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Medical Transcription Ideal Career for Military Spouses, Navy Vet Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2007 – When Leslie Slusarski got out of the Navy in 1979, her fast-paced military lifestyle didn’t change. Her husband, Walter, was a weapons officer for submarines, so her family still had to move every 18 months or so.

Slusarski was able to find a rewarding career that meshed well with her lifestyle -- medical transcription, which she says other military spouses should consider.

Medical transcription is an in-demand, technically oriented career field that can be done from almost anywhere, said Slusarski, who has worked in the career field for 28 years.

“I was able to be at home with my kids, and I always had a job,” Slusarski recalled of her medical transcription career while her husband served in the Navy.

Medical transcription “worked out great for me,” she said.

People in the medical transcription field translate and transcribe patient medical records, including diagnoses, treatments, prognoses and outcomes from oral to written form on paper or electronically, according to the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity, formerly known as the American Association for Medical Transcription.

Slusarski, an 18-year resident of Bremerton, Wash., served five years as a Navy corpsman. Her husband retired after 25 years in the Navy, many of those spent aboard a submarine.

After leaving the Navy as a petty officer 2nd class, Slusarski found administrative work –- and her medical transcription career -- at a doctor’s office.

“They just asked me to transcribe some tapes one day, and it went from there,” she recalled.

Slusarski performed medical transcription work at doctors’ offices and hospitals for the first part of her career, she recalled. Later, the interfacing of computers and the Internet enabled her to work from home.

The medical transcription field has evolved from a time when practitioners would use audiocassette tapes, typewriters and carbon paper, Slusarski said.

“Now we use a digital dictation system, (and) everything is done over the Internet,” she said. “It’s all routed and printed electronically.”

Today, during her daily at-home work routine, Slusarski accesses a secure computer connection to transcribe medical records from physicians’ real-time audio notations. Completed transcriptions are automatically moved into electronic medical records files and printed, she said.

“You press the ‘finished’ key and the computer takes care of it from there,” Slusarski said. “The server routes it to printers and to electronic folders, as needed.”

The medical transcription career field is especially attractive to military spouses who experience frequent moves, she said, because they can take their jobs with them. “You can continue with your company when you move and won’t have to start all over again,” Slusarski pointed out.

And, since most companies allow employees to complete their daily transcription work within 12 hours, time-conscious military spouses usually have plenty of time to attend to their children’s needs and other business.

Military spouses interested in the medical transcription career field should contact the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity or other medical transcription associations and get a mentor, Slusarski suggested.

“Being involved with the local association, you’re able to meet other transcriptionists and military spouses in the same situation that you’re in,” she said. “It helps that there’s somebody there who understands the military lifestyle.”

The departments of Defense and Labor are collaborating with the AHDI and the Medical Transcription Industry Association to promote the medical transcription field as a viable career for military spouses.

Leslye A. Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy, discussed how education and networking with other government and civilian organizations can assist military spouses in obtaining satisfying, rewarding careers at a medical transcription association and education seminar last night in Jacksonville, Fla.

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Leslye A. Arsht

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Mission Medical Transcription: A Career That Moves With You!

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