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Going to school without leaving home
Online Learning Takes Discipline
By Jean Griffin, Exact Med Medical Transcription Online student
10 December 2007

      My name is Jean Griffin; I live in Seabrook, Texas with my husband and two sons. My daughter is away at college.

      Seabrook is about five miles east of NASA's Johnson Space Center, about 30 miles north of Galveston. I admire how this mostly middle income area, on the extreme outskirts of the Houston metroplex, strives to preserve the ecology of Galveston Bay. The community is a bird sanctuary with many parks and hiking and jogging trails. As you can imagine, it's a great place to live.

Jean Griffin and daughter Kristen
Jean Griffin, Exact Med medical transcription student, with her 21-year-old daughter Kristen, a college senior. Her oldest son, 23, goes to a community college and works part-time and her youngest son, 18, is in his last year of high school.

      About a year ago, the idea appealed to me of getting professional training in the medical transcription field to earn a reasonable income. My educational background includes two years of college without a degree. I was mainly a homemaker, did home schooling for nine years, and my work background includes clerical and retail experience.

      My first knowledge of the medical transcription profession came from my mother who did a home study medical transcription course in the mid 1960s, and worked as a transcriptionist until 1996. I know she was one of the best. I still have her Dorland's medical dictionary that was copyrighted in 1965.

      When I began searching for online colleges that offered transcription education, I found that none of the "big names" were recommended by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity. After going to the AHDI website and calling them, I found a very small list of recommended schools and Exact Med (United Tribes Technical College) was among them. The AHDI's description said it was unique in that it taught transcription for acute care. That appealed to me because, although my goal is to work at home, I would also be qualified to work in a hospital.

      It's not often you get to speak with the creator of a program, but when I visited with Renee Becker, Exact Med founder and the program's director at UTTC, I was impressed. Since enrolling in the program in February 2007, my experience has been very positive. Lynelle Lawler and Renee are always quick to answer emails and provide encouragement. The online access through UTTC is excellent. I am also pleased with the great emphasis on knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and medicine, which is needed in the job itself. In the first phase of the program, Ellen Forderer posed interesting essay question assignments that caused me to delve a little deeper into topics we were covering.

      I have to admit that getting back into an effective learning routine was difficult. I had been out of school for a couple of decades and needed structure. Years ago I was a good student, but could have been better. I'm not entirely sure that I'm a better student now, but I am clearly aware of how crucial this course is to my future. I think that's something we don't fully realize when we're younger.

      What helped about getting back into the routine was having a schedule with deadlines. I needed very much to create a routine, because I struggled at the outset to get work done at the last minute.

      Now that I have entered the actual transcription part of the program I am left to make my own schedule and turn in assignments regularly. I have to say that I need to be more disciplined. As most people know, family circumstances and life have a way of presenting themselves on their own schedule. Having a routine can help smooth out the ups and downs. I have learned that my best time is in the early morning, even before sunrise. That's when I need to start working.

      As I think about it now, I wish I had asked my mother more about her experiences. She didn't talk much about her job, although she did say that certain doctors were difficult to understand and that co-workers would try to strike up conversations while she was typing. She worked in a hospital, and I bet she would have loved the opportunity to work at home.

Jean Griffin is on track to complete her training in mid summer 2008. She can be reached at tscribegriffin@yahoo.com. For more information about UTTC's Exact Med Medical Transcription Program contact Renee Becker, rbecker@uttc.edu, 701-355-4608. Editor


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