Words form the basic element of a language and in turn of communication. Medical transcription too is in fact a medium of communication. The transcript such produced by a medical transcriptionist is essentially a bridging link between the doctor and the patient, the patient and the hospital and the patient and insurance company. Medical transcription also needs acumen, particularly listening acuity, making it not only a written form of communication but also a heard form of communication between the doctor and the transcriber. It is therefore obvious that between a good pair of ears there is an alert and sharp mind. Words will not convey a message unless there is a logical interconnection and bond between them.
What is most helpful to medical transcription is a good stockpile of words, or a “treasure house” you can say, where all the treasure are not gold, diamond or gems but words. Although some of you may be of the view that in reality there is no direct modality of monetizing your vocabulary, I do find it rewarding in blogging, especially with this blog; hence it is a wise area to invest in. How to invest in words? Quite simple. Read, read and read. May be you’re giving a sarcastic look at me while I’m saying this with a thought in your deep mind, “where the hell do I have time for all these humbugs among my busy medical transcription career?” but it’s a fact that reading will still make you a better medical transcriptionist. There is nothing that stimulates the mind more than reading. Any reading material, curt or extensive, as long as knowledgeable, is a source of wealth of words. However, don’t just read for the sake of reading. Learn from it. For every new word that you come across, refer it in the dictionary. Know its meaning and pronunciation. Memorize the spelling. Try using it in a sentence in a conversation. If unable to memorize the meaning, try the thesaurus to find a synonym; after all, the thesaurus literally means “treasury.” For example, the word “urticaria” has synonymous terms of “hives,” “nettle rash,” “urtication,” etc., and related words of “wheals,” “rash,” “roseola,” “efflorescence,” etc. A patient suffering from allergic reaction is prone to manifest these and the dictation may come across any of these. Similarly the word “nervous” is in synonymous with “anxious,” “worried,” “edgy,” “jumpy,” “panicky,” “tense,” “uneasy,” “nervy,” “agitated,” etc., and antonymous with “calm.” The dictation may not always contain all, but word association and synonyms and antonyms would help you with your hindsight. You can actually second-guess what the physician is going to say; although it is not allowed to supplant the doctor’s words with your own, but that word you could not decipher from the dictator could be solved by scrounging your memory bank. (Let’s hope the physicians dictate in accordance with the guidelines provided in Tips for Dictating Physicians).
Therefore, feed (nurture and nourish) your mind. Do some extra reading (peruse and probe). Befriend (associate and fraternize with) Webster and Roget and their Internet equivalents. Investing in all these little extras in the long run will amount to a huge advantage not only in your medical transcription career but also in other areas where communication and proficiency are crucial. The positive repercussions are endless which include but not limited to writing understandable e-mails and letters, communicating your thoughts in business meetings, writing better research papers, giving memorable speeches that make long-lasting impressions etc. Allowing your eyes and mind to immerse in a company of words is personally and professionally enriching and empowering.
To sum it up, here is a list of vocabulary development activities.
To begin with, start learning the words more of your trade language – the words that are commonly used in your business or vocation. Find better, clearer words to express your thoughts.
To improve your word-hoard quickly and effectively, there should be self determination. Where there is a will, there is a way! Determine to add one new word every day or two to your vocabulary. For the ease of it, you may subscribe to any “word of the day” mailing list available on the Internet to be delivered in your inbox or desktop.
There is no better way to improve your vocabulary than to read books. Read whatever you can; whenever you get some idle time, read a variety of genres, no matter it is poetry, fiction or novel or any interesting article on the Internet. Forget these, hope you have the habit of grazing the dailies at least. While reading, whenever you come across a new word, refer the thesaurus, know the synonyms, and write it down to use it later. Try the crossword puzzles in the dailies. Even a word puzzle game with kids is a great idea!
Watching TV, films or news and listening to the radio or music? Came across a new word that teased your brain? Note it down. Found a new word on an outdoor hoarding while on the freeway or train? Memorize it at that instant. Refer these in the thesaurus/dictionary later.
Any tool seldom used gathers rust and dust and finally becomes useless, our vocabulary too, which is a powerful tool. Pick the appropriate word and use it when writing something. Use the dictionary frequently, which will help you express better. Each time you do that, you learn a new word and will start using it. Try using the so found words in a conversation whenever possible. Compare the usage of these new words in British V/s American English; it may be fun to learn.
If you are already used to the aforementioned vocabulary improvement strategies to improve your vocabulary fast, then you are on the right track to reap its rewards; else, today is the best day to start.
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