Quite often I get e-mails and letters from folks who want to enter the MT field but don’t really see the bigger picture of what we do. “I can do this. It’s just plain, old typing, isn’t it?” “I don’t care about the medical field, I just want to stay home and work.” “I have an X degree so I can do little ol’ medical transcription. Not hard for me.”
I wondered, “how can I describe the dedication and knowledge required to do what we do, and the benefits of what we get out of it, to a layman who believes that our job entails nothing more than typing words on a paper?” Then I thought of the perfect comparison: A fruitcake, that poor little brick of holiday cheer that could probably survive an atomic blast because its been gifted and re-gifted around the world since at least Word War II.
Now let’s give this little gem its due in cakedom (and by the size of me, it sure looks like I oughta know my cakes!). Unlike your garden-variety layer concoction, there is a lot of complexity in a fruitcake that you just cannot see at first glance. On the outside, it looks like a plain and uninviting lump—so easy to ridicule and dismiss the little feller. But as you look closer and actually cut a slice out of the cake, you find a whole collection of bits of different colorful fruits and nuts all over the place in it. You could spend a lot of mindless activity time exploring a whole fruitcake because each slice would be something totally different to see. You could crush the thing under a steamroller (which, no doubt, people have probably done) and say, “There! Now I see everything!” But then you would have lost all the unique textures and characteristics of each ingredient and what makes a fruitcake…well, a fruitcake.
How many people have looked at the work of an MT and said, “how boring, sitting there typing all day. That’s no fun. How can you stand it?” but they miss out on seeing the inside of our world and the challenges, excitement, and variety inherent in our work. They don’t see the new concepts in medicine we get to hear about each day, the satisfaction we feel in sharing the responsibility of overall patient care, or the fun and fellowship we get networking and socializing with fellow MTs at chapter meetings and events.
We are a group of professionals whose “jewels” are hidden behind an unimpressive computer screen or a droning .wav file, but one just need to grab a slice and look at all the different perspectives, variety, and rewards we receive in our work every day, and suddenly the little “fruits” of our labors are truly worth doing—and keeping.
Yes, we are a bunch of fruitcakes! Come join the mix with us!
Diane Gilmore, CMT, AHDI-F
Director of Education