When I graduated high school, I knew two things. First, I wanted to get married but I knew my daddy would balk unless I had a college degree. Secondly, I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field. I decided to get a degree in Medical Records from Wallace State. While most of the students hate the transcription part of the course, I loved it. I knew medical transcription was where I wanted to be. I got a job in a doctor’s office and loved it. When another transcriptionist in town unexpectedly passed away, the physician she transcribed for asked me if I could do his transcription until he found someone else. I told him I would have to take it home with me, transcribe at night, and then bring it back. He was fine with that and said he’d start looking for a replacement ASAP. I’m not sure what year that was, probably around 1995, but that doctor is a client of mine to this day. I started seeing a demand for transcriptionists in my area so I picked up work on the side, all the while cutting down my office hours. By the time Karlie was born in 1997, I was basically working from home full-time. The good thing about working from home is that I had flexibility to set my own hours and work around the family. That’s also the bad thing. I tended to take care of kids all day and spend half the night working. I wouldn’t change it for anything, but it got rough at times! Around this same time, my sister married a guy who I swear has ADHD. He sees opportunity in every situation, and the wheels in his brain NEVER stop turning. He stayed on me all the time about merging my business with his (he’s a doctor who also has a medical billing service). I was frankly just too scared to make any changes. Then one day he called me and told me he had found a new client for me. When he told me who it was, I immediately knew that there was no way I could handle it. He said “hire some people to work for you”. Ugh. The whole thought of that scared me. I would have to pay those people before my clients paid me, which meant floating a nice chunk of cash. I would need a more sophisticated dictation system for clients to call in to. The list went on and on. Ultimately, my bro-in-law and my husband ganged up on me and told me I HAD to go for it. My bro-in-law brought up the merger thing again, and it just made sense. I would bring the clients, and he would bring the money. A few months later, we brought in a friend of mine, Suzanne, who was also a MT with a small home-based business. Suzanne and I went from having a hand full of accounts, and 3 or 4 employees in 2002, to having 50+ employees in 2011. We have clients and employees all over the country… from Washington State to Maine to Florida and everywhere in between.
In the first few years after PMSI was formed (that stands for Professional Medical Services, Inc.), things were CRAZY all the time. My phone rang a billion times a day, there was always a problem that needed immediate attention, my transcriptionists had personality clashes with each other on a daily basis, and so on. Some days I felt like a firefighter, spending my life taking care of fires/problems. Then on other days, I felt sure that running a daycare would be easier than dealing with some of my employees. People would ask me to do things at school since “you don’t work” and I wanted to kill them. Not only did I work, I never felt like I was off. It wasn’t like I could clock out and leave. I was tied to a phone and computer all the time. Suzanne and I eventually worked out an “on-call” rotation that took some of the sting out, but there were still times when we would both work non-stop all day and well into the evening and weekends, just taking care of problems.
I don’t know exactly when things started changing, but at some point in the last few years, everything calmed down. I attribute this to having a group of excellent MTs who are dedicated to their jobs and are just generally good people. These women (and a couple of men!) are reliable and productive. They get along with each other, as well as the clients. They are true professionals who understand how many people rely on them to do their jobs correctly and efficiently. Believe me when I say I appreciate these MTs more than words can describe. They go above and beyond the call of duty. I know if I ever need any of them to do something extra for me, all I have to do is ask. Most of them have been with PMSI for years¸ and we really feel like family. When Suzanne fell seriously ill a few years ago, I was inundated with phone calls and cards from MTs worried about her. When my family was struggling with our adoption and facing the possibility that we might not get our babies, my MTs were constantly encouraging me and lifting me up. They’re more than just my employees – they are my FRIENDS.
In 1985, President Ronald Reagan, in his infinite wisdom, declared a week in May as “National Medical Transcriptionist Week”. In honor of MT week, I want the whole world to know that I love my MTs and I want to thank them for everything they do!!!