Ten Tips for Prospective Medical Transcriptionists

2Ascribe Inc. is a medical transcription agency in Toronto, in business since 1992.  All our transcriptionists and editors are professional qualified.  We often receive phone calls from both people looking at medical transcription as a career, and from medical transcriptionists who are looking for a position with a medical transcription agency.

If you phone a transcription company looking for information about starting a medical transcription agency, be respectful.  You are asking someone to take time out of their business day to help you with your business, and even to help you go into competition with them.  Offer something in return, such as a piece of marketing information that you’ve found, or a helpful comment on what you liked about their website.

If you’re looking for information about medical transcription as a career, do your homework first.  When you call a medical transcription agency, only ask questions that you can’t find answers to on their website or from researching various medical transcription training courses.

When contacting a prospective medical transcription agency, it’s smart to consider these factors.

  1. Who to speak to:  ask for the name of the person in the medical transcription agency who is responsible for hiring or awarding contracts with transcriptionists.
  2. Time of day to call:  when you call, ask if it’s a good time to be calling, or if there is a better time to call back to speak to the appropriate person. Surprisingly, most contacts from prospective or job hunting transcriptionists come in the morning, by telephone, right in the middle of the busy time of our day.
  3. Know who you’re calling:  check out their website.  Many transcription agencies have a link on their website which allows you to submit your resume online.  A follow-up phone call within a few days to confirm they received it is appropriate.  And mention something you found that interests on their website.  You never know when you may have a chance to ‘sell yourself’ on the phone when you call to confirm.
  4. Respect people’s time:  the medical transcription agency you’re calling is your prospective client.  They have something you want; on the other hand, they might not be interested in what you have to offer at this time.
  5. Be prepared:  if you’re a new transcriptionist, when you’re asked what experience you have, tell them how many practicum hours you have and what specialties you’re most proficient in.  Be ready to share one or two ‘value’ points about yourself.  It could be that you type 82 words a minute, or that you were the top in your class in English grammar.  Know what your strengths are and be prepared to present them quickly in a positive manner.
  6. Experience counts:  when you’re told that they only hire transcriptionists with experience, don’t respond negatively.
  7. Persevere:  we recently engaged a medical transcriptionist who first contacted us three years ago; her persistence paid off when we were looking for someone with her qualifications.
  8. Resumes:  inquire how long they keep resumes on file.  Make a note and resubmit as often as reasonable.  Find out if they want hard copies or soft copies.  Find out how they want soft copies submitted – through their web page or by email.  And make sure there are zero spelling or grammatical mistakes in your resumé.  We recently received an expensive marketing piece from a transcription company with a glaring spelling mistake.
  9. Get creative to get experience:  offer to extend your practicum if you are unable to find a paid position if they will give you a reference.  Find a physician who is currently handwriting their notes and offer to transcribe their dictation at a reduced rate for a specific length of time (either provide a digital recorder or ask them to purchase one).  You’ll stay in practise and optimize your opportunities to gain experience.  If you are strong in English grammar, offer to proofread transcribed documents for grammar only.  You’ll still get experience reading transcribed documents, and continue to build your medical vocabulary.
  10. Be ready:  if you are fortunate to be offered a trial period, make sure you’re ready to go.  Be ready with your computer, high speed Internet, up-do-date anti-virus software and firewall software, Microsoft Word, foot pedal, medical spellchecker, and a list of resources for checking everything from drug names to grammar.

We wish you all the best in your quest for a medical transcriptionist position.

Check our medical transcription dictation tips next month to learn more.

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