I was surprised to read this blog  by When Women Inspire regarding how to work in the healthcare industry but with no patient contact:

Top 3 medical jobs with no patient contact

The surprise came for me when I read that to be a medical transcriptionist you generally need to have a bachelor’s degree in medical transcription.  I assume this is for anyone working in the US, because over here in the UK I managed to rise up from being a Grade 2 ward clerk to being a Grade 3 secretarial assistant.  After 6 months of typing just clinic letters and learning the terminology I was then promoted to a Grade 4 medical secretary post without having a degree to my name.  However, there were various in-house training courses I attended, and I also passed the AMSPAR Medical Terminology exam back in 2009.

I wonder whether a degree is needed these days because so many more people now go to university than 40 years ago when I was searching for work?  If most young people now have a degree, then to some extent have degrees been devalued?  For the type of work I do, I really don’t think a degree would be necessary.  All that’s needed is to be methodical and good at spelling,  and to be able to touch type.  At a Grade 4 level you do have patient contact of a sort, as patients are constantly ringing up and you have to acquire good listening skills and a pleasant telephone voice.  Some of them (the really desperate ones) did manage to find their way to my office and were rather intimidating, but now all secretaries’ doors can only be opened via a code or by a Smart card, which is better for our safety.

I had to voluntarily drop down to a Grade 3 level again in 2017 because my voice has been damaged by extensive treatment for thyroid cancer.  I cannot keep talking on the phone all day as I would be hoarse within a very short time.   Nevertheless, I am still productive and can type about 30 – 40 clinic letters in about 5 hours (according to how long each dictation is).   I now use Google to look up any words I’m unsure of, instead of the once huge medical dictionary that I could hardly lift.

I am really surprised that you now need a degree to do my job!

I can think of a few other departments in the hospital to work in which have no patient contact.  In my hospital the ones that come to mind are Stores, Pharmacy (not front-of-house), and in the kitchens or in Medical Records.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay