It’s a job that is vital to health care, but their hands never touch a patient.
As a medical transcriptionist for 50 years at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott, Lynn Graham celebrated her golden work anniversary on June 3. Needless to say, Lynn has seen many changes over the years.
“When I first started this job, physician’s dictations were recorded on floppy disks…not the kind from the 1980s, but a blue-cylinder type,” Lynn said. “My job was to type the notes on a sheet of sticky-backed paper, one page at a time. Then we literally cut the notes and organized them by patient. Our cuts needed to be extremely accurate to make the most of the space on the page. Today it seems odd to think that we walked to the patient floor to manually stick these notes into the patient’s chart. It was extremely time consuming.”
“Then technology moved to tape recordings,” Lynn explained. “I’m not sure I can say that was an improvement because the tape would often get stuck, twisted or break.”
However, Lynn was resourceful and used a different set of skills to make the necessary repair. “I would pull out my tiny screwdriver and unwind the tape or sometimes repair it with scotch tape.”
Although Lynn says she doesn’t like change, most changes in her field have yielded great improvement. “Today, our computers and software are much more efficient and easier to use. I may not have embraced every change along the way, but in due time, the change was always for the better.”
Co-workers appreciate Lynn’s dedication and spunky demeanor. “Lynn is one of those people that whether a co-worker or a friend, she makes every day better,” said Brenda Stokes, Mercy executive director of quality assurance. “It’s not uncommon for colleagues from 30 years ago to come back and pay her a visit.”
“Lynn is one of those co-workers who has committed her life’s work to Mercy,” Stokes added. “She is very rarely sick and even when diagnosed with Leukemia 20 years ago, she kept working.”
“Well,” said Lynn, “it was better for me to come to work and keep my mind busy than sitting at home feeling sorry for myself.”
When asked to reflect upon 50 years at one place of work, Lynn said, “The fondest memories I have are in meeting so many people, experiencing advancements in technology and making so many friends.”