adverb versus an adjective. As long as you can type a readable document, can identify grammar mistakes, and fix them, then you’ll be fine!

1 Part Tech Guru
As technology evolves, so does the MT world. These days, good MTs are not just good typists or wordsmiths, but they must know basic—and sometimes advanced computer functionality. Modern
MTs can work search engines, manipulate software, troubleshoot hardware, and adapt easily to new platforms. Word expanders allow MTs to work smarter, not harder. Remember the difference between EMR and EHR, and that the implement of either will not take your job away. With evolving technology, the day-to-day job of an MT may change from straight transcription to editing, but that’s okay because a quality MT will always be in demand. In keeping with the times, Career Step now offers a program that trains students in the effective use of editing software. This program is called the Medical Transcription Editor program. There’s also a supplemental program to train students who already have an MT background and want to advance in their career.

1 Part Analyst
While the nitty-gritty of typing, medical terminology, and technology skills lay the foundation for a good MT, it’s the critical thinking and discernment that make an MT invaluable in the health industry. Knowing when and how to flag, researching effectively and intuitively, and analyzing context all set human MTs apart from cold machines. While we sometimes wish the world of an MT could be black and white, we often must deal with the gray and make judgment calls based on knowledge, experience, and reasoning. The Career Step course prepares you well to be successful in more than just a medical industry; it’s a human industry.

You know you’re an MT when you know and understand and embrace it. Your pie is nearly baked.

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