The simple act of working as an MT provides an individual with continuing education. As we listen to dictation and our fingers fly across the keys, something unique is happening-we are absorbing information that is being stored in our memory banks. The best example of that is that while watching a nature show about gorillas recently and hearing the narrator start to talk about tracing the male gorilla’s ancestry back to the original female, I made the comment to my husband that they do this by using mitochondrial DNA because mitochondrial DNA is only passed through the female line.
Shortly after I completed my comment, the narrator said the exact same thing. My husband was curious as to how I knew that and I proudly said “I learned it while working on my genetic medical reports!” By truly listening to and not just hearing what is transcribed, the MT gains a valuable education in any and all specialties they work on. There are exciting facts to be learned if one just listens. Much of what we learn while transcribing becomes second nature-we hear it so often we know when a term is off kilter or just not quite right.
In addition, the constant research that needs to be done when coming into contact with new terminology, new medical devices, and new medical procedures provides us with a continuing education. In order to know that what we are typing is accurate, we must understand the meaning of new terminology, the function of a new device, or the purpose of a new procedure. Therefore we are absorbing new information on an almost daily basis. The Internet provides endless avenues for research.
As you research a new medical word or a new procedure, take a few moments to read the article that surrounds it-print it out for reading at your leisure. The Internet is one avenue for obtaining new knowledge, but there are others. If you work in a medical office setting, take the time to ask the doctor questions-you would be surprised at how often they are willing to expound on their area of expertise. Television can often be another avenue for continued learning. Some of the educational channels often show programs having to do with the health sciences and the newest technologies being used-you can learn fascinating things about Genetics, Cardiology, Plastic Surgery, Orthopedics, and other medical specialties this way.
For some MTs there is a unique way of increasing their knowledge-one that hopefully not many have to partake of too often. In our daily lives we all receive medical care in some form or fashion. This may involve procedures that you hear on a regular basis while transcribing, but have no idea of how they really function, such as an IVP or a renal arteriogram. I had always imagined an IVP (intravenous pyelogram) as something complicated until I had to have one done and discovered “oh, it’s an x-ray done with contrast dye while lying on an x-ray table.”
Not nearly as scary as it sounded. When I had to have a renal arteriogram, I immediately asked the doctor if I would be able to watch. Thanks to an anesthetic that did not put me to sleep, I paid very close attention to the overhead screens and watched the doctor perform this delicate procedure. I now have a real understanding of what a renal arteriogram is when I type those words because I can actually visualize it.
Whatever form continuing education takes, as MT’s it is extremely important that we continue to learn and obtain new information, thereby making ourselves proficient experts in our profession.