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A Day in the Life of a Medical Transcriptionist

Apr 08, 2010

Considering a new career? How about training as a medical transcriptionist? This fast paced, busy, and challenging job will keep you on your toes, and let you earn a great income. But what is it really like to be a medical transcriptionist? This is an important question to answer before you commit to training for this position.

If you have a regular transcriptionist job, your day will start at the office, which will usually be attached to a hospital or care center. Some medical transcriptionists work for federal agencies or private employers; it all depends on who you apply with and how medical transcriptionist jobs are contracted in your area. You will have a desk, a computer, and transcription equipment – which is essentially a recorder that is attached to a foot pedal which allows you to pause and start the recordings.

On each recording are a physician’s notes regarding a patient, and it is your job to transcribe the notes into written form. You may have several different types of recordings, such as autopsy reports or discharge summaries; it all depends on who you work for. As you transcribe the notes you will have to check to make sure they read properly and make any corrections.

When you complete a transcribed record and review it for completeness and accuracy, your next step will be to ensure that it is returned to the physician who dictated the notes. You may do this directly if you work in a small office, or it may be done through your manager.

Once the physician receives the transcription, they will review it, and sign off if it is correct. They may have to make corrections and send it back to you if something is missing or improperly transcribed. It is important that as a medical transcriptionist you try to be as accurate as possible, so you don’t have to re-do your work at a later time. When a record is signed off it can then be filed with the patient’s medical record or used for billing purposes.

The rest of your day is pretty much the same – you will receive a dictation recording, you will “translate” it to a written record on the computer, and you will send it back to the physician. Occasionally you may have difficulty understanding a recording and you may have to contact a physician for clarification. As you become experienced in the job you will find that you can understand the lingo better, and you will be more efficient at your job.

It is important that as a medical transcriptionist you can concentrate fully on your task and complete it in a timely manner. Since you are working with recorded material you won’t be able to chat with your co-workers, or listen to music. This can be a drawback of the job, but on the upside there is a lot of demand for these types of health care workers so you won’t have trouble finding a job once you are trained.

Some medical transcriptionists, after a few years of experience, become supervisors of other transcriptionists and take on a more management-focused role. Others go on to become medical records technicians or coders, or choose to advance their training so they can become administrators. There is no shortage of jobs for those who are trained in all areas of medical records, so there are many places you can go once you are trained as a medical transcriptionist. If you can picture yourself listening to recordings and putting them down on paper (or a computer screen) then perhaps this is a good job for you.

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