Becoming a medical scribe gives you an opportunity to work directly with healthcare providers and gain real-world experience in a variety of specialties. You get to shadow providers, pick their brains, and assist them by documenting into the EMR and providing clerical support. You will gain insight into the daily workflow of a provider and learn about medical terminology, treatments, and medications. Most importantly, you can determine if a healthcare career is right for you.
Scribing is by no means easy. You will work for an array of healthcare professionals with various preferences, demonstrate professionalism, communicate effectively, and multitask diligently – all while complying with federal regulatory standards. It can be pretty overwhelming for newcomers, so we’ve provided some tips to help you succeed as a medical scribe.
Know Your Role
One physician described the working relationship with a medical scribe akin to “being on the dance floor with someone who doesn’t know the steps.”¹ The physician takes on the leading role and the scribe must follow their lead and be ready to switch gears at any given time. This requires high adaptability on behalf of the scribe.
Establishing a healthy relationship with your provider is ultimately going to dictate your success as a medical scribe. Staying on the same page can be challenging, but use your best judgment and try not to overstep your boundaries. Some providers might be better at communicating their needs than others. Speak up and voice your questions if you’re unsure about something.
Be Prepared for Resistance
Even the best providers can struggle with working with scribes because they’ve grown accustomed to doing things their own way. Providers are people too, which means you’ll experience all types of personalities and backgrounds. Some might come off as assertive, while others might be more introverted. Stay thick-skinned and try to find common ground. Always remain professional, be respectful, and take everything gracefully. Reach out to your supervisor regarding any questions you might encounter and remember that your site coordinator is always a phone call away.
Every provider has their own patient charting preference. Scribes must organize information on the chart exactly how each provider wants it. Although some providers might seem overly critical about their charts, remember that charts reflect their professional license and they could lose their license for submitting inaccurate charts. Our Implementation Team works with every provider to generate a list of preferences for each section of the chart. A good scribe will review the charting preferences before each shift in order to anticipate how each provider wants their charts to look and document accordingly.
Constant feedback is essential for growth and is only possible with an open line of communication. One scribe reflected, “you have to be open to constructive criticism or feedback from the providers…just being willing to accept that feedback and learn from it.” Likewise, physicians learn to elicit questions from their scribes.¹ This extends to the entire staff, as you will be interacting with them frequently in most practices.
At the end of the day, you and your providers are working together to achieve a common goal, whether that be increasing their productivity or saving them time at the end of the day. Your role is essential to the care team’s mission to provide quality healthcare to patients.
A physician further emphasized the importance of mutual feedback, “we’ve got to work as a team and figure out what works best together.”¹ Once you and your provider are well acclimated, the real learning begins. You’ll find that providers can be the best teachers given that they were once in your shoes. And when you’re ready to move on to the next phase of your career, some may be happy to provide you with a letter of recommendation.
If you’re interested in becoming a medical scribe check out our Scribe Page for more information. Not quite sold yet? Check our previous blog, 5 Reasons to Become a Medical Scribe, to see why becoming a medical scribe is worth your time!
Yan, Chen et al. “Physician, Scribe, and Patient Perspectives on Clinical Scribes in Primary Care.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 31.9 (2016): 990–995. PMC. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.