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Gap Year Job - Scribe or Receptionist?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by itsraininbunnie, 05.14.14.

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  1. itsraininbunnie

    itsraininbunnie 2+ Year Member

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    I have 2 job offers for my gap year, and would really appreciate any advice you guys have for which one you think I should take

    One is a full-time scribe position, so it would be a lot of patient contact. But it would be a 1.5 hour commute each way every day, and pays $12K less for the year than the other job.

    The other is a full-time receptionist job at Massachusetts General Hospital. It's mostly answering phones, scheduling labs and surgeries. So the only patient contact would be over the phone, but it's a very prestigious hospital. It's in a more convenient location (shaves about 45 minutes off of my commute each way), and pays $12K more for the year.

    Which do you think would be better for eventual medical school applications/to talk about at interviews?

    Thanks in advance for your input!
     
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  3. Planes2Doc

    Planes2Doc 2+ Year Member

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    Assuming that nothing is conflicting with schoolwork or the MCAT, then I'd say do scribing. Some schools put a premium on entry-level clinical jobs. This would look better to ADCOMs than the receptionist job. It doesn't matter if it's a prestigious hospital. It's the same as shadowing a prestigious physician, I don't see how it will necessarily help you. The shorter commute does sound nice though, and would be worth considering if you're still going to take the MCAT. $12,000 is also a lot of money, but in the grand scheme of things, it's pocket change compared to future earnings. The most important thing for you is making that medical school application look as nice as possible.

    Full-time work is a lot to handle. Just remember that if you haven't already taken the MCAT, then more time should be spent making sure you'll get the highest score possible. Academics are far more important than an entry-level clinical job that ADCOMs see all the time.
     
  4. itsraininbunnie

    itsraininbunnie 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks so much for your help! I'm also leaning toward the scribe job. I've already taken the MCAT and won't be retaking, so I'll just be focusing on the job and medical school applications/interviews.
     
    pbrocks15 and Planes2Doc like this.
  5. graden

    graden

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    How are the rest of your ECs? Maybe go with the receptionist position to save that money for med school.
     
  6. mvenus929

    mvenus929 10+ Year Member

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    My gut reaction is to go with the scribing job, because it will be better experience, but it depends on what else is in your application. If you already have strong clinical experience, then maybe this won't help much and the shorter commute and larger salary would be more appealing. Don't look at the 'prestige' of the hospital--it won't matter. At the end of the day, you'll still be answering phones rather than having direct patient contact.
     
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  7. Person0715

    Person0715 Socially awkward 2+ Year Member

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    Sorry to hijack the thread, but i have a similar inquiry. How do you guys think adcoms would view a medical assistant job? I have a job as a medical assistant lined up for my gap year, so I really have no choice in the matter, but I was just curious. In this job, I would be doing the job of a receptionist, but I would also be escorting patients to their room, prepping them before they see the doctor (ie record their initial complaints), and also a lot of patient education (ie after the doc is done seeing them, I would tell them a bit more about their condition/diagnosis and their prescribed medicines if they had additional questions that I could answer).
     
  8. Deadlifts

    Deadlifts Warming up with your max 2+ Year Member

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    Personally, I would take the higher paying job in a heart beat. You can use that time you save on your commute to do clinical volunteering if you feel like you're lacking patient exposure.
     
  9. lobo.solo

    lobo.solo 5+ Year Member

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    Scribe. Move closer to scribe job, so you don't have to commute.
     
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  10. Planes2Doc

    Planes2Doc 2+ Year Member

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    It's going to look better than not doing it at all.

    BUT (and it's a big but), are you still in school or taking the MCAT? As I've said earlier, academics trumps entry-level clinical jobs each and every time. These jobs will make a great student look better, but it won't help if you spent all your time working on this job, and ended up taking a hit on your stats.

    Now, assuming this is during your gap year and you're only strengthening ECs, then it will look fine. I don't think any clinical jobs look better than one another, as ADCOMs have seen them all. As long as you can make it sound good in your PS and interviews you should be fine.
     
  11. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 2+ Year Member

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    Scribe. I commute an hour to scribe f/t and it's totally worth it. I did get a bit burnt out eventually, but I was also taking 2 classes, working another half-time job, and volunteering at a children's hospital for most of the past 6mo, so I don't think it's fair to say that the scribing + commute is burnout-zone.

    Scribing has let me see tons of procedures, codes, regular patient care, traumas, STEMIs, strokes, surgeries - you name it. It introduces you to docs of every specialty, gives you an idea of what the call schedule is really like in the various specialties, has you standing next to the family while a code is run, and not only gives you practice writing notes, but has docs going through every chart you do with a fine-toothed comb (depending on the doc...some leave it be, some will grill you on how you could possibly have qualified that patient as being in 'mild' distress vs 'none' or 'moderate'.)
    I have shifts where the docs give me 'homework' such as 'why use drug x vs drug y when dealing with a patient with (chronic problem) in the setting of (acute problem).'
    I don't love every second of my job, but I never leave the hospital wishing I hadn't gone in that day.
    If the goal of your gap year is to gain experience and learn, take the scribe position in a heartbeat. People pay thousands of dollars for experiences and academic enhancers which get them closer to med school...scribing is surely worth a pay cut, because it not only gets you closer to med school, but is also an enjoyable and educational experience along the way.
     
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  12. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 2+ Year Member

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    Volunteering comes nowhere close to making up for the opportunities you miss by not scribing, though. Not even in the same league.
    Plus, let's be real...having 3 extra hours/day does not translate to having an extra day to volunteer ON. Those 3hrs will be frittered away - yes, they will contribute to you being better rested, or having more study time, but I'd rather work a few 10-12hr shifts, some on weekends, and have weekdays off frequently. There are a lot of opportunities which require weekday commitments. Scribing may have long hours, but it's generally pretty flexible.
    On that note, a job with a 1.5hr total commute 5d/wk compared to a 3hr commute 3d/wk is not as different as you'd think on commute time (7.5hrs vs 9hrs, calculated using 3 12hr shifts/wk, which is F/T at the scribe locations I've worked at. If you do 4 10s/wk it's a bit more unbalanced, with 7.5hrs vs 12hrs. You will almost certainly not be pulling 5 8hr shifts, which is the only case where commute time doubles).
     
  13. Planes2Doc

    Planes2Doc 2+ Year Member

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    And scribing comes nowhere close to the opportunities you'll have in medical school. When you start medical school, they start you off from the very beginning. This isn't physician assistant school which is supposed to be a fast-track to medicine, thus requiring previous clinical experience. Such clinical experience is not required for medical school.

    The purpose of pre-med jobs and activities is to get into medical school. Those 10-12 hour shifts can be killer for a lot of pre-meds, especially when they have to juggle school and MCAT studying. I saw clinical jobs wipe out a couple people I knew who were pre-meds during my post-bacc (they were traditional students). One guy put so much effort into his EMT job that he ended up destroying his grades, and never even got to the point of taking the MCAT.

    In the OP's case, there are no classes or MCAT to study for. So yes, you're right, volunteering doesn't come close to what scribing can offer. But for a pre-med heavily immersed in academics and MCAT, the last thing they need is a serious commitment that requires such long shifts. In that regard, scribing comes nowhere near clinical volunteering in helping pre-meds get into medical school. Hospital volunteering can kill multiple birds with one stone, while requiring just a few hours once a week for a commitment. That's the best thing a pre-med can do to check the boxes.
     
  14. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 2+ Year Member

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    As you said, the entire 'protect your grades' facet of argument is completely irrelevant in this case. So pretty much, the bolded is the only relevant part of that discussion.
    Yeah, volunteering is wonderful if you're only doing things to check boxes. Otherwise, hospital volunteering is a giant, time-wasting drag, even if you luck into the good slots. My volunteering was super cool (I was essentially an unpaid tech doing hearing screens for newborns, which were required by state law before they could go home with mom), but it topped out on the "time-sink vs benefit" scale maybe 2months in, despite the low hours/wk. I simply wasn't seeing anything new, interacting with anyone helpful, or learning anything after the initial immersion (and that was only 1 of 2 positions there). I've been scribing for almost a year now and I'm only getting more and more out of it. Do I NEED to learn all that I'm learning now? I suppose not...but it's fascinating, it keeps me interested and therefore also keeps me motivated, despite my hellish schedule (I have 1 or 2 other jobs and take classes...ditched the volunteering a few months ago for the reasons described above).

    I completely fail to see how 10-12hr shifts are worse than having EVERY single weekday destroyed by a 9-5, especially a 9-5 job that bores the hell out of you (I've yet to see one that doesn't). And again, most good clinical volunteering gigs require some weekday commitment, which is hard with an office job.
    Finally, I'd say that if you can't pull off studying while working long hours, better to know that before med school rather than after anyway (though again, not relevant to OP).
     
  15. JingleChips

    JingleChips 2+ Year Member

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    Just my 2 cents. I did not have the option of being a scribe for my gap year, but I am a receptionist. While its not scribing, I have gained INVALUABLE experience that you won't get much of in med school compared to scribing (e.g. how medical billing and insurance works, scheduling, EMR, dealing with the nuances of medicine like how some patients just no show appointments regularly, don't listen to docs orders regarding their health, ect). I get to read 10-15 pts charts a day and tons of labs/scan/path reports. It's not hands on clinical but I interact with pts on the phone AND in person each and every day. Both choices are great gap year jobs, but don't think that the receptionist position will provide little to no value in terms of medical experience. (Again not saying the receptionist position is better. I would have scribed had I been offered the opportunity just for the extra "clinical experience" since thats one thing I'm a little on the weaker side on.)
     

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