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The Good and the Bad About Working as a Medical Transcriptionist

Aug 17, 2008
When people hear about the possibility of working at home as a medical transcriptionist, many get very interested. There just aren't that many work at home jobs that offer what a good medical transcription position can - insurance, for example. But that doesn't mean it's all good.

The Good Stuff

1. Insurance is available when you work for certain companies. That's medical, dental and vision.

2. Some also offer a 401k and vacation time.

3. Flexible schedules. You decide when to work and how long. You'll probably have to set this up with your employer in advance, and they'll want you to stick with it as much as possible. But you can set yourself up for the times that you will find most productive, rather than an employer's schedule in most cases.

4. Interesting, challenging work. Provided you don't mind typing about medical matters, of course. You'll be hearing about conditions you hope to never deal with in person. You'll be picking up new terminology. It can be fascinating.

The Bad Stuff

Hey, it can't all be that good, right? Don't worry, there are plenty of negatives to go around.

1. Doctors who don't like to dictate... that is, a large percentage of them. I had a nurse tell me once that she could not believe how the doctor she worked for sounded when he dictated. She couldn't catch a bit of it. But as a transcriptionist, that's all a part of the job.

2. Doctors who will dictate anywhere, anytime. This goes along with the ones who don't like to dictate. They'll dictate while driving. While eating. While using the bathroom. In the middle of a conversation. And you have to catch it all and type it up.

3. Doctors with heavy accents. These can be easier than the fast talkers once you get used to them, believe it or not. Accents are hard to deal with at first, but once you're used to a particular accent it's not so bad.

Fast talkers, on the other hand, can be an eternal pain worse than the heaviest accents. Or so I found to be true when I worked as a medical transcriptionist.

4. Long pauses with nothing said. I don't just mean 20-30 seconds. I've had reports that were listed as 5 minutes or longer be nothing but silence. And all you can do is listen to it on the highest speed possible. When you're paid on production, wasted time is truly annoying.

Despite the negatives, day in, day out medical transcription is a pretty good job for many people. If you can develop the ear for it the work is quite pleasant and pays well. And of course you get to be at home, which is a reward by itself to many people.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.medicaltranscriptionbasics.com/ for people interested in getting into medical transcription. Learn more about getting quality medical transcription training at her site.
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