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Your First Medical Transcription Job

Before you sit down at your keyboard on that exciting first day of your first medical transcription job, know this: you’ll get off to a much slower start than you ever imagined. This is normal.

The production speed you’ll be able achieve when starting your first medical transcription job will most likely be a fraction of what you were hoping for. Rest assured, you’ll get much faster — it’s just going take longer than you thought it would.

The average full-time medical transcriptionist transcribes somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 lines per day. It’s routine for new medical transcriptionists to notch 500 lines per day or less — standard, run-of-the-mill, routine. You’ll have a lot of things to accomplish, including

  • Learning the transcription platform

  • Getting to know the formatting styles and transcription rules of accounts you work on

  • Starting to build up your expander file and library of sample reports

  • Becoming familiar with dictator idiosyncrasies

At the same time, you’ll face the traditional hurdles of new employment — meeting your supervisor, learning the processes for tracking your work and managing administrative matters, and generally learning the ropes at your new employer.

None of this would be remotely as stressful if you weren’t being paid on production, and this is where a little mind game can come in handy: Think of your first month on the job as a continuation of your medical transcription training program.

You paid for that training — you’re getting this training for free! As silly as that may sound, it can take the stress off if you consider this learning time and not earning time.

Most new medical transcriptionists also do battle with the issue of perfection. They’ll go to extremes to avoid those terrible, self-esteem-busting blanks. In fact, that’s one of the chief productivity killers: spending tons of time trying to pin down a mystery word rather than leaving a blank.

Do the best you can, but cut yourself some slack, too. As a new medical transcriptionist transcribing dictators you’ve never heard before (some of them probably horribly awful beyond belief), no matter how hard you try, some of your reports are going to have more holes than a block of Swiss cheese. You may actually also format a heading incorrectly or misplace a comma. Horrors!

Fortunately, someone’s got your back, and those imperfect reports will never reach a patient’s chart. As part of the quality assurance (QA) process, every report you transcribe will automatically be put “on hold” and reviewed by an experienced medical transcriptionist before being released to the client. That will remain in place until you get the hang of things.

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