1. Doctors ALWAYS make mistakes. Don’t ever assume everything is right. Doctors are wonderful practitioners but usually terrible spellers. Never, ever trust their spelling. When in doubt, look it up or flag it. The accuracy of the medical record should always be your #1 concern.
2. Doctors will not always dictate correct punctuation or English. Some doctors love commas and will dictate “comma” after every third word whether it is needed or not. When transcribing, you should completely disregard all punctuation the doctor dictates and use your own training and expertise. When you are learning to transcribe, use your best judgment concerning punctuation and proper English usage unless your employer tells you otherwise.
3. Remember to proofread your document before turning it in. A badly proofread document will reflect on you both personally and professionally as well as being a potential danger to the patient whose record it reflects. Begin good habits early on by proofreading your work before it is submitted to your employer. Eventually, you will learn to proofread as you type which will save you even more time, but this comes only with practice and should not be attempted early on as a student.
4. Learn as much as you can about punctuation and the English language. If there are any rules with which you are not comfortable, ask your instructor for clarification or post the question on the Student Forum. Make sure you are comfortable with all possible situations that could occur regarding incorrect punctuation usage, and know the rules for correcting it in your document.
Tip: Many MTs misuse the word “followup.” An easy way to remember how to write this word is that when followup is used as a verb it’s written as two words: follow up. In every other instance it’s written as one word: followup.