Friday, April 01, 2005

My 1st week of job...

I have spent a total of 1 week in this job from Friday of last week, and I'd say that our software is amazing and really meant to increase productivity.

Well, Friday was "getting-to-know" more about the software and my initial 4 dictators. My production that time was so sliw, but I was maximizing my autotext feature (embedded in the software) and that added to my slowness. Building up my autotext database may be slow, but it will be my tool to make my production explode later.

Monday morning, theres wa not much to do, and I was asking my employer about it. Well, since my dictators are in CA, and I am in ME, that means we have a 3-hour difference in time. What were available to me early in the morning were leftover from the weekend. Then I had to wait til 11 a.m. before the dictation files came pouring in.

However, on Tuesday, I stil found a lot of vacant times, and I had a dictator that talked rapidly, that I asked my employer whether she could try to match me to other dictators who were dictating more slowly. I specifically asked to be tried on their ESLs, since I am an ESL myself, that I thought I might find it eaay to listen to them, since I am so used to hearing foreign tongues, even had Chinese, Japanese, British, Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi patients/correspondents before, aside from exposure to American tongues, thanks to western movie and TV shows.

Hence it was because of such a correspondence with my employer that the next day, Wednesday, she did give me a trial flow on several dictators, both ESLs and Americans, which kept me glued to the computer the whole day. The good thing is I found these dictators to be rather easy, such that, instead of having only 6-8 dictators in my pool, I now have 11 (minus the difficult rapid talker) in my pool! Now I will never run out of dictation files to transcribe! The most recent addition was a podiatrist, and that is soooo easy! Imagine concentrating on the feet! Anatomy of the foot is easy for me to listen to (though I vaguely recall the exact anatomy of it, hearing the terms brings them back to memory). Anyway, I got a goooood flow of work that Tuesday, trying new dictators. I made about 400+ lines that day. That night I printed out several reports for each dictator and familiarized myself with their styles, and made some shortcuts (autotext) for phrases that they routinely use. I love the autotext feature. Imagine, I can type something like "rsmb" and the text will automatically be converted to "I reinforced self multi-breast examination, daily calcium needs and exercise," or "tcph" for "The patient is coming in with a history of." Isn't that cool? Now it is not too puzzling for me to read in forums and employer requirements of making 2000 lines per day. Imagine, if you are making a radiology transcription and they have a template for every report where you only have to enter values for measurements, that would be easy to reach! However, at the end of my 1st week, I only came to about 600 lines. I hope that with the autotext feature I will be able toa chieve my targeted goal of at least 1000 lines per day, or even 1200 per day, plus I also hope that my QAs will recommend my removal from QA stage, meaning they won't have to edit my work, only to fill in blanks, which will then also lead to increase in pay.

Thursday was slow, and apparently it had something to do with the spring break in CA, such that most of the drs might be out with their kids. I had some dictation that came pouring in more regularly later that afternoon, but I had to prepare supper.

With the schedule in mind, my thoughts went to planning ahead for the summer, particularly working on my garden. I thought that I could use the early hours in the morning to transcribe leftover of the previous day, then go out and attend to the garden, have lunch before 11, start working from 11 a.m. through 5 p.m., take a break for cooking and eating supper, then work some more for additional 2 hours to make it an 8-hr job. If I would be too tired to do that, I have the option to just be lazy at night.

Friday, since I had not much to do in the morning, I checked my production. The software also has an automatic counting-line feature based on a 65-cpl (characters per line), and I transcribed 2187 in my first week, and of these, the delivered transcriptions were 2032, which at $0.07/65-cpl would translate to $142.24 in my first week of work. Not bad for a ramp-up period, especially that I don't have to buy wardrobe and gasoline and, best of all, don't have to kiss somebody else's ass. Just plain work and that's it. My first paycheck would come, however, at the end of April, then it will be bimonthly. My employer is also working on a direct-deposit method of payment. I really like her, and I am very satisfied with the system; I only now need to see how good my boss is when it comes to giving the salary of her MTs (i.e., on time) .

The rest of the day went quite smoothly with all these dictators, but since I started at 11, I felt it was still early when my boys were back from school. You know how it feels to want to go on, but you have to stop because you have to attend to your family's needs first. AT least, it is a good thing that after supper, I can go back and work some more, pile the dishes in the sink filled with water to keep the debris soft, attend to it the next morning when there is less work (actually optional work on a weekend). Before I was to conclude my work that night, I noted I made about 513 in 8 hours, but I noticed the appearance of a new dictator, the podiatrist, and I got intrigued as to how I would do with him. So I extended some more, made extra 35 lines and achieved a total of 602 lines in 9 hours. Hmmm...podiatrist dictator may be easy, but his notes are so short that I spend more time verifying and entering the demographics than transcribing the actual case. So he is not much of an increase in my productivity. But then, more of my slowness also could be attributed to my researching effort to familiarize myself with his style, his terms, especially for procedures and what he uses, but once I learned, I made autotext of these again, also of phrases such as "ico" for "Informed consent was obtained for," "spd" for "sterilely prepped and draped," and "aisd" for "alcohol irrigation, sterile dressing." I'm sure he will be easier.

The next day, Saturday, my ever-loving sweet and thoughtful hubby went to Wal-Mart and surprised me with an ergonomic chair (he even bought me a gel pad to protect my wrist after I complained about it that night after my first day of working. What can I say? Life may not be so easy, but I sure don't feel empty.

My work is exciting enough that I am learning and reviewing medical cases, akin to being an apprentice of these doctors, only without having to be their assistant. My researching on the net about their cases is like reviewing the pathophysiology of these illnesses and seeing the logic in the management. Very good exposure to the system here. I also learn their brands of drugs which are the equivalent of what I used to prescribe in PI for such common symptoms as fever, headache, joint pains, etc.

But I am not considering this to be a long-term career unless it becomes my own business. I am just using this jobs as a means to an end: to get either in a medical practice or in a medical teaching (clinical instructor or public health) position. I am still considering the possibility of being a doctor and having the MT business on the side. Having this MT job as a bridge for me to reach the other side just made me realize I do have a lot of options there waiting for me...

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