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Medical Transcription for Dummies (2012): Spelling Counts

Anne Martinez, Medical Transcription for Dummies (For Dummies/Wiley, 2012)

Full disclosure: this book was provided to me free of charge by Amazon Vine.


The cover of the book depicts a stethoscope resting atop a computer keyboard.

Step 1: If you’re using a stethoscope on a keyboard, you’re doing it wrong.
photo credit:

I’m pretty sure this is not the outcome Anne Martinez envisioned when she was writing Medical Transcription for Dummies, but I’ve been working my way through a medical transcription course for a few years now, and after reading this book, I’ve given it up. I certainly don’t mean to imply that I did so because the book is badly written; that is not the case at all. Martinez, however, is willing to paint a much more balanced picture of life as a medical transcriptionist than you’re going to get from people who are selling how-to-be-a-medical-transcriptionist courses, and some of the things she points out here raised exactly the kind of red flags that I probably would have raised myself had I spent a little more time thinking about it.

If you’re used to the For Dummies series, you have a good idea of what to expect here—a high-level overview of the subject, one that doesn’t go into great detail in any one portion of the topic, but covers as broad an array as possible of aspects of the job, including training and certification, necessary equipment, job hunting, finances, and a host of other issues. (For me, in relation to the opening of this review, the thing that stopped me dead in my tracks—which was obvious once I read it—was that if you plan on being an independent contractor, you will need to do some marketing. As allergic as I am to anything related to sales and marketing, well, that put the kibosh on etc.)

The upside is the breadth, the wide overview, the high-level look at facets of being a medical transcriptionist many people wouldn’t think of. The downside, and I admit this may be a personal thing given that I’ve been in the IT field as long as I have (and thus am used to perusing doorstop-sized tomes on a regular basis), is that the three hundred sixty pages presented here seemed short; maybe the general public would balk at a book twice this size, but given how much ground there is to cover, and given that Martinez’ tone is conversational enough to pull it off, doubling the size and going into a little more depth in a number of places would have been a great idea, it seems to me. As it stands, it’s a solid introductory book, but once you’ve read it, if you decide to continue on that path you’ll want something a little more in-depth; take this one out of the library. ***

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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