Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Setting goals as a newbie MT

In a forum I frequent, I posted this:

What is the realistic goal of # lines/day for a newbie?

How fast usually is the rate of increasing production (say, an increase of 200 lines per day more than the previous production shuld be achievable in how many days/weeks/months?)

Accordingly, how much should the increase in pay to accompany such increase in production, and also increase in quality (i.e., getting out of QA stage)?

Thanks for the info.

To which another forumer answered:

Too many variables to say. Your own base of knowledge and the clarity of your dictation will have a big impact on what you do. If you need to be spending many many minutes replaying fuzzy dictation and/or searching for unheard of words, drugs, etc. in all your references and online, it can really eat up a large part of your day and cut into your production. Also, the familiarity you have with your software will have a lot to do with how fast you crank out files, too.

I won't even comment on the pay because you usually stay at that post-newbie level for quite a long time as a search will show. The companies pay what they want to pay. If you don't like it, you pretty much have to move on. Good luck!

then I replied:

When I was applying, I have seen companies outlining pay based on productivity based on certain ranges, like 400-600/day at 0.05 cpl, moving up as one improves. I have read that some companies require MTs to make 1,200 lines/day to qualify for benefits. I have read MTs making 2000lines per day, and recently there was a post of making 15,000 lines per pay period.

I am getting confused as to what is realistic. I was not sure if those 15,000 to 20,000 lines per pay period were meant to be sarcastic.

I have set a goal for me to reach at least 1000/day to 1200 lines /day, to achieve a pay equivalent to $9/hour on an 8-hr period basing on my current pay level. Right now, having started learning about a new software and quickly learning to utilize its features, I have jumped from 200 plus lines to 600 lines per 8-hr workday within 5 days. This increase is mainly due to the autotext feature, but I think my initial entry of new autotexts for new accounts also slowed me down. Neverthelss, I can foresee this investment of time having its benefits of escalating my production once I have all my autotext and macros etup for all the 10 accounts (mostly ESLs, multi-specialty clinics) I have. Will it be realistic for me to even set my goal to, say, 2000 lines/day?

Plus, though I started at an entry level, I have received feedback from my QAs that I am doing a fantastic job, that my medical terminology is excellent, and that I am very skilled (I have 7 years of previous hospital/multispecialty non-MT job aside from a medical course which included 2 yrs of basic medical sciences plus 1 year of clinical sciences)...and that some of my work (where I left no blanks) needed no change, so, modesty aside, I am predicting I might get out of QA in a matter of few months if not few weeks...I have been observing (through the software feature) that my most of my transcriptions are delivered to the client within 2 hours upon my submission to QA.

I am just trying to arrive at what I should expect that is fair both to me and to my employer, although right now I am very very pleased with my company's system, and would not ever wish to get to the point of hopping to another company (which I might do if I think I am not being paid fairly)...I may sound dumb to you, but I really have no idea...your input will be highly appreciated. Thanks.

Another newbie posted:

That is a lot to chew on. I am about to begin my first job as a recent grad. I am interested in what software your using. I need to buy something. Thanks for the misc. info on line production also.

I emailed her with this:

thought I'd email you in case you didn't read my reply...

The software I use is provided by the company. Nowadays, I think most companies have their own platform, so I would suggest you don't buy a software yet, as some companies require their MTs to buy their software once hired. I also suggest before you sign any contract, verify if you have to purchase/rent anything from the company. I think it is very unfair to us, and they profit not only from their clients but also from MTs. Our pay is not at all decent enough. They should consider that with this business they don't even have to pay for internet, office, telephone lines, etc. A company that requires you to purchase hardware and reference materials is a no-no in my opinion. The internet itself is a very useful tool for researches.

If you want to familiarize yourself with the autotext, I suggest you do something like the following:

I wanted to print the autotext that I have made so far with the sofware I am using. However, the program does not have such a feature (I wish they will come up in the next version), so per dictator, I made a listing of autotext. Some of the "codes" I made were meant for short words such as "hs" to be converted automatically to h.s., to "tpci" to convert automatically to "The patient is coming in." In wanting to customize my autotext to a particular dictator, I wanted to print them accordingly (per dictator). What I did was, while transcribing and using and adding new autotext (which makes me slow at this initial period), I would also make a table in Word of such, The Word automatically corrected my codes by capitalizing the first letter, which I did not want it to do. So I clicked on the help button in Word, and asked how to remove that feature. I then learned that it was the autocorrect feature. I realized it can be used the same way, to build macros and autotext, if you happen to be working for a company that does not have such a software that helps MTs increase productivity. From what I have read, such Word autotexts can be imported into software provided by the company, if they do have addressed that concern.

Honestly, I still don't know at this point if I will be able to achieve that. I am giving myself one month to familiarize myself with all my accounts and prepare macros and templates and atutotext, hoping that I will indeed reach at least 1000 to 1200 lines per day, or more, without having to have a 100 wpm typing speed. I only have 45-65, and I doubt that that will change. I can type faster if I am typing my own thoughts, but not when I have to listen to a dictation and pause and type and play and listen and pause and type.

Right now while still getting acquainted with the autotext I have made and trying to create a method for me to organize my approach in typing for certain dictators, I am making barely above 400 to less than 600 lines per day, sometimes working more than 8 hours in a day.

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