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Susan Dune: Medical Transcriptionist

By Shaun Martin

The search for a job can be somewhat daunting for an English major. If you're not going to graduate school, what do you do?

From tutoring to transcribing

Take Susan Dune, for instance. A 2002 graduate from Western Carolina University with a concentration in professional writing, Dune, ironically, started teaching as an adjunct professor and worked in a tutoring center. Not content with teaching, she decided to pursue a field in which she had some interest, medical transcription.

Medical transcriptionists convert recorded notes and observations from doctors into written form. Therefore, accuracy is important. "This [the converted data] is a legal document, so it is absolutely important not to change the meaning of what has been said when you edit," Dune states.

Success rooted in her English degree

Dune's English degree provides a "strong foundation in grammar and punctuation," which is essential in correctly translating the spoken word into written form. She also credits her English background with giving her time-management skills. She works at home and believes that her acquired time management skills are essential: "It would be easy to get distracted in the home environment," Susan says, "but I follow a routine to maximize my productivity."

Work that matters

How is this job important? Dune relates that the dictators she transcribes for are grateful that her transcriptions help their communication become clear. Dune credits her English experience for her success, ''Writing and editing skills help you not only to communicate well but also to help others.'' Dune's English training has allowed her to write clearly and accurately, which undoubtedly makes each doctor's job easier. As Dune puts it, ''I'm doing my part to improve patient care.'' This positive outlook is apparent in Dune’s work and life.

What advice does Dune have for WCU students graduating with a degree in English? "What you learn in college is a start, but there's always something new to learn, especially when it comes to technology...Keep your options open in your job search."

These profiles were created by the Karen Greenstone's English 303 class (spring 2009)
and edited for the web by Mary Adams's English 303 class (summer 2009).

Students in Mary Adams's English 303 class (fall 2009) wrote additional profiles.