For college students, summer break is a precious time. A summer break gives students some much-needed time away from their studies. It also provides them with a few months to pick up a job and earn some money. While there are many jobs and internships available for college students, many do not provide a cultivating learning experience that directly supports their career trajectory. This is especially true if you’re considering a future career in medicine.
For pre-health students considering a career in medicine, it’s time to stop thinking about summer jobs in the traditional sense. New opportunities, like becoming a medical scribe, last longer than a summer break, but provide a long-lasting understanding of clinical medicine and familiarity with being part of the medical team. Scribe companies work primarily with students and recent graduates so they’re familiar with and accommodating to student lifestyles and schedules.
What Is a Medical Scribe?
A medical scribes serves as an important part of the medical team by assisting providers including physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners during each patient visit in hospitals and outpatient clinics that include a variety of specialties. The primary goal of a medical scribe is to help improve the efficiency and productivity of the provider, so that the provider can spend more time with their patients and less time documenting.
With a medical scribe documenting all of the pertinent information during the patient encounter, the provider can focus their attention on the patient. This dynamic improves the experience for the patient and allows providers to remain focused on providing excellent care. Healthcare systems also benefit from having medical scribes because providers are able to see more patients and schedule more appointments during the day.
Working as a Medical Scribe
Medical scribes document the entire patient encounter from start to finish. The notes that scribes are tasked with documenting cover everything from the patient medical histories, physical exam findings, current medications, laboratory and imaging findings and more. By taking note of all of this information, the scribe is getting an invaluable glimpse into how a medical provider diagnoses and treats patients. For a student pursuing a career in medicine, each patient encounter is an opportunity to learn a wealth of information.
In addition to the time a medical scribe spends documenting in the patient room, they are also monitoring labs and imaging results and speaking with the provider about patient outcomes and learning about their reasons for admitting or discharging patients.
How Medical Scribing is the Perfect Job to Prepare for a Career in Medicine
For college students who are considering applying to a professional program such as medical school or PA school after graduation, the experience of working as a medical scribe is highly valuable. By supporting the medical team, medical scribes gain countless hours of learning in a clinical environment. They see each providers’ unique approach to clinical care through a variety of different cases. Scribes become familiar with how providers progress through the medical decision making process and make critical decisions.
When a student applies to medical school or PA school programs, they are competing with other students for admittance for a select number of seats. A student’s scores on the MCAT or GRE exam and undergraduate coursework weigh heavily on whether or not a student is interviewed, however additional experiences, like medical scribing, allow applicants to stand out from the rest.
The exposure to medicine and information learned by medical scribes helps college students succeed in undergraduate and professional courses. Many scribes report that the skills they developed as a scribe have helped them to succeed in their course work. Scribing demonstrates a particular advantage for students enrolled in human medicine courses like anatomy and physiology - coursework which is directly related to the first year of medical school.
Working as a Medical Scribe While in College
You’re probably telling yourself that becoming a medical scribe sounds great, but… how will you have the time? That’s a fair question. As a pre-health student, your college lectures and labs are time consuming in addition to your extracurricular activities and it can prove to be difficult to find a time to add medical scribing. Luckily, being a medical scribe with EPPA provides flexible shift scheduling for students that works around your availability. The EPPA scribe community has many sites with students and recent graduates who support schedule flexibility by swapping shifts if a particular scribe needs an extra free night to study.
EPPA hires medical scribes for a 1-2 year duration to ensure the maximal amount of information learned during their tenure. Health systems look to retain medical scribe employees for 1-2 years since they develop close working relationships with the providers and hospital staff. Many hospitals and clinics are happy to work with student schedules and allow for full-time work during breaks and part-time work during the school year.
Become a Medical Scribe Today
If you’re an undergraduate or gap year student looking for a job that allows you to gain an advantage when applying to medical or physician assistant (PA) school, working as an EPPA medical scribe will do just that.
Most importantly, scribes have the opportunity to contribute directly to better healthcare; for patients, providers and health systems.
Interested in becoming a medical scribe with EPPA? Apply today!