In October 2015, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released details about the number of students applying for and enrolling in the nation’s medical schools. While the number of students enrolled has reached an all-time high at 20,630, competition among applicants is also on the rise. How to improve success? Consider becoming a medical scribe. Here are five key reasons why.
#1 Gain Important Clinical Experience – Before You Apply
Last year, the total number of medical school applicants increased by more than six percent to 52,550. Being admitted to a top school is becoming more challenging each year; therefore, applicants must find a way to stand apart. Gaining clinical experience by becoming a medical scribe can provide the competitive advantage an applicant needs in order to be accepted to the school of his or her choice.
Medical scribes work very closely with clinicians. Unlike transcriptionists, medical scribes are present during patient interactions. Scribes gain experience by carefully listening to patients’ medical histories, while they work to create and maintain health records, as well as track laboratory results and physical examination findings. In addition, they learn the ins and outs of the electronic medical records system.
#2 Shadow and Establish Long-Term Mentor Relationships
In addition to learning to compile comprehensive medical records, scribes have the opportunity to create long-term relationships with a variety of clinicians. Building trust and establishing a network of medical professionals who can support and mentor a student can provide lifelong, career-building opportunities. As well, these professionals can be an excellent resource for reference letters.
#3 Gain Exposure to Specialties and Interest Areas
Today, medical scribes can be found throughout healthcare. A scribe can be placed in settings ranging from Family Medicine to Emergency Medicine, providing learning opportunities related to a broad range of areas. Even before enrolling in medical school, scribes have an opportunity to explore various specialties, thereby helping guide future career decisions.
Once in medical school, the experience of being a scribe can also pay off. Alexandra Wolf, a third year medical student at A.T. Still University – Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) and former Elite medical scribe, comments: “The clinical experience gained by being an Elite medical scribe will set you on a higher level than your classmates in note writing, fundamental medical knowledge, and patient care. Elite’s training is superior in its focus and attention to detail. It will impress not only your classmates but also your preceptors and residents in your clinical rotations.”
#4 Play a Role in Improving Patient Care
Medical scribes play an increasingly important role in patient care. More consumers are seeking medical services; therefore, the number of patients that clinicians see each day is on the rise. At the same time, the amount of time physicians can spend with patients is on the decline. Having access to medical scribes is one way in which provider networks are improving the care of patients by freeing physician’s time and shifting duties to other trained and capable personnel. A medical scribe has an opportunity to improve the patient experience by fulfilling that important role.
As Alexandra Wolf observed from her time with Elite, “Scribes eliminate the burden of medical documentation and frustration with the electronic medical record. Providers are more efficient and able to see more patients in a given amount of time and appropriately meet billing and coding elements; therefore, initial investment in scribe services yields a profitable return. They can leave work on time because their notes are already complete.”
#5 Build Future Career Opportunities
Not only is becoming a medical scribe a great way to gain experience and expertise in preparation for medical, PA or nursing school, it can also provide a variety of career opportunities. After just a few years of experience, medical scribes can go on to full-time positions as trainers or implementation specialists who are responsible for establishing new scribe programs within a clinic, hospital or health system.
For more information about how to improve opportunities for attending medical schools or the benefits of being a medical scribe, visit the Elite Medical Scribes FAQ page here, or visit some of these other helpful destinations: