Medical Scribe

Hello, aspiring physicians!

It’s been a while since I have been on a much-needed vacation to spend time with my family. During this time I was able to mentor some high school students who aspire to become physicians. They had great questions but one question that always came up was “what can I do now to help me on my path to becoming a doctor?”

In my past posts, I spoke about shadowing which I think is still a good way to find out if you want to be a doctor and maybe what specialty you would like to pursue. Shadowing is great for networking and may open doors for long-lasting mentors and even reference letters. But it is hard to get your foot in the door to shadow. Sometimes you have to jump through a couple of hoops to even get time to spend with the doctor unless you know one directly.

So how can you gain some clinical experience outside of shadowing? Become a medical scribe.

I was a hospital scribe for a year during my time off between college and medical school. I worked in the ER as a hospital scribe. My job was to go into a patient’s room with the physician and sit quietly and listen to the interaction between the patient and the doctor. Instead of just sitting there like a fly on the wall, I had a paper documentation form (nowadays it’s all on the computers), I would write down the conversation in a very structured manner beginning with the history of present illness (HPI), medications, allergies, past medical history, family history, and physical examination. I would leave the diagnosis and imaging blank for the physician to fill out. Working in the ER was such a great experience because every patient was different and every problem was different. And if you have a doctor who loves teaching then after the patient encounters you can discuss the differential diagnosis, imaging and treatment options.

I volunteered as a scribe for 1 year. I did not get paid but it was the best educational experience that I can recommend to anyone wanting to go into the medical field.

Now, there are paid medical scribe positions. If you are interested I would start looking at hospitals to see if there are any open positions for a hospital scribe. If the hospital uses an electronic medical record (EMR) system then you will have a training period to help you navigate the system. You do not need to have much experience just bring your passion and willingness to learn. This is such a valuable service to physicians because it gives us the time to interact with patients and we can spend less time on the computer and patients feels like they are taken care of and listened to and not rushed. So its a win-win-win situation, you get valuable experience, the physician can take better care of patients and patients get the best service with your help.

Good luck! Study Hard! Keep grinding! You can do it!


Your Med Mentor

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