If you’re planning a future in the medical field, there are many ways to prepare long before you hit medical school, including shadowing physicians, volunteering at clinics and participating in medically-focused missions trips. Another great way to prepare, and get paid while you’re at it, is to work as a medical scribe.
A medical scribe essentially serves as a personal assistant to a physician. Scribes take notes throughout physician-patient encounters; gather data for the physician such as nursing notes, prior records, labs and radiology results; and document patients’ electronic health records (EHRs). This allows the physician to focus on what he or she does best – treat patients – while scribes get the benefit of a firsthand glimpse into the field.
Five top benefits of working as a medical scribe before or while attending medical school include:
- The chance to shadow physicians: Admissions committees of most reputable medical schools expect or even require prospective students to have shadowed a physician for some period of time. After all, the experience is the single best way to see just what your own future as a healthcare provider holds and to learn how best to handle the inevitable stress of the job.
- The chance to witness patient encounters: Perhaps more important than observing a physician is the opportunity to listen to and observe patients during doctor-patient encounters. First, you’ll learn to be in the moment, so to speak, blocking out all distractions to assure accurate documentation for EHRs. You’ll also learn about effective communication between providers and patients, particularly in cases where patients are fearful, upset or uncertain.
- You’ll develop diagnosis skills: Over time, you’ll begin to recognize and even anticipate patient symptoms and signs that inform a physician’s diagnosis, as well as all the pertinent medical terms and language – something that many students don’t learn until well into medical school.
- You’ll learn teamwork: Effective medicine relies not just on a physician, but on a full team of interdisciplinary healthcare providers including nurse practitioners, physician assistants and even administrative support staff. Many medical students have no idea what roles these providers play until their third year of school.
- You’ll get paid: Being a medical scribe is a paraprofessional job, which means that it’s a task trusted to a person who is not licensed to practice as a fully qualified professional but who is highly skilled and capable. It’s a paid position, which means you’ll be financially compensated for learning more about your chosen profession.
Another great way to prepare for the rigors of medical school is to enroll at St. Augustine, FL-based WOLFPACC, which offers a Pre Med Head Start program as well as USMLE and COMLEX preparation courses that employ revolutionary approaches to the study and practice of medicine. Call 904-209-3140 to talk with an admissions representative today.