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Question for MTs pursuing nursing careers.

Posted By: sm on 2006-05-12
In Reply to:

I am also considering going back to college and studying to become an RN.  I took a 2-year course in "medical records technology" 18 years ago at a junior college and got a lot of the prerequisites out of the way including Anatomy and Physiology I and II.  If I decided to go back to college, how long would it take me to complete an RN program?  Isn't it typically 4 years starting from scratch?  Any help is greatly appreciated!!  Thanks!!

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same way in nursing - men in nursing make more on average than women in nursing and quickly
move into management. Just what we needed.
Gack! Is nursing your idea or his? Nursing is highly demanding and long hours.

I'd check with a college counselor/advisor on programs they have for women over 30 to return to academia and enter new careers.  Then I'd ask to take some career tests to see what your interests are and what you'd be be suited for.  Also, there is scholarship money available for women over 30.  Ask about it.  

Since I've already raised my kids, I'd also like to state that jr. high and high school are the years our kids need us at home the most.  Those are the years they can get into the most trouble if left to themselves.  If he's already 9, why not just enter college part-time to finish in about 6 to 7 years?  But definitely go talk to a college counselor.

I don't think medical billing is the next logical step for MTs. To me personally the logical thing is something else in healthcare, but for other people the logical thing would be what they are interested in, health care or not, or what opportunities arise. I'd like to slowly start to work on something else as I don't see MT carrying me to retirement in 30 years. I'm thinking about radiology tech, ultrasound/MRI tech, health care administration, or nursing in its various levels since there never seems to be a shortage of need for those.

I haven't done billing before but have done coding and don't see it with a long-term future, either.
Changing Careers
I absolutely LOVE medical transcription work. It is the best kind of work for me. I have always, up until five years ago, made plenty of money to support my family (I am a single 45 year old mom).

However, I have become very scared. So, I have 80% decided that I have to go back to school and start over. It makes me sick, but I can't watch my pay decrease every year like this.

I really, really, really want to continue MT work, but it just doesn't feel secure for me anymore.

AND - changing careers at my age is also scary, but I have a friend who did it at 50-something years old, so I guess I can, too.
Changing careers

I have been an MT my entire life.   I had no formal training - just had a knack for it and always had a job doing transcription.  I was sought out many times. However back about 1993 I started hearing rumors about voice recognition. I at that time decided to go to school and get a nursing degree as I wanted to stay in healthcare. I obtained my LPN- RN - then BSN in 1999.   Took me awhile but I did it.  Since that time I have done some coding, worked as a nurse and been promoted to transcription supervisor in 2000.  I also teach transcription at our local college.  Since I have such a broad range of experiences in all the things you are looking at I would suggest nursing - you are going to get the most valuable education in that field - with many opportunities.   If you don't like it you would have the bulk of your education and could easily slip int to coding or transcription.  Just my opinion.

changing careers

It seems a lot of people are feeling the same crunch.  I have been an MT for 10 years  I too used to have a excellent hourly plus incentive with great bennies in-house jobs which was outsourced to an Indian Company. I worked from home and make ok. Now it's hard to even find a decent line count with benefits at all. I am working as an IC at 9 cpl and no bennies. As a single Mother I simply cannot do this anymore.  There companies who offer employee status and bennies but the line rates are so low or they want you to work 2nd or 3rd shift and with my family situation this is not possible.

I too am making a career change plans.  It seems that nursing is all the rage with the high paying jobs and plenty of them. But as a former nursing student years ago before MT I know it's not for me.  Too high pressure and the bullying in nursing school is unbelievable as is the 2 year committment to school full time.

I decided to try Assocaites degree Accounting/CIS. I hope to enter as a clerk or bookkeeper and work towards the Bachelors degree once working as a clerk.  In the meantime I have been brushing up on Powerpoint, Excel, etc and applying for secretarial and admn assistant jobs. 

 I had considered medical billing but I am somewhat soured on the healthcare system and outsourcing.  I figured Accounting is much broader and can work for more than one industry, but have seen accounting positions in healthcare systems too. 

I wondered if people would share what fields they were considering.

For new MTs... the field IS dying between VR contsantly improving and outsourcing/offshoring our jobs are dwindling as are the pay and benefits.  If you are a married-stay-at-home type of Mom with luxury of a second income and your husband's benefits MT might still be ok for a little extra money on the side.  But for anyone trying to support either themselves or their family on MT -- forget it.   Its a good part-time Mom job these days and that is about it. 

Sad.  There are many excellent and quality MTs who have a ton of knowledge.  I wondered how they intended to transfer skills to another profression.  The writing is on the wall.  I hope to be out in 2-1/2 years tops. 




changing careers
After almost 30 years of MT work under my belt, I'm ready to throw in the towel and hit the pavement. I'm already out there interviewing. Even if I make only what I make as an MT, if it's a job that I like, then it'll be worth it. Wish me luck!
When I click Careers and try to get to job back
Am I overlooking something?  Having an operator error?  Or do we not have a job bank anymore?  Thank you!
Legal Scoping Careers?
Has anyone looked into or taken the training course from the lady, Judy Barrett who posts on the "other" board about the scoping career?  I am curious if any one has gone through the course and if anyone has found this lucrative?  Any information on an outcome would be appreciated.  Thanking you in advance.
IMHO and experience, in most, if not all careers-SM
the better your memory and flexibility, the better your success.  If your memory is so-so, then find tools that will increase your success, i.e., account post-its and sample reports, even reading something out loud.  For me, if I handwrite what I am given in print regarding an account/doc, I am more likely to remember it.  Making handwritten notes takes time, but helps things stick in my memory.
And why would you want to switch change careers?!..
I am an MT and not a newbie, about 15 years of experience and I don't make $44,000 a year (oh, how I wish)! Why would you want to break into this business? This career is just going down hill in so many ways. I hear medical coding is on the rise and some seem to be transitioning from MT to just that. I also understand medical coding and billing can be done from home as well. I would be checking into that if I were you. If you are expecting to make $44,000 a year as a new MT, you are SO dreaming! Sorry so harsh, but would hate to see you make a huge financial mistake, IMHO!
Sorry, meant to say change careers
Interesting article about best careers in 2006. sm
A-M-E-N! The main reason women in all careers - sm
earn less than men (and employers get away with paying them less) is that it's impossible to get groups of women to stick together on ANYTHING, let alone anything that might involve a little initial personal risk before things are ultimately straightened out and this archaic pay disparity between men & women in the US workforce is resolved. Can you imagine the kind of clout MTs in this country would have if they all stood firm together and demanded that they be paid fairly for a job that not just anyone with a PC and a set of headphones can do? A few years ago when HIPAA first came about, we should have taken that and run with it, when it comes to securing our profession on US soil. We didn't do it then, but I think if we were to dig our heels in, and start writing and talking to the right media, we could still use HIPAA to our advantage. Think about it.
What kind of alternate careers can MT's transition into?

Guys, I've finally made up my mind that the profession that we used to know is gone and is never coming back.  The industry leaders have made it their business to turn MT's into the equivalent of sweatshop workers, and I don't find that dynamic at all appealing. 

Can any of you give any suggestions as to what types of careers we might transition into and make a decent income?  I'm polishing up my resume now, but I fear that I've stayed in this industry for far too long and have handicapped myself from being able to take advantage of any other career opportunities that might exist out there. 

Any and all feedback would be appreciated. 

I had a person sound really interested in changing careers and doing this...
until I mentioned that she had to take a really reputable course in this field and that it would cost a fair amount of money but that for this price they would mentor her into a position, and not to pay for a course that offered less than this if it were what she really wanted to do, and this changed her mind quickly.  She didn't know it would cost her!
Time to switch careers. I did and life is much less stressful.
But it does open our options to move on to careers rather than joe-jobs
and bring people the respect they deserve.
or maybe nursing? lol. j/k nm
Nursing to MT?
Has anyone gone from being a nurse to being an MT or know someone who has? Someone asked me about it and I am not sure what to tell them.

I'm looking into nursing as well...sm.
Already have the basic A&P, terminology, medications and proper doses and welcome the chance to try a hands on job now. Plus a recent confidence boost gave me the kick I needed to finally make a decision. Good luck in whatever you decide.
My brother in law has 3 degrees (in medicine), is 51 years old, and is in nursing school..

Niece is 30 and just finished up nursing school, as did her fiance, who is 33.

Never too late if that's why ya wanna do!! Good luck to you!!!
How about medical research as an RN? That sounds good to me.
Nursing is your problem

Nursing, well there is your problem.  I have interviewed and tested many nurses who wanted to change careers to MT and not one of them could do it.  Nursing is way different than MT.  Nursing terms and medical terms are different.

Way more notches than I will ever see, LOL..whew..well, guess I better just step back, hun..dont want to mess with a super-super-duper-duper MT.


When I looked into nursing ...
When I looked into nursing, you had to get at least your LPN or RN training at a real school where you could get the hands-on training. The part you could do on-line would be the more advanced book parts, like getting your BS or masters.
Does anyone know if Nursing Homes have MTs? Thanks.

Nursing Homes
I used to work for a clinic consisting of 6 doctors and they dictated their nursing home visits along the rest of their dictation once a week. Good luck:)
Nursing school
I am a RN. I went to school with a lady in her 50's. She did just fine. I taught aid classes for a while and always encouraged my students to get LVN first then go for RN so you are on the right track. Besides, RN just do alot of paperwork.
I am in nursing school right now...

to get a BSN. I've been in the health care field, including paramedic, medical assistant, etc., and doing MT off and on throughout the past 25 years.  However, seeing the handwriting on the wall re: the future of MT, I decided not to wait until I didn't have a job to try to find one. I own an MTSO, so I make plenty of money now, probably more than I would make as an RN, but I'm not stupid-- that's only going to last another 5 years...so in the meantime I'm in school! I am in a four year program, it was extremely competitive to get in (1000 applicants, took 70). If you didn't have a GPA of 3.5 you didn't get it. So you will have to take that into consideration. There are long waiting lists at all schools though If you go to a community college 2 year program probably the grades won't be such an issue. You will also have to take plenty of prerequesites, which will keep you busy for 1-2 years. The good news is hopefully your MT job will be flexible enough so you can work around a changing school schedule, plus it's not like you have to drive somewhere to work. With your experience in medical records, you will be very strong in charting and every one in your class, including your teachers, will ask you how to spell words. You will at least be familiar with drugs and their uses, i.e. Aricept is for Alzheimer's.

Although it will be very difficult, know that at least you have a future ahead of you that can't be outsourced to India. My friend just finished the same program 2 years ago and she is working 32 hours per week, 3-11 shift at the community hospital and making over $50K plus benefits. That ought to help you get through school!


I am in nursing school too...sm
I had an associate of science degree from community college, but then had to take some more prerequisites, including developmental psychology, nutrition and organic chem. I am going for a BSN initially. It took me 2 semesters to get my pre-req's done, then my program is 5 semesters (no summer school). However, I would caution you-- the admit to nursing programs can be quite competitive esp at university level. We had 1000 applicants and they only took 70. If you didn't have a 3.5 GPA, you didn't get it. In addition, nursing school is GRUELING. They only have a full time program. I asked about part time and they said, if you don't want to go full time, get out of the way because 933 other people want your spot. Although all my classmates are straight A students (which you would have to be to get in), some are even failing classes -- that's how hard it is. Not only do you have to attend class, you have to write papers and do a whole bunch of other work outside the classroom. I study all day when I am not in school. My husband does all the cooking and we just skip cleaning for now (LOL). I will be going on for my master's straight out of the BSN class because I already have medical experience (was a medical assistant for years and also a paramedic). So good luck to you and email me if you have any more questions...
Transcription to Nursing
My mom went to nursing school after a divorce when she was in her early 50s.  She was afraid she was too old; I pointed out to her that she was going to continue to age whether or not she got her degree.  She had quite a good career but retired to take care of her (new) husband when he became ill.  She's in her late 60s, and hospitals are offering her incentives to come out of retirement.
Transcription to Nursing

Steph, I had the same questions you did. I am 43 and returned to school this past January to pursue a career in nursing. I posted on the nursing board, check there to see the answers I got. I have decided that it is never too late to do what you really want to. You are only going to live once. I too worried about the future of MT. I decided that if the profession did continue for another 20 years or so that I needed to work, the direction things were going were not for me. I won't kid you, going to school is harder when you are older. The memory is not what it used to be. However, I guarantee you that you will have a better attitude and better study habits because of your age, and your experience in transcription will give you an edge over other students. You will be amazed at how much you really know because of your transcribing. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Where are the nursing forums?
I cant find them :(
rethink nursing
Went from MT to nurse in the 90s only back to MT because made more as MT.  Hopefully for you sake things have changed.  Wasted a lot of time getting my RN (plus got hepatits from a splash).  Not tryng to discourage you - you're young - go for it.
Why I didn't go into nursing!
Nursing Notes

I have been having an awful time getting straight with my company whether to use parenthesis for (Please see nursing notes.) etc.  I get corrected back and forth whether the word "see" has to be involved or if "per" is enough or even just (Nursing notes.) because it is implied to look there.  (No matter how I do it, eventually someone says it should be done the other way.)

To top it off, now someone else has totally not answered that part of the question but has said it has to be more specific, such as (See nursing notes dated 02/12/2008.)  That, see nursing notes is too vague, so not to used (  ).  I switched to doing it that way, and got corrected again!!

I end up feeling like a pain in the butt because I keep trying to get an answer, but I get so stressed out by constantly being told by a different QA person to do it a different way.

Anyone else with an issue like this?  And, how do you all handle this particular issue? 

re nursing notes and QA
That's really the pits.  My suggestion would be to document all of these ridiculous inconsistencies.  Another idea might be a source such as this board.  While I don't know who you work for, another thing that may be worth your time is to inquire to find out if other MTs are getting this mess as well.  Geez, nothing like feeling like a human yoyo!
nursing notes and QA

When I was told by QA to do it one way and the next QA a different way, I copied the e-mail and sent it to the other QA and the QA manager, and asked them point blank, which way is correct.  So from then on they asked everyone to save their messages from QA to make sure everyone was working on the same page so to speak, and that stopped that, because they were told do it this way.   Because, found out different QA people have been taught one way and the next QA person the other.  They all have to get on the same page, choose one way or the other and not stress anyone out.  Hope this will stop for you.

Benefits of MT over Nursing
Nursing requires a commute and some type of wardrobe, not to mention the physical requirements of the job.  Nursing work also involves quite a lot of facility politics right in your face.
Nursing is more lucrative
I still do both and will say that you have the potential to make a lot more money as an RN.  I prefer doing MT but can't come close to the salary I earn as a nurse, unfortunately.  If money is your goal, I think your husband has the right idea.
I was thinking of nursing too. What
is a good online school?
Well of course it's possible but only if you've had training in MT, not just nursing!! nm

Does this hospital have a training course for nursing?
I would really give it some thought. If the hospital has a training program, you might want to look into that and see what's involved. Working the graveyard might give you a little time to study while working.
Does this hospital have a training course for nursing?

No, they don't, at least not that I am aware of.  They have tuition reimbursement.  Also they do offer training for some high demand jobs and also some of the related hospitals (I'm not sure if they are one of them) will offer to pay your tuition for nursing if you agree to work for them when you graduate for two years.

I am hoping that if I do take this job I could get my foot in the door and when I finally do finish nursing school I could work for them.  I don't know for sure if they hire new grads but it might be worth a shot.  I'm still taking prereqs and the college has a 2-3 year wait for the nursing program so I have plenty of time.  I just don't want to make a mistake by taking a job I'm not sure of when I have a pretty flexible MT job at home.  Decisions, decisions.....

Has anyone ever done an online nursing program or know of anyone that has? nm
Nursing has created their own shortage
by severely restricting the availability of classes for students and refusing to make the class time available in the evenings, weekends, etc.

They also created their own shortage by making so many of the jobs papershuffling jobs rather than hands on care, and many of those jobs could easily be filled by a trained technician rather than an RN.

I do not feel sorry for nurses.
have to agree with your assessment of what nursing really is...

I'm in my junior year of a BSN program, on my second clinical and in the hospital I see nurses working really hard to get all their ducks in a row and pass meds. Not too much therapeutic communication, just keeping those ducks in a row...I already decided a long time ago that acute care wasn't my cup of tea. I went back to school just to get a Bachelor's and felt nursing was the only thing that made sense because of my healthcare experience (paramedic, medical assistant, MT). I then thought about going into the physician assistant program but where I live, it would be a daily 1.5 hour commute for 27 months. I still have a 4th grader and 8th grader so didn't feel I could pull that off. However, at the university I attend, there is a nurse practitioner program. 5 more semesters, classes are scheduled back to back with some saturdays to allow people to work at the same time. Can go part time if you want. If I go full time, there is a grant that will pay for my tuition (nursing shortage, you know). Most of the job postings ask for NP/PA so it looks like I would be in the same job market anyway. Last week in the Chicago Tribune I saw an ad for an NP to work in a physician's office, $75,000 plus benefits.  Some practices will let you be a partner, or you can even have your own (supervised) practice in some states...which will become more of the norm, I think.

I've already worked in a physician's office so I have an idea of the work load....that's where I'm heading. After having the autonomy of a paramedic working in the field, I  know that suits me just fine.  I can go to school longer, but then have 9-5 hours and look at sore throats instead of bed pans

question about nursing/transcribing

Do you mean that you actually were able to nurse the baby while typing?  Or, did you take a break to nurse and then go back to work? 

I'm only asking because I once talked to a lady who was an MT and was nursing her toddler and she had rigged up a set up to where she could continue to work and the child would just stand next to her (on a chair I believe?) and nurse while she continued to work.  I don't know...It just kind of grossed me out thinking about it.  But, I am all for breastfeeding and of course love MT, so I guess if you can make it work, more power to ya. 

Mine is a Director of Nursing

He makes way more than me, but the flexibility of my job makes it possible for him to do his job. 

We are both nurses and met while on the job.  He is 20 years older than me. 

Had a 108-year-old lady while LPN in nursing
Does anyone think 41 is too old to go to nursing school to become a LPN? I love MT, but have
an interest in helping people.  Money is not the issue at all.  I would love to be involved and help in the medical world, but I am worried about my age?