Saturday, December 24, 2005

Sample calendar pages I made from hp's activity center

For those who might want to consider giving family calendars as gifts to relatives/in-laws next Christmas, this is a good idea.

You will need photos to feature for each month, a pack of brochure n flyer paper from hp (free overnight shipping this season, $12.99, 50 sheets, double-sided), Adobe reader, a high-quality photo printer, and lots of ink (I recommend refilling instead of buying the cartridges).

Go to hp Activity Center page to start creating your calendar online (before you do this, you should have edited your photos -- cropping, effects, noise-reduction, red-eye fix, etc) using their very own software. Each month is created as one Adobe PDF file. Warning -- quite a long process, so better do one month at a time and save in your computer. Then just print near Christmas time.

Here is a sample month of my output using this method:

You may also want to consider downloading templates from Microsoft Office. One I particulaly liked was the Word photo 2006 calendar but it is so time-consuming to change the photos to use my own. (It can be done if you know how to manipulate the picture formatting and all that).

Also, if you like giving personalized birthday cards, you can buy HP photo greeting cards (which also ships overnight for free this season, $9.99 20 sheets, pre-scored, with envelopes). Either you use their software online like what I did with the calendar, or you may use the software that comes with the pack (a pleasant surprise for me! I used it to send cards to friends. It was easy to use and the photos came out nice too!).

Naku ha, dapat bayaran ako ng HP for plugging their products!

Friday, December 02, 2005

I am having fun!

Starting November, I started taking online review classes for NCLEX (Kaplan). At first I was so enthusiastic, spending hours listening to the boring, at times ridiculously wrong, lectures of the speaker (I would often fall asleep!). Then I started taking "breaks" by revamping my resume and applying to every MT company that would allow satellite users, with work either using FTP and Word, or ASP platform.

After more than 6 months of doing clinic work in various specialties and various accents, I felt more confident that I would easily breeze through any type of dictation, as long as the dictator is reasonably clear. So I revised the experience part of my MT experience, saying that I had more than two years of transcribing clinic work (2 in PI, >6 mos here). That way, even with online MT tests (service provided by for several MT companies), I was able to pass the screening and personal info stages, and got through to the most important part of the tests, the objective and the audio/transcription. Some of these MT companies delayed the audio testing until they have reviewed the results of the preliminary stages, then they let me go on to the audio. Some allowed med to go straight to the audio as soon as I passed the preceding portion of the exam. I must admit that the audio is always the most daunting part for me, not because of lack of knowledge on the subject, because I can easily research them on the net as long as the dictator is clear, whether American or ESL. But I have had dictators who are American mumblers/sighers whose words I could only guess at...(they always give me migraine attacks!)

Anyway, I spent the past two weeks doing mostly that and neglecting my NCLEX review (or doing half an hour at a time -- I should be guilty!).

Two small companies called me and gave me false hopes of audio testing...never materialized and never heard any more from them.

One BIG company emailed me with a job offer already. Of course, I accepted that right away. Although I was skeptic at first, as I went on with their process, the more respect I developed for the company. Theirs was really stat-of-the-art technology! I had an online training yesterday, seeing my trainor's desktop superimposed on my own as she demonstrates using her cursor how she does things on her end and how I should do things. She was talking with me on the phone while explaining the features of the software. Of course, I had to login to the web conference that we had to be granted access to her desktop. That was the most awesome online training I have experienced so far. I was thinking, other small MT companies might lose their businesses if they do not ride this wave of technology. In the meantime, I am keeping myself updated with these kind of technological advancement in health information.

Prior to that training I received an email from another company where I applied either as an MT (despite my lack of years in experience; they required min of 3 yrs), or as MT editor for which I was fully qualified (medical background). I believe I received a message on the phone from them the next day upon submission of my online application (no tests whatsoever, as far as I can remember). I had been returning their call in the subsequent days, but was answered only by an answering machine. I gave up, only to receive an email after a week asking me if I was still interested. Of course, I was interested to know if they could give a better offer than the one I have now.

This morning I received a call from the same person (if I heard him right), and he said I passed their test (I was stumped, as I do not recall testing with them at all! But then again, I have tested several times, and only later did I make a printed copy of every test I did with each company I applied to that did allow me to test.). He arranged for a 15-minute talk on Tuesday next week. I have to get ready as to what I could possibly ask him. Time to post in the forums again.

It's nice to know that I can get a job (no matter how low the pay is) while staying at home and reviewing for NCLEX (I still believe that nursing is a more stable and more financially rewarding job than MT), or reviewing for USMLE (if and when I decide to pursue the medical career).

I am predicting more phone calls next week.

Oh, BTW, they never checked my past employment in PI. In this MT job, the important thing is that you can deliver.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


If you are a doctor who is considering doing MT as a sideline, below are some links from which you can download several audio files to see whether you have what it takes to do this job.

But before that, download first the Express Scribe to play the digital files. Once you have downloaded this software, then download the audio files from the below links and save them in a folder in your computer (make sure you know where you save them).

Here are the links: - you must answer first the written portion to get to the audio (don't worry, that part is the easiest!). - these are zipped folders. Once you have downloaded the zipped files, unzip them first (rt-click then "Extract all...")

Once you have all (or even just one if you would just like to try this and not seriously considering doing this as a sideline) the audio files downloaded and unzipped as needed, open the Express Scribe and LOAD the dictations from the folder where you saved them, and type away! You can type directly onto Word while listening to the audio, and see the final outcome of your work. If you were the client, ask yourself this: "Would I want the medical records of my patients appear and filed like this?" That is your true assessment if you have done a good job or not.

Caution: Pangtawid lang ang MT for a more stable healthcare job. I'd go for either RN or MD pa rin. Truth is, either ma-offshore most of the MT work, or pag pinagbawal ng HIPAA regulations any offshoring of medical records eh wala nang mag-offshore (which I doubt will happen). So pag sinwerte kayo, you might be able to do this as a sideline directly hired by one MT company here in the US (wag na as employee ng middleman MT company in PI), as an at-home job.