Becoming a medical scribe is a unique and valuable experience, especially for students considering a future in medicine. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in medicine health care field, or if you’re simply interested in becoming a medical scribe to see if you enjoy working in medicine, there are some specific job requirements to keep in mind.
To keep you on top of the requirements needed for gaining employment as a medical scribe, we put together this article to serve as a guide during your application process. Before we get into the nitty gritty of medical scribe requirements, we wanted to start with some general information about the job itself.
What Does a Medical Scribe Do?
A medical scribe serves as an important part of the medical team by assisting providers including physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners during their patient visits in hospitals and outpatient clinics with a variety of specialties. The primary responsibility of a medical scribe is documenting and charting medical data discussed during provider-patient encounters. The scribe follows the provider into patient rooms, and serves as the documentor of relevant notes and medical data that traditionally would be recorded by the provider. By relieving the physician of the burden of taking the notes and documenting themselves, the provider is able to focus all of their attention on the patient, which ultimately allows higher patient satisfaction and increased workflow efficiency for the provider.
Other tasks of a medical scribe include:
Technical Duties: Scribes document the entire patient encounter from start to finish; including the patient's history, physician exam, provider orders, patient outcomes, labs, imaging and more
Organizational Tasks: Scribes will assist in the organization of patient information in the electronic health record (EHR) prior to each patient encounter, allowing providers to move more efficiently between patient visits.
What Kinds of Medical Data do Medical Scribes Collect?
You might be asking yourself, what type of medical data do medical scribes take note of? Good question! The term medical data can sound a bit vague, and even a bit intimidating. When we get into the details of the specific requirements that medical scribes need to seek employment in the role, having an understanding of the types of data medical scribes use is important. Some of the medical data that medical scribes take note of include:
Medical Records: Each patient will have a unique medical history and an existing medical record. The medical scribe will input these records into their system’s Electronic Health Record (EHR).
History of Present Illness ( HPI): A HPI is a concise narrative of the patient’s story that includes the context of their chief complaint, past medical history, symptoms, etc that the medical scribe is creating. The scribe writes an HPI based on the observed provider and patient interaction.
Notes of Patient Encounter: During the patient encounter, the patient will answer questions from the physician about symptoms, exercise, diet, etc, which the medical scribe will document. Also, medical tests that are conducted such as basic vitals or imaging studies will also need to be documented by the medical scribe.
Medical Dictations: Physicians will often speak notes about the visit and/or their medical decision making into a dictaphone, scribes will listen to these dictations and translate the information into the EHR.
Letters: Scribes will sometimes write referral letters for doctors or other types of correspondence.
Skills Needed to be a Medical Scribe
The skills that are needed to be a medical scribe are a mix of technology and personality. Typing proficiency is one of the most important requirements a scribe will need to have. The information that is mentioned in visits needs to be documented quickly and accurately. Doing so in an organized and clean manner is also important.
The daily work of a medical scribe doesn’t require carrying heavy objects, but does require working long shifts. The medical world operates mostly on 8-12 hour shifts, this includes shifts of medical scribes. It requires commitment and motivation on the part of the scribe. When you see a post for a medical scribe job, the following skills are usually listed as requirements:
Excellent Organizational Skills
Knowledge of Medical Terminology
Ability to Multitask
Applying to be a Medical Scribe
If you’re interested in becoming a medical scribe, you’ll want your resume and cover letter to reflect your interest and qualifications. A high school diploma is always required. If you are currently taking college courses such as anatomy, physiology and biology, make note of that in your cover letter as well. Those courses will demonstrate a strong knowledge in medical terminology.
If you’re considering pursuing a career in medicine, state that clearly in your application. Hiring managers look to employ students considering a career in medicine as medical scribes, as they often have a working knowledge of medical terminology and hospital process, and will have the passion and motivation to learn and grow on the job.
In order to demonstrate that you have the technical skills required, list coursework, certifications, or prior job experience that required you to deploy a proficiency in typing. If you have taken a typing speed test, attach those scores to your application.
Become a Medical Scribe with EPPA!
Curious to learn more about becoming a medical scribe? Learn more about the medical scribe position and current openings we have at EPPA. If you’re looking to build valuable experience on your journey to working in medicine, becoming a medical scribe with EPPA will help you gain the hands on knowledge you need and set you apart from your peers. Join us today.