What to Know Before Becoming a Scribe

What to know before becoming a scribeCongratulations, you’ve decided to pursue a career in medicine! You’ve planned your career path and timeline, but now you’re wondering how to get the professional experience you need to get into medical school. Plus, like any pre-med student, you’re wondering how to take the first step in connecting with clinicians and specialists in the industry to earn your letters of recommendation.

Becoming a medical scribe can be extremely beneficial to you in achieving all of the above – and more. Medical scribes are becoming more and more common across major health systems, hospitals, and clinics, due in large part to the benefit they provide to physicians and patients alike. Medical scribes allow for increased patient-clinician interaction and contribute to decreases in healthcare provider burnout and increases in patient satisfaction.

Working as a scribe allows you to make the connection between what you’re learning in the classroom and what you’ll experience in a professional setting. This early in your career, being a scribe is helpful in navigating this new world, and allows you to get ahead of your peers.

Pursuing a medical career requires a combined passion for science and service. Once you’ve committed yourself to this path, you’ll want to seek opportunities that allow you to grow and learn in both categories.

But, what does it take to be hired as a scribe? How will you succeed once you get there?

Being a scribe takes a commitment. Many students choose to work while being in a pre-med program or take a gap year before applying to medical school. This is a perfect time to consider gaining on-the-job experience. In a hospital or clinic setting, healthcare providers like consistency and the ability to form a relationship with the people working alongside them. During your time as a scribe, you’ll get the benefit of observing the relationship between patient and clinician, particularly the caring and trust that goes into providing quality patient care.

What do you need to know if you are considering becoming a medical scribe? Mez Darugar, Clinical Product Development Manager and Training Manager at Elite Medical Scribes, shares her thoughts here.

Do you have any advice on preparing for an interview at a scribe company?

To ace the interview, keep in mind there are typically specific qualities and criteria that we are looking for, such as the candidate’s GPA, their major, the school that they are coming from, and how they perform on a typing test. Also, when looking at candidates, we observe how they handle certain situations. We want people who are mature, who understand the commitment they are taking on, who can work in fast-paced environments, and who can multi-task and keep track of details.

Another very important quality, possibly the biggest one, is that the candidate is proactive and is able to show that they take initiative. A healthcare provider is depending on their scribe to be a few steps ahead and to be able to keep up.

An important thing to convey during an interview is that you truly want to gain experience and are serious about a career in the medical field. We are looking for people who really want to make a difference. We also want to hear about your career goals and what you hope to achieve as a scribe. This is a brilliant position for anyone who wants to move on to nursing, PA, or med school.

How important is a scribe company’s training program?

It’s everything. Without proper preparation, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to succeed. At Elite Medical Scribes, for instance, we have developed an immersive online medical scribe training experience called the Elite Academy. Our trainers are former scribes themselves, so they bring that experience into the training environment. We also give personal feedback in real time, so students know what to improve on before they get in a professional setting. Properly trained medical scribes allow for a more streamlined process for both the scribe and the clinician they support.

During training, scribes are exposed to a diverse range of specialties. We started out training scribes in emergency medicine, but we’ve expanded to include over 30 different specialty areas including family medicine, orthopedics, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, and gastroenterology, to name a few.

What technical training should students expect to receive?

It varies. At Elite Medical Scribes, we place an extremely high priority on training –  which is one of the reasons we have so many applicants and successful scribes! For example, we have Electronic Health Record (EHR) training so students can get a look at the EHR and understand it before they get onsite. In addition to all the medical terminology and the workload of the provider, there’s a big learning curve when getting familiar with the EHR, thus advanced training in this area is tremendously beneficial.

Scribes also learn how to document History of Present Illness (HPI), Review of System (ROS) and other elements of medical charts to meet billing and coding requirements. We provide additional practice to further improve typing speed and accuracy. The Elite Academy was designed to ensure confidence and satisfaction of clinicians and administrators we support.

What about job placement and location?

We work with scribe students to suit their location preferences. Elite is hiring scribes across most of the United States, so odds are good that a student who completes the training will find a job close to home or school.

Do you offer scheduling flexibility?

When we do interviews, we look at a candidate’s schedule to see if it fits with what roles we’re trying to fill. We take into consideration the distance that a candidate is from the site, too. We understand that scribes have different schedules with every semester. These factors are all taken into consideration and we make sure we fulfill the facility’s needs, yet at the same time give scribes the opportunity to get the work experience they need.

Should candidates consider the size of a scribe company before applying?

Yes, I think it makes a big difference. We have already nearly 1,100 scribe positions located across the country and we continue to grow rapidly. In fact, we were just named one of the country’s fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine. 

Are there opportunities for advancement?

Absolutely. At Elite Medical Scribes, a successful scribe can advance to an Assistant Chief Scribe, a Chief Scribe, and they can even move up to an Implementation Specialist. They can travel and train others. We don’t just specialize in educating scribes, but we also develop people into leaders whether they choose to advance as a scribe or seek further opportunities with the company.

Is becoming a scribe hard work?

Yes. If you want to be a medical scribe, you need to be ready to commit yourself to learning this exciting field as well as dedicating the time it takes to excel in your proficiency.

When recruiters see that a candidate is qualified, they explain what the training entails: 12 lectures, the final exam and two four-hour live simulation classes. Those live simulation classes are at set times every single week, so students need to make sure that their existing schedules can accommodate that.

What is the average length of time someone stays in your employment?

Typically, scribes stay in their position for one to two years, but it can be longer based on their interests and needs. We look for people who understand the value and benefit that comes from this experience. We recognize that those who are most successful are naturally moving on to pursue their education in the medical field, which is a great thing! Students become scribes to get clinical experience and ultimately, get a letter of recommendation from a clinician they’ve worked with closely over a length of time. All in all, the experience of being a scribe is invaluable!

To learn more about becoming a scribe, visit http://www.elitemedicalscribes.com/careers/faq/ .

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