Life Happens! - by Maryellyn Carr
Life happens! I often hear this saying, and sure, life does happen, but some happenings can be influenced by our own attitudes to them. A life happening for me was when at the age of 35 I was left widowed with three children and although it sounds shattering, life continued.
When I look back on events throughout my life, I suppose the most life-changing was when I was given the opportunity to work as a medical typist. A friend and medical typist told me she was leaving, and I knew I really wanted the chance to replace her. I had the skill of typing with speed and accuracy, had worked at Napier Hospital for about five years in clerical roles and I passionately wanted this opportunity to learn this extra skill.
My medical terminology knowledge was minimal, although I had done an Introduction to Medical Science paper through the hospital clerical union. I was very quickly in the manager’s office pleading my case, with success. That change of occupation was to provide me with more opportunities in the future than I could ever have dreamed of.
After about twelve years of medical typing (now preferably called medical transcription) in Napier, I moved to the Bay of Plenty. Here new opportunities were waiting. Although I realised how important the skill of medical transcription was, with the necessary knowledge of medical terminology, I did not understand that experienced medical transcriptionists were in such short supply. I had employment at the local hospital before I even arrived in the Bay of Plenty area, and I was employed by them for the next thirteen years.
After a few years a colleague and I put a business plan to management to work from home, and after much discussion and meetings we were given this opportunity. At the end of 1997 we moved our workstations to our homes. This was very successful and management of medical services at that time were extremely pleased with the arrangement. We were able to take on more work, as there were no interruptions during our days. We were also happy to work during the evening, which meant that clinic dictation sent to us during the day could be typed in the evenings and returned in the morning, therefore the turnaround time for the doctors’ work was ideal.
Over those years I helped other people into the area of medical transcription but I had the urge to do more. I started to think hard about this. I joined a local Toastmasters group to help me over my intense shyness and inability to speak in front of people. With more confidence now, I saw an advertisement at the local Polytechnic for a Certificate of Adult Teaching. Wow! That is what I wanted and I absolutely loved that course. Prior to my years in Toastmasters, I would not have even considered attending a course such as this.
From there, I started to investigate how to teach medical terminology. I was told about a correspondence course, Certificate of Medical Transcription, being run by the AUT. This was absolutely perfect so I enrolled and completed it over the next nine months.
I now had the skills and information to fulfill my dream and proceeded to write my own course. I found more books and information, and medical terminology and words became my passion. The Training and Education Department at Tauranga Hospital heard of what I was writing, and I was asked to attend a meeting. I felt the course would be ideal for clerical staff, those with an interest in medical terminology wanting to learn pronunciation and spelling, as well as those who would like to consider medical transcription as a career option. I have now run these courses for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board for about six years. They are fun to run and the participants have enjoyed the opportunity to learn something new and enjoy the crosswords, memory games, flash cards and other interactions with each other.
Since this time I have worked as a facilitator/tutor for a local training company who run an Online Certificate in Medical Transcription. To further the opportunity for people to learn this skill I have written a small book, as a Handbook for Medical Transcriptionists in New Zealand and Australia. I also continue to be self-employed, doing medical transcription in the local area for specialists, medical centres and the hospital.
So, I now live and work at something that stemmed from an opportunity to try medical typing around 26 years ago. I developed a passion for medical terminology and words, which led on to a career as a medical transcriptionist, a teacher in the skill of medical terminology and medical transcription, and the opportunity to set up a small business and become self-employed.
My next challenge is to do some more writing. The urge is there. Time is a challenge but I feel the passion for writing will make that happen, too.
Life happens! It certainly does – and with a little bit of enthusiasm, passion and optimism, every day is worth living.