Structuring Your Coursework to Become a Medical Scribe

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Working as a medical scribe is one of the best decisions you can make as an aspiring healthcare professional. It’s a fantastic opportunity to gain invaluable experience in real medical environments, network and connect with clinicians in the field, determine whether a career in patient care is a good fit for you, and even earn money at the same time. However, the working hours of medical environments often overlap with the classes or jobs of prospective medical scribes, making it difficult for them to develop schedules that can facilitate their academic responsibilities and scribing duties.

At Elite Medical Scribes, we pride ourselves in providing aspiring medical scribes with all of the resources and counsel they need to enter and succeed in this challenging and immensely rewarding field. Today, to help you launch your medical career, we’ll be offering you some advice on how to structure your coursework around a medical scribe position.

Planning Your Schedule Around Medical Scribing

Many of Elite’s medical scribe positions around the U.S. take place in clinics. In fact, we have an ever-increasing percentage of clinical positions compared to emergency medicine positions. Scribing for clinicians within a clinic will provide you with unique opportunities to establish invaluable professional relationships and develop an in-depth understanding of the specific challenges, demands, and workflows of their medical specialties within stimulating work environments. However, in order to obtain one of these desirable roles, prospective scribes need to be capable of adapting their schedules around clinic hours. In most cases, clinics are open on Monday through Friday during the hours of 8 AM through 5 PM.

Regrettably, clinic schedules are difficult for full-time students who are trying to obtain work experience in medical environments while earning their degree. In many cases, these individuals struggle with the process of arranging their class schedules around their scribing duties, particularly if they intend to work another part-time job or retain some semblance of a social life. Fortunately, there are a few simple strategies that medical scribes can use to map out their classwork and other jobs to avoid time conflicts with their scribing shifts.

1. Cluster Your Classes and/or Secondary Job Shifts

Whenever possible, we highly recommend grouping up all of your classes and secondary job shifts to ensure that they only take up two to three days of the week. This will leave you with two or three full days (somewhere between Monday and Friday) to work as a scribe.

It’s important to bear in mind that this schedule will require excellent discipline in terms of time management and sleep. If you allow some of your coursework or studies to bleed into your medical scribing shifts, you may be forced to choose between pushing it off or compromising on the quality of your work by skipping out on shifts to complete it. This will become particularly problematic once exams or intensive projects come into play. Moreover, sacrificing your sleeping hours to catch up on your professional responsibilities is inadvisable because it will diminish your ability to keep pace with your assigned clinicians and effectively complete your assignments. Make no mistake, juggling all of these responsibilities and demands will be challenging, but it can be done as long as you stay driven and plan out your days properly.

2. Choose Classes or Secondary Job Hours That Start After 6 PM or on Weekends

By arranging your classes and secondary job shifts in the evenings of weekdays and/or on weekends, you’ll be left with several hours in the day to work as a medical scribe. Unfortunately, this tactic can create situations where you’re forced to hop into a long session of schooling or work almost immediately after your demanding scribing shift. In order to manage the stress and fatigue that these intense periods of work will create, you’ll need to be very strategic about the breaks you’re given. For example, it’s a very bad idea to cram in extra study sessions or homework between your scribing duties unless you absolutely have to. We recommend using downtime during coursework or work shifts to relax and revitalize your mind. This will go a long way in keeping you in peak condition and fully prepared to take on the challenges that the rest of the day has in store.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of discounting these invaluable breaks as wastes of potential work or study time, but you’ll be much more effective at completing your academic and professional tasks if you give yourself opportunities to recuperate. Moreover, experts have found that the stress that results from overworking can result in a veritable tide of health and performance problems, including impaired sleep, depression, diabetes, impaired memory, heart disease, and even reliance on drugs or alcohol to effectively cope. The little you gain from skipping out on your breaks will be completely swept away by any of these serious issues, so don’t feel bad about taking the time to relax for a while.

3. Structure Your Classes or Secondary Job to Only Take Place in the Early Half or Afternoon Half of the Day

Luckily, there are a few clinics that are flexible enough to allow their medical scribes to participate in half-day shifts. At Elite Medical Scribes, we do everything in our power to adapt the work schedules of our scribes to suit their needs and constraints, and organizing your classes or secondary job hours around the early half of the day or afternoon will give us the ability to slot you into these convenient half-day shifts. Of course, your capacity to leverage this perk will depend entirely on which local clinic you are assigned to, so don’t assume that this strategy will always bear fruit.

4. Sign up for Classes That Allow You to Work at Your Own Pace

If possible, we highly suggest enrolling in classes that give you opportunities to work on your own time and at your own pace. This will give you significantly more flexibility compared to set class hours, making it much easier to schedule your job or scribing shifts. Many universities and colleges offer online courses that utilize online lessons and exams, allowing you to complete these responsibilities whenever you have free time. If you’re interested in making use of this strategy but aren’t sure about which course options are at your disposal, then be sure to speak with your student advisor. These experts can help you develop a customized course plan that works best for your needs and preferences.

5. Choose a Secondary Job That’s Flexible

We advise against picking up a secondary job unless you have to. After all, it’s challenging enough to balance the tasks and requirements of your schoolwork and medical scribing role at the same time. However, depending on your current financial situation, you may not have a choice in the matter. Fortunately, there’s a useful trick you can use to keep your secondary job from conflicting with your scribing duties. Prioritize jobs that allow flexibility with one-month notice of your scribe schedule. That way, you’ll be able to alter your work shifts around your scribe work. It’s also worth noting that this flexibility can be very useful when managing your academic work, especially during large projects or finals. Put simply, the more pliable your secondary job schedule is, the better.

Become an Elite Medical Scribe Today

Elite Medical Scribes is the nation’s preeminent provider of the highest quality medical scribe services for healthcare systems, physician groups, and independent practices. If you’re interested in joining our illustrious organization as a medical scribe, then be sure to visit our Careers page for more information on the employment opportunities we offer in your area. Last but not least, if you have any questions about Elite or want more advice on how to become a medical scribe, then be sure to call or message us today! We would be more than happy to provide you with any additional resources you need.

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