Medical transcription is a flexible, versatile career which can be performed in a variety of settings. Medical transcriptionist Valarie Barrett, like many other transcriptionists, works out of her home, typing up medical reports on her home computer.
“Some days I do 40 reports in 3 hours, other days I only get through a dozen reports,” says Barrett, who was interviewed by Allied Health Schools. “It depends on the individual exam.”
Like most medical transcriptionists, Barrett is employed by a hospital, though she works remotely via the Internet. She works part time, usually logging about three hours a day when it is convenient for her schedule.
“When I’m available to work, I just dial into the hospital and get whatever exam is waiting to be done,” she says. “To do a report I dial into the hospital through a Dictaphone machine, which is like a telephone with headphones, then I punch in my code and it patches me into the hospital. The doctor tells me who the patient is. I bring up the program on the computer and find the patient and the correct exam.”
After finishing the report, she presses a key to send it back to the hospital, then takes the next one.
Many medical transcriptionists work from home, as hospitals sometimes conserve office space to accommodate more medical services. Though most hospital-employed transcriptionists work regular 40-hour weeks, it is common for self-employed transcriptionists to organize their work hours to match their own schedules. This allows them the flexibility to get their own errands done, spend time with family, or hold other jobs on the side.
“I love being able to work anytime,” Barrett says. “After I had kids, I really couldn’t work full-time, so the flexible hours have allowed me to make some extra money and still be here for my kids.”
The main requirement for this type of work, however, is self-discipline.
“I’m task oriented and self-motivated,” Barrett says. “I like to have a chunk of work to do and get it done. It’s like I’m in a competition with myself, how many lines can I get done today.”
Besides the personal flexibility of being able to make your own work schedule, medical transcription often allows the ability to expand as you see fit. Transcriptionists can pursue further training to do transcription in other medical fields, increasing both their employability and their income.
“I’m only working part-time, but if I worked full-time and had the inclination to expand my job, the transcription service I work for would train me to do pathology, emergency medicine, surgical, orthopedics,” she says. “It’s a job where you can keep growing and learning.”