Wednesday, March 18, 2009

That poor, poor transcriptionist. I almost admitted it was my first dictation.

I picked up the phone with a shaky hand, and slowly dialed the number for the hospital dictation system for the first time.

"Welcome to the Excelleris Express Dictation Service. Enter User ID , followed by the pound key," a cheerful voice said.

Good, I thought. She doesn't yet know that I have no clue what I'm doing.

I keyed in the number for the doctor who was dumb enough to ask me to dictate for him. 6-2-1-0-9-#.

Enter hospital ID. 1-6-#.

Enter work type. 1-0-#, specialist consultation of a patient.

Enter patient number. 2-1-6-2-7-8-1-#.

Beep beep. . . . beep beep. . . bee- okay, are you going to make me wait all day? this is where you start talking, idiot. Fortunately, it didn't actually say that to me.

I pressed 2 to begin, and slowly began to talk.

"This is Vitum Medicinus, M-e-d-i-c-i-n-u-s, medical student intern, dictating on behalf of Dr. Doe, a consultation note on patient James Smith, S-m-i-t-h, unit number 2162781, date of birth 02/20/1949. "

This isn't so bad, I thought. I picked up speed.

"Copy to Dr. Doe, copy to Dr. Wilson. Date of consult March 6 2009, date of dictation March 6 2009. New heading, patient identification. Mr. Smith is a previously healthy 60-year-old Caucasian male who presented to the emergency department with his wife and daughter. Period. New heading. Chief complaint. Open quote, I passed out in the McDonald's parking lot, close quote."

I was doing it just like all the doctors I had seen dictate before! I was dictating! How exciting! I went on.

"New heading. History of presenting illness. This afternoon Mr Smith was getting out of his car at McDonalds when he began to feel presyncopal, period, before he could stop himself he fell to the ground, period, he described his presyncopal symptoms as open quote I was light headed comma I felt like I was going to pass out, close quote, but denied vertiginous symptoms, period. he lost consciousness for approximately ten seconds and in this time did not have any tonic clonic movements comma nor did he lose control of his bowel or bladder or bite his tongue period."

Okay, it didn't go that smoothly. My actual transcription went something like this... or at least what it would have looked like if I hadn't known how to pause, rewind, and re-record:

"Uh.... um.... uh... consult...dictation.... on ... patient .... copy to... Dr.... heading.... History of, uh, no wait....go back... Mr. Smith..." ... well, you get the idea.

Starting to dictate on behalf of the physicians has been really helpful. I've done a fair bit since that first one, and the process has made me realize that as far as taking the history and presenting the physical exam goes, I've started to really get the hang of it. It's when it comes time to dictate the assessment of what the patient has going on, and the plan of how to treat them, that I kindof fall apart and realize that I still have a lot to learn; with my first dictation, I had a fair bit of trouble with it even though I had discussed the case with the doctor already. Obviously, that's what I'm here to learn in third year, and throughout residency.

After I finished my first dictation, I sat the phone down, and began to gather my notes. I took a deep breath in and out. I noticed that one of the other emerg docs had sat down at the same desk about two-thirds of the way through my dication, and turned to him and asked, "Do you remember your first dictation?"

He smiled really big, and laughed, as he replied, "I try not to!"

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