Medical schools are becoming more and more competitive.
Now more than ever it is important to have quality extracurriculars in order to outshine the other applicants. One of my favorite ways to really make yourself a competitive applicant is to become a medical scribe.
Below are 9 benefits of being a medical scribe.
#1 Exposure To a Clinical Environment
Scribing truly immerses you in the front lines of medicine.
As a scribe, you will experience a lot of medical procedures and the day to day interactions a physician has with his or her patients. In addition to this, you will also experience the “behind the scenes of medicine.”
You will really see how a health care team comes together in order to provide patient care. The physician you follow will work with nurses, lab technicians, x-ray technologists, and other health care personnel to diagnose and treat patients.
#2 Becoming Proficient In Electronic Health Record System
Nowadays the Electronic Health Record system, or EHR, virtually runs a physician’s life. Whether you like it or not, you will spend a lot of your future career writing in electronic charts. With no experience, this can be a very daunting task that could lead to burnout.
As a scribe, this is basically your entire job. There is a very steep learning curve, but once you become proficient (Which you will!), you will have developed an essential skill for your career as a doctor.
Further Reading: Medical Scribing Tips To Help You Improve
#3 Multiple Mentors
Although you will be very busy as a medical scribe, some days will be slow. I have had shifts in the ER where we saw maybe 3 patients the entire time. Yea those slow days can be boring, but they can also be an advantage.
Downtime in the ER gives you the opportunity to chat with your physician. Every doctor was once in your shoes and most of them are happy to give you advice.
This basically gives you the opportunity to have multiple mentors. Ask these mentors for tips about the MCAT, the application, and any other advice pertaining to getting into and through medical school.
#4 Potential Letters of Recommendation
Getting letters of recommendation from professors can be fairly easy, but medical schools like to see at least one letter from a physician.
This is especially true if you are applying to D.O. schools. Usually, D.O schools will require a letter of recommendation from a D.O. who are easy to find when working as a scribe.
As mentioned above, as a scribe you have a lot of downtime with physicians to build relationships. If you are trying your best, most physicians will appreciate your help and be more than willing to provide a letter of recommendation.
#5 Becoming Familiar With Medical Terminology
In medicine, there is definitely a learning curve when it comes to knowing all the medical terminology. There are all kinds of abbreviations, words, and phrases which are expected to be understood amongst the medical community. In addition to this, one is expected to know about all the common prescriptions.
As a scribe, you are expected to be up to speed with the medical jargon so that your notes are accurate. When you are busy, you will need to be efficient with your time. Having to look up phrases, abbreviations, and even spelling will slow you down.
If you become a scribe before medical school, you will be one step ahead of your peers. Typically, Medical Terminology is not taught to premeds. And even when it is, experiencing it in real life is a different story.
#6 Applying Your Premed Classes To Real Life Situations
I found this benefit priceless. Everything I learned in physiology and anatomy was further solidified in my mind after applying it to real life.
You may learn about the physiology behind a heart attack or stroke in your physiology class. However, when you see how the doctor you are scribing for treats a patient like this, you can really connect the dots.
Also, having that deeper understanding of the sciences will be great when it comes to taking your MCAT!
#7 You Will Become Faster At Typing
An obvious benefit, but nonetheless something very valuable. The world we live in is run by technology. This is no different in medicine. Your typing skills will follow you through medical school and beyond. Whether it is quickly typing up some notes or writing an email to a client.
Further Reading: 5 Important Medical Scribing Tips To Help You Improve
#8 Get Paid To Shadow A Physician
Scribing is almost like getting paid to shadow a doctor. I say “almost” because in reality shadowing is more laid back and the focus is on learning. As a medical scribe, you are still employed and your number one priority is to get the electronic charts done.
Scribing can occupy most of your available mental capacity. However, you do get those lulls throughout the day where you are not so focused on keeping up. It’s times like these that you have the opportunity to just stand in the room and observe the physician at work.
Also, unlike shadowing, the patient tends to feel less awkward with you standing in the corner because you actually have a purpose!
Further Reading: 9 Tips For Finding A Doctor To Shadow
#9 Scribing Will Show You What It’s Like To Be a Physician
This is possibly the most important benefit of becoming a medical scribe.
You don’t want to go into medical school without really experiencing what being a physician is like. It is no mystery that physician burn out is a real thing and should be taken seriously. This is not to deter you from pursuing a career as a doctor but rather to be truly prepared for what might come in the future.
Additionally, you can observe the kind of doctor you want to become and copy their habits. In the ER I have seen doctors who hate being there and I’ve seen doctors that love their career and always strive to do what is best for their patients.
We have heard it time and time again, don’t go into medicine unless you truly want to help people and you love science. This is because the doctors who are in it for the money, fame, excitement, or anything else besides a desire to enrich lives, are the ones who ultimately get burned out.
Not to say that this career path is not an exciting one. It’s true that this is no desk job, you will be saving lives. But that shouldn’t be your only goal.
Being a medical scribe will show you what being a physician is really like. This kind of experience will give you a good idea of whether or not this career is for you.
Final Thoughts on Benefits of Being a Medical Scribe
There is a reason why medical schools love premed students who worked as scribes. All these benefits will not only make you a better premed student but also more prepared for the real world of being a physician.
Have any questions regarding scribing? Leave a comment below and I will make sure to get back to you!