Medical Transcriptionist: Nature and Risks of the Job
The healthcare sector is one of the industries where steady and gainful employment can be found. Aside from
doctors, nurses, medical technologists and physical therapists, another profession allied with the healthcare
industry where many opportunities for work can be found is medical transcription. Successful medical
transcriptionists can stand to earn as much as $21 an hour and the more experienced ones even have the
luxury of working from home.
However, this profession is not for everybody. If you want to become a medical transcriptionist, you should be
able to handle the rigors and potential risks of the job.
The nature of the work of medical transcriptionists involves listening to recordings made by healthcare
professionals and turn them into written medical reports, discharge summaries, medical history,
correspondence, operative reports, autopsy reports, diagnostic imaging studies and other materials. In many
instances, they use a headset to listen to the materials and use a foot pedal to pause the recordings. Of course,
they transcribe the materials in a computer with a word processing program. Part of their duties include editing
the reports for grammatical and punctuation errors. These documents are then handed back to the physicians
or other healthcare professional who asked them to be transcribed for final review and signature before they
become a permanent part of a patient's hospital record.
If a healthcare practitioner, especially those who specialize in radiology or pathology, uses speech recognition
technology that has the capability of automatically translating electronic sound into text, the job of a medical
transcriptionist is to format the generated text into standard reports and ensure that the these are translated
correctly with correct grammar and punctuation. It is also part of their responsibility to check that the reports
make sense and are medically consistent. For medical transcriptionists who are employed with physicians,
other duties like receiving patients, scheduling appointments and answering phone and mails may also be
Transcribers who are affiliated with institutions like hospitals and other health organizations are expected to
work standard 40-hour weeks. However, those who are based in their home offices usually have the advantage
of setting their own hours or of being on-call (depending on the agreement) and can work in the evenings and
even during weekends.
Because of the long periods of sitting and typing, the usual ailments that come with occupations like these
are also experienced by medical transcriptionists. These include repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel
syndrome, wrist and back problems. Headaches brought about by staring for long periods in front of the
computer screen can also be a problem. However, the use of ergonomic work spaces and computer equipment
can help alleviate these health issues. And because this is a sedentary occupation, the risk of getting too
comfortable with minimal movement can make medical transcriptionists gain weight which can cause obesity
and its related health conditions. Regular exercise and a proper diet are necessary to ensure continued health
In a nutshell, these describe the nature and health risks of the job of a medical transcriptionist. If you feel you
can handle these, then this is the career for you.
If you believe that you have what it takes to be a Medical Transcriptionist, then the first step is the Certified Medical Transcriptionist Exam Study Guide that walks you through the entire Medical Transcriptionist hiring process.
For more information, go to our page for the Certified Medical Transcriptionist Exam Study Guide.