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Pathways in Medicine: Mortuary Science

Rachel Adams
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(155)
Discover pathways to becoming a county coroner, embalmer, funeral director, death doula, hospice nurse, Palliative Care physician, and an autopsy-performing pathologist while learning associated medical terminology.

Class experience

At the conclusion of this course, students will:
- Understand basic medical terminology.
- Apply new knowledge to understanding medical terms in their proper contexts.
- Understand empathy as it pertains to working with terminally ill patients and their families.
- Make informed college & career decisions regarding pathways into careers in the death industry. 
- Identify soft skills & hard skills used in these medical professions.
I have been a college & career coach since 2015 at a STEM+M high school in Northeast Ohio. In this teaching role, I have guided high school students into securing job shadowing experiences, solidifying internships, and ultimately aligning them with pathways that will lead to success in the end-of-life services industry, working with terminally ill patients in a hospital, nursing home, or hospice care center. This includes overseeing internships in hospitals and funeral homes for my high school students in addition to experience at the county coroner's office in the form of job shadowing, informational interviews, and volunteer work while in high school, which is what this course's focus is on--becoming a self-expert, finding professional pathways of interest, learning how to successfully pursue these interests in college, and how to set yourself up for career satisfaction in the future.

The public blog, "Mortui Vivos Docent: A Blog About Funerals and High School," was written by one of my student interns who spent her senior year in high school (2016-2017) interning at a funeral home under my supervision. This blog is a great example of what high school students can accomplish when working with me as a college & career coach. Students are able to see potential careers through a new lens, and this experience is empowering for young men & women when it comes to future-planning a career in the end-of-life services industry.

Regarding the terminology piece of this course, medical language is my specialty! I have a connection to the medical field that runs deep. I specialize in medical language and have worked in the field since 1999--over 22 years of experience in medicine! In addition, my multiple certifications are detailed below. I am fluent in medical terminology and certified in all clinical specialties. I am an expert in health information integrity.

CHDS - Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist 
What is a CHDS? The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity certifies medical transcriptionists (also known as medical language specialists) in the foundational understanding of the following:

➢ Medical terminology
➢ Anatomy
➢ Physiology
➢ Disease processes
➢ Diagnostics – laboratory medicine, imaging, classification systems
➢ Treatment – pharmacology, surgery, special procedures
➢ Equipment and instruments
➢ Healthcare technology – abbreviations, definitions
➢ Electronic health record – abbreviations, definitions
➢ Speech recognition technology – abbreviations, definitions, & editing
➢ Standards, nomenclatures, and measurement systems – abbreviations,

Major Specialties: Cardiovascular, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Genetics, General Surgery, Hematology/Oncology, Infectious Disease, Neurology, OB/Gyn, Orthopedics, Otorhinolaryngology, Pain Management, Pediatrics, Plastic Surgery, Psychiatry/Psychology, Pulmonary Medicine, Rheumatology, and Urology.

Ancillary Specialties: Allergy/Immunology, Dentistry/Oral Surgery, and Nutrition/Dietetics.

I have held the credential of CHDS for the past 11 years, since 2010. The understanding of medical terminology is critical to medical language specialists because we must be able to hear errors spoken by dictating physicians with regard to diagnosis and treatment, which are vital to quality patient care.

From the AHDI Credentialing Candidate Guide: 

"Medical transcription involves a highly interpretive skill set, where medical language specialists partner with providers to create an accurate reflection of a patient care encounter. Medical transcription demands the application of informed judgment and interpretive skill that extends beyond what is heard. It requires a foundational understanding of the diagnostic process, clinical medicine, treatment, and care to be interpreted accurately and applied within the context of complex narrative dictation. In addition to the complexities inherent in the medical document, dictating authors who speak English as a second language, those with disjointed and rambling narrative, and/or those who dictate unclearly or at accelerated speeds continue to require that medical transcriptionists bring yet another strong interpretive skill set to the process. Medical transcriptionists cannot bring that interpretive skill set to the table without a significant foundation of knowledge and training." 

In addition to the foundational knowledge and expertise my CHDS credential brings to the classroom, I have also been certified as a CMT (Certified Medical Transcriptionist) by The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity from 2007 to 2010, when AHDI essentially rebranded credentialing medical language specialists with the CHDS credential. 

I have also been certified as a COA (Certified Ophthalmic Assistant) and have worked in Ophthalmology & Optometry since 1999 as a technician, scribe, and transcriptionist. I have worked in this clinical specialty for over 20 years! COAs are certified by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO).

In addition to the above certifications that qualify me to teach the medical language portion of this class, I am also an educator and have taught medical terminology courses at a STEM+M high school in Rootstown, Ohio, to students in grades 9-12. Beyond that, I have been a college & career coach in the 11th-grade classroom that has guided young men & women to discover careers in medicine (and other fields). I have helped these students map out their college plans with tremendous success. 

My "Pathways in Medicine" career series on Outschool focuses on medical terminology and career exploration, both of which I am highly qualified to teach.
Homework Offered
Homework is assigned in this course and displayed each week in a beautiful class Padlet. Students will have assignments that bring learning the medical language full-circle. Not only will we focus on the meanings of medical words and their individual word parts, but students will also participate in pronunciation practice and spelling tests every week. The reflection journal prompts every week will help students dive deep into career exploration and become self-experts when it comes to designing and mapping out their own future pathways.
2 - 4 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Grades Offered
Medical Terminology eBook will be provided by the instructor.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
Outschool serves a global community, and many families have different levels of comfort around certain subjects. Parents should understand that material in this course may potentially not be age-appropriate or may be objectionable to parents. Sensitive topics include careers in the end-of-life services industry, death, and dying; parents should be advised.
Medical Terminology eBook will be provided by the instructor.
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(155)
"Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire."  –W.B. Yeats

Welcome! I'm Rachel Adams, and I am so glad that you've found me on Outschool! 

I have spent 7 years in STEM+M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, + Medicine)... 
Self-Paced Class


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1 pre-recorded lesson
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1 year of access to the content

Completed by 5 learners
Ages: 12-17

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