Meet Terryl Wood
Medical Transcription and Editing Graduate
Son’s Diagnosis Drives a Career Change
When Nashville-based Terryl Wood learned her two-year-old son, Carson, had autism, she knew their lives would change forever. She and her husband were self-employed owners of a local gym. Though times have changed since, they quickly learned most of the costs for Carson’s intervention would have to come out-of-pocket. Terryl needed flexibility to take Carson to appointments and interventions, a more stable cash flow, and medical benefits. This is the story of how Career Step gave Terryl the tools to work from home, care for her autistic son, and evolve her career.
After doing a lot of her own research, Terryl decided on the medical transcription field, choosing to start with Career Step. Terryl admits it was daunting to begin a new career and appreciated the support she felt from Career Step. “Starting over at the age of 37, learning a new industry during a really stressful time might seem intimidating,” said Terryl, “but I found it super helpful that I could go at my own pace.” Knowing that Career Step partners with many transcription companies, Terryl felt confident she could find a job quickly. And as it happens, she sure did.
Getting Started with Career Step
Terryl noticed Carson showing signs of developmental delay at 15 months. A proactive mama, she enrolled him into an early intervention program at 18 months. She had many therapists coming into the house and placed her son’s name on waitlists for other treatments, knowing she would need to respond immediately if an opportunity arose. This meant she needed a job that would let her work from home and have control over her schedule.
How did Terryl decide the best direction for her? “I was always a good typist, and writing and organizing was kind of my forte with the gym,” said Terryl. “So I started to do research on what careers I could work from home. Medical transcription fit my personality. I searched for schools and found Career Step.” Impressed by the many partnerships with large transcription companies, and knowing the quality of her education would impact how quickly she could work from home, Terryl enrolled with Career Step. She turned her gym management responsibilities over to her husband and staff.
Terryl took advantage of Career Step’s extension option to get more time to complete the Medical Transcription and Editing course, but she finished, graduating with honors. “I couldn't get all the course work done during some of the more trying times with Carson’s interventions,” said Terryl. “I had to put some things on hold. So I was really thankful I didn't lose my investment and could use an extension, because life happens.”
Creating a Low-Stress Work Situation
Terryl received a phone call quickly after graduation, and much to her surprise, was offered a job with Spheris on the spot! She was relieved to skip the job search and start her first medical transcriptionist job. After two years with Spheris, Terryl wanted more opportunity for growth and took a position with Probity Medical Transcription where she was able to take on more responsibility through quality assurance (QA). When Probity decided to merge with Nuance Transcription, a conglomerate of transcription companies, Terryl decided it was best not to over-commit herself and scaled back her hours to part-time, allowing her to focus on caring for Carson—though she took comfort in knowing that management and further options were available with such a diverse company.
Through her various positions, Terryl has been able to work at times that are best for her and her family. “As hospitals never close, I was able to work many years in evening and overnight positions,” said Terryl. “This supplemented our income and provided extra benefits while giving me the daytime to run Carson around to every intervention known at the time. My medical transcription career was definitely a life-changing move.”
Terryl worked with Nuance for about seven years. As the company grew and changed, she realized she wanted to further control her schedule. Having taken transcription jobs on the side while she was working for Nuance, she felt comfortable making the transition to leaving the company and becoming an independent contractor. “I wanted to be more of my own boss,” said Terryl. “It's been a year now that I have been setting my own schedule and working with New England Medical Transcription (NEMT). They are fabulous. They let me do my job, and I invoice them. It's just been really low stress.”
On an interesting note, since Career Step’s original interview with Terryl, NEMT was acquired by Nuance—so Terryl has gone full circle to working for Nuance again. Looking to keep her skills marketable, Terryl has also recently picked up a contract on the side with a transcription company out of Australia, so she’s now officially an international transcriptionist.
A Job That Adapts with Terryl’s Unique Lifestyle
Last summer, Terryl decided it would be therapeutic for Carson to visit her family in Wisconsin. She took her work with her, packing up her computer and basic necessities to live in Wisconsin for two months. Terryl considers that visit a special time for establishing closer relationships with family. She doesn’t believe those types of lifestyle choices would be possible without her work-from-home career.
Carson now attends a private school that caters to his special needs, located 40 minutes away from home. It’s a commute, but Terryl is able to manage it by adjusting her work schedule. “Your life is always evolving and changing,” said Terryl. “What you think you have right now isn't going to be the way it is a year from now. My job had to be able to adapt with me, and I don't know too many jobs out there that do that.”
Terryl meets many mothers in similar situations who would love to work from home. She regularly hosts what she jokingly calls parties, showing interested moms what she does to work from home so they can understand the true picture. “When they kind of get the visual of the whole process, it seems really easy and simple,” said Terryl. “Then I direct them toward Career Step, because I wouldn't send them anywhere else. I knew nothing. I had no medical background. I was just a good typist. My work right out of school was like I'd been doing it for several years, because I got the right training. And I think that's crucial.”
In fact, Terryl’s the perfect example of evolving a career. These days she’s looking to complete more Career Step training. Due to her experience with medical terminology and general understanding of the medical field as a transcriptionist, she was asked to learn medical billing to assist Carson’s former therapy office. She is currently looking into Career Step’s online Medical Coding and Billing course to expand her marketable skills. Go Terryl!