I hope summer is treating everyone well and you all have visited the beach or pool at least once by now. I wanted to take this post to talk a little about my work as a scribe and how it has changed my way of thinking and what I want to do.
For those unfamiliar with what a medical scribe is, we are essentially notetakers for health providers. We take the patient’s history and current story and chart it into an online system. Medical charts are composed of; History of Present Illness (HPI), Review of Systems (ROS), Physical Exam (PE), Past Medical History (PMHx), any reevaluations, and disposition.
Scribes take on different roles depending on where they are employed. Some locations allow scribes to put in providers’ orders into the system for nurses and techs to fill out. Scribes can work in a variety of settings such as in the emergency department, clinics, other departments in a hospital, and private practices. I work as a ED medical scribe where we are not allowed to put in orders, just chart. The process is relatively straightforward. There is a medical system of some sort that everyone logs onto, nurses, techs, providers, medical scribes, etc. Once logged on, providers sign up for patients and now can place orders for that patient. Scribes can also see the board and see which patients the providers have signed up for, we then sign up for them too. The provider then goes to the patient’s room to talk to them about why they are here (HPI), their history (PMHx), and to conduct a physical exam. Once this is done the providers go back to their computers and the scribe begins putting the information into the system as providers put in orders for IV lines, blood work, imaging, etc. Rinse and repeat many times over in a shift.
Training to become a scribe includes learning medical terminology, mock charting, learning the differential thinking of providers, and learning what clinical signs mean. Basic anatomy is also included in the training. Training is not difficult and is invaluable for those interested in careers in healthcare. You learn a lot being a scribe and can find out if specific specialties are of interest to you. Emergency medicine is hectic but rewarding. Emergency providers know many emergency procedures and are the frontline providers when things go bad fast. They work with other specialist to provide the best care and can handle a lot on their own.
Becoming a scribe is fulfilling work and a great step in the right direction for students interested in medicine. Currently the company that holds the most scribing contracts in the area is Scribe America. Private offices have private scribes that are not affiliated with any company. Becoming a scribe starts with expressing interest to private practices or going to the Scribe America website and finding the career link. With contracts at all major hospitals in the area, Scribe America may be worth your while.
Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful to some of you out there. Thanks to those not interested in medicine for being patient and understating. Remember to have a great summer and enjoy yourself before the fall!