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A new consideration for a career and one that is slowly gaining recognition in South Africa is that of the Medical Transcriptionist (MT). A medical transcriptionist as defined by the US Department of Labor as follows: "Use transcribing machines with headset and foot pedal to listen to recordings by physicians and other healthcare professionals dictating a variety of medical reports, such as emergency room visits, diagnostic imaging studies, operations, chart reviews, and final summaries.
It also involves "Transcribing dictated reports and translating medical jargon and abbreviations into their expanded forms. Editing them as necessary and returning reports in either printed or electronic form to the dictator for review and signature, or correction."
In essence, a MT takes the digital record made by a doctor, physiotherapist, or other medical professional and transforms it into an accurate written representation of the encounter between medical professional and patient.
Being a medical transcriptionist is not an easy field to be involved in. Doctors are often required to dictate in places that are far from ideal for doing so making it harder for the transcriptionist to turn the file into an accurate record.
Particular care and attention is required to be taken when transcribing medical records as an error in transcription could potentially lead to serious complications. Imagine if you are typing a pre-operative medical report and the doctor inadvertently switches from the right to the left side of the body.
If the MT is not paying attention and continues to type the report incorrectly then a patient could have surgery on the incorrect side.
As a MT you will also be required to stay constantly up to date with the latest technology and advances being made by medical science. If you enjoy doing internet research and are not put off by long and complicated medical terms then being a Medical Transcriptionist could be the job for you.