Life as an MT trainee, or something like it

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m in training. I’ve had a year off work now, not by choice, but  not a bad idea. I needed a break. The trouble with me is that I can’t stay idle for too long. I start to feel a sense of ‘purposeless’..if there is such a thing. You know what I mean. Anybody that is used to being self sufficient and able to support themselves, likes to be independent and likes to have their own means will know what I’m talking about.

So here I was, planning my next career move, so to speak. I thought about a lot of things that I could do, and I thought about what I wanted to do. I wanted to earn an income, that was true. But I didn’t want to have to go too far to do it. Living on an island can be a good thing, but it presents limited job opportunities, so commuting to and from the island was a necessity rather than a choice, which I soon tired of.

There were plenty of online courses for one thing or another, and plenty of online businesses that delivered their training courses online. I looked around for a while and I came across something that didn’t seem like a scam with a giant cyber banner touting the benefits of earning money from home.

MT transcription. Or for the layman, medical transcription typing. Sounds pretty basic eh? I’d worked in administration for years. I’d run offices and worked as a secretary and done plenty of dictaphone typing in my time. I could type. Piece of cake. Uh-huh.

I’d studied before, at colleges and universities. I knew what I was in for. The course was for one year. I’d studied in various capacities for well over ten years. I weighed up the pros and cons and opened up my wallet.

First up, I’d never seen so many textbooks. There were books on basic computer function. Ok, I got through that module without too much fuss. I was doing fine. There were other books on grammar and punctuation. To be a good transcriptionist you had to have a handle on good grammar. Fair enough. I thought I had a good grasp of the English language  until I got thrown a curve ball with prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, determiners…not to mention good old pronouns, written all over it. It was going to be a long course.

Right now I’m about half way through. I’ve only just started the transcription side of things. I’ve been too busy with the theory – anatomy and physiology, medical specialities, diagnostic reports, building the medical record, perfecting the text (yet another one on grammar). I was in textbook hell. But I got through it. And now I’m  onto something far  more difficult. Typing 750 different real-life practice reports with real-life doctors who mumble, stumble, chew, yawn, speed read, drawl, and come out with things I didn’t know existed in the world as we know it.

They tell me that by the time I have finished this course I will have been exposed to most possible scenarios in the workplace, and I will be prepared for anything.  I’m looking forward to that one. But right now I’ve got another 670 reports to do that seem to multiply when I’m not looking. I’m like the veritable bunny caught in the headlights. Mesmerized by the bright lights, and too daft to get out of the way.

I reached the pinnacle today when I transcribed a report from a doctor who I thought must have had a speech impediment. Nobody could speak that badly, but I guess recording their notes on a digital file is only one step up from their handwriting. That is why they have secretaries and transcriptionists. They make the world a more structured, and orderly place.

Me structured and orderly? That remains to be seen. But I am, in some perverted way, enjoying the challenge.


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