Forging a successful medical career can be incredibly challenging. It requires outstanding dedication to one’s studies, a substantial amount of training and experience, and the creation of a strong professional network. In many cases, individuals studying medicine are torn between dedicating their time to gaining experience, chipping away at school debt, and arranging networking opportunities with experts in the field. Fortunately, there is a position that allows these prospective students of medicine to do all three at once.
As an organization committed to providing scribe services to some of the country’s leading healthcare systems, physicians groups, and independent practices, Elite Medical Scribes fully understands the value that working as a scribe can bring to a professional who is exploring careers in medical care. To fully appreciate the opportunity scribing can provide, it’s best to understand what a day in the life of a medical scribe looks like.
A Day in the Life of a Medical Scribe
Believe it or not, life as a physician used to involve relatively little paperwork. For the most part, those practicing medicine just had to concentrate on direct patient contact and care. Eventually, the Electronic Health Record (EHR) screamed into existence and brought a veritable tide of documentation and clerical responsibilities with it. All of these new responsibilities bogged doctors down, forcing them to dedicate incredible amounts of time and effort to sorting through forms and charts instead of providing care and treatment for their patients.
In response to this drastic influx of documents, more physicians around the country are starting to consider scribe services to lighten their administrative load. Medical scribes are essentially assistants to physicians. They stay with their assigned medical professional throughout their shift, filling out and keeping track of all of the charts, forms, and other paperwork for each patient visited. The primary goal of this setup is to maintain maximum efficiency, ensuring that this medical team of two can attend to as many patients as possible. At first glance, a medical scribe position might seem unfulfilling. How stimulating and exciting could it be to follow someone around as a personal assistant for an entire 12-hour shift?
In actuality, working as a medical scribe is one of the most gratifying and valuable opportunities you can explore during the start of your medical career. Yes, you’ll be writing up an extensive amount of paperwork, but you’ll also form relationships with experts in the field and gain a great deal of knowledge and experience in the world of medicine. The skills, connections, and expertise you acquire in a medical scribe position can help you find future positions and gain an edge over other medical school applicants.
Here are four reasons why becoming a medical scribe will help advance your medical career.
1: Scribing gives you a taste of life as a medical expert
As a medical scribe, you’ll become all too familiar with medical forms, labs, procedures, charts, and documents. But as you assist your assigned physicians, you’ll also gain a much better understanding of what it’s like to have their job. The hours, responsibilities, joys, and tribulations you’ll have to bear as a medical professional working a 12-hour shift will all be laid bare. This is an incredible opportunity for you to figure out whether a career in medicine is the right fit before committing the many years and dollars needed to complete your education.
Schoolwork alone can’t give you a comprehensive view of what working as a medical expert will be like. Scribing is an excellent way to dip your feet into medical work, allowing you to spend time with physicians as they work and determine whether this incredibly exciting, rewarding, and stressful career is a good fit for you. Ideally, the end of your medical scribing experience will leave you feeling reassured and confident that you’re on the right track. And if it doesn’t, you’ll be able to reevaluate what you want in a career and set yourself onto a new path.
2: Scribes network with medical professionals
There are more advantages to shadowing medical experts than just learning whether you would enjoy their jobs or not. Remember that these physicians are all connected to a massive network of professionals. As a medical scribe, your primary responsibilities will be taking notes during patient encounters and writing the details of those encounters into medical records, but you’ll also have many opportunities to speak and connect with the expert you assist. And remember that you can be assigned to a different physician depending on your shift and the setting you’re in, meaning that you could potentially gain dozens of valuable new connections for your network.
Bear in mind how useful these connections can be when applying to medical school, too, particularly when it comes to obtaining letters of recommendation. Many applicants just put together a package of three or four letters from undergraduate professors, so imagine how strongly your submission will stand out with a truly personal recommendation from one or two physicians you’ve worked with. If you do an excellent job during your medical scribe career, these doctors will be more than happy to play a part in advancing your medical career with a letter, especially if you ask them in person. These connections will also be invaluable when hunting for new positions after your schooling concludes, as it’s not uncommon for scribes to return to their original facility given the lasting impression that they leave, so remember to keep in touch with them.
3: Scribing provides money for student debt and future schooling
Providing funds for your medical training and schooling can be difficult, particularly if you’re working off student debt already. Many prospective medical school students take up serving positions or other part-time jobs unrelated to the medical field, missing out on the opportunity to gain valuable experience and professional connections in the world of medical care. Working as a medical scribe is a fantastic way to reduce your debt or save up for medical school while forming connections and gaining experience in the field.
Certain employers will provide Financial Aid programs as well. At Elite Medical Scribes, we offer a scholarship program for current or former team members being accepted into healthcare graduate programs (including medical school and PA school). Be sure to explore your options to find the best scribe position for your situation.
4: Scribing grants you valuable skills and work experience
Medical scribes learn all about medical language, the importance of keeping records, and how to diagnose and treat various conditions by observing the medical expert they’re assigned to. Working alongside your assigned expert and their colleagues will also teach you a great deal about how these professionals utilize teamwork, split responsibilities, and provide support for each other when stress looms overhead. All of these skills will help you to succeed in your schooling, training, and eventual work as a physician.
Most importantly of all, your time as a medical scribe will give you the invaluable experience of working with real patients. You’ll learn the best ways to listen to them, explain their conditions, and provide comfort when their worries and fears overwhelm them. One of the most critical components of being a medical professional is the ability to form powerful bonds of trust with your patients in a short amount of time. A skill that complex can’t be covered in a textbook or taught inside of a classroom. Real experience interacting with unique patients is the only way to master this critical component of being an exceptional physician.
How to Become a Medical Scribe
Most medical scribe positions require a few core competencies, including writing, typing, and basic computer skills. These exist to ensure that you’ll be capable of creating medical records and filling out various forms. Employers usually prefer candidates in college who are pursuing a career in medicine and have a solid understanding of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, as well as an interest in healthcare. Keep in mind that medical scribes will be spending several hours on their feet walking around the facility as well. Lastly, most positions require your availability at least twice a week for the 8, 10, or 12-hour shifts of your assigned clinician.
If you’ve just started your medical career or don’t have the experience or knowledge to become a scribe yet, consider joining a medical scribe training program. Elite Medical Scribes provides training for medical scribing with the Elite Academy. As the nation’s leading program, the Elite Academy offers theory, practice, and real-time feedback on charting and documenting notes to ensure that you’ve mastered these core skills. You’ll also receive access to interactive virtual classroom technology that provides ample scribe training.
Graduates of the Elite Academy will be offered the opportunity for on-site training as well. During these sessions, you’ll work under direct supervision of an experienced Elite medical scribe trainer during actual scribing shifts with a clinician. Additionally, following Elite Academy, you will become certified as a trained expert with all the knowledge and experience needed to succeed as a medical scribe.
Contact us today to learn more about how becoming a medical scribe can advance your medical career.