Aug 3, 2015
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Pre-Medical
Hey guys, I know there have already been some threads on this. I'm doing a post-bacc program this year and snagged a scribe position in my town with PhysAssist Scribes. I'm totally aware that the pay is horrendous - minimum wage for 300 hours and then $10.15/hr (according to my interviewer). For anybody who has worked with PhysAssist Scribes or any other scribe company, how was your experience? Was taking the job worth it? And for those of you who have had interviews with medical schools, did the topic of your scribe position come up at all? Thanks :)
 

SOOyC52H1Sof

7+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2013
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I worked for EMSS, which was recently eaten up by ScribeAmerica. I was pretty lucky; I worked at a pediatric outpatient clinic and got paid $10.50 an hour. We were assigned 4 hour shift, and many times, we weren't needed for the full shift, although we were paid for it. With scribing, it really depends on the clinic or hospital. I think it was excellent experience, and many other scribes got close to doctors where they could ask them for a letter of recommendation. I personally didnt work with any one physician long enough.
 
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Jan 3, 2015
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I have no idea to what extent my personal opinion below could be considered libelous by a litigious minded corporation so I will not confirm nor deny the identity of the scribe company I was employed by. If you were so inclined for that identity, I might provide such information via private communication. I feel strongly motivated to give you my opinion in an attempt to caution those considering such employment opportunities.

I will begin with the negative side of such employment. I was a scribe for nearly two years. I trained other scribes. I was even offered the most senior job at the facility I worked at but I refused it several times. No one ever asked me about my experience as a scribe during any interviews, in fact they seemed wholly unimpressed by it. One interviewer noted that many students have pursued the same line of work which kind of highlights how commonplace it has become. Through my time as a scribe I spent countless hours in a meager attempt to fight rampant injustices only to be told "take it or leave it". This, in my opinion, should be a corporate slogan. It is exploitive labor, not only in consideration of monetary compensation, but in many other aspects as well.

I can provide a very important anecdote through private communication if you wish. I will refrain from posting it here because I fear that this specific anecdote could be used as an identifier.

Now for the positive side. You will see and hear patient histories that you could not have experienced otherwise prior to a career in medicine. I never left a shift without being grateful for my eyesight, my ability to walk, my choices in life, etc. You might make important connections with physicians. My work ethic was appreciated by all of the physicians I worked for which gave me certain benefits in terms of professional advice and support. But there is an ugly side to this as well. You will be exposed to the cynical side of medicine more often than not, something that should probably be reserved for the healthcare delivery years. I remember one of the physicians (the most powerful one) I initially looked up to as a hero unexpectedly give a 15-minute diatribe of how he could not believe DO's existed and that he wished I was accepted by an MD institution, although the opposite case might be "better than nothing." The absurdity in that occurrence was augmented by the fact that he hired, worked with and maintained a cordial relationship with several DO's.

Your experiences will differ according to location, facility and other factors but If I knew how little the experience did to advance my application and how much it pained me to support such a company I would never have pursued the opportunity. I do not wish to convince you one way or the other, I only look to inform you as to my experience so that you could make the best choice for yourself.
 
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adamo

7+ Year Member
May 22, 2013
77
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Medical Student
Hey guys, I know there have already been some threads on this. I'm doing a post-bacc program this year and snagged a scribe position in my town with PhysAssist Scribes. I'm totally aware that the pay is horrendous - minimum wage for 300 hours and then $10.15/hr (according to my interviewer). For anybody who has worked with PhysAssist Scribes or any other scribe company, how was your experience? Was taking the job worth it? And for those of you who have had interviews with medical schools, did the topic of your scribe position come up at all? Thanks :)
I have worked as a scribe at two vastly different places. The first was when I was hired by EMSS for 9.50/hr for 12hr shifts in a small town ER: long hours, variable schedule, formulaic training taught us to avoid even looking at the patient... That didn't last long. The second place I worked as a scribe was in a private practice for a spine surgeon. I ended up making ~16/hr plus compensated for travel, was able to shadow procedures, surgery, and I formed a good relationship with the DO physician as well.

I'm currently applying to schools this cycle so we'll see if it comes up during interviews. My advice is get your foot in with a big scribe company, and try to branch out into a private practice.
 

NVO

5+ Year Member
May 6, 2014
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Pay is that low??! I get $15.50/hr and I'm just a regular scribe for a clinic. Its a great clinical experience because you get to understand more about how medical history, HPI, and all that stuff come into play when diagnosing and treating patients. Your expertise in medical terminology and general understanding of medicine increases tremendously.
 

futuredoc331

7+ Year Member
Apr 28, 2012
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I work for a different company and make over 11 an hour. I think this is a fantastic experience for premeds, but as another poster has described we really get hit with the cynical side of things. It's amazing how much of a negative attitude some people develop regarding patients. The docs are a little less open with their feelings, but I've heard many nurses say things like "we should just let them die instead of helping them so they can do it again."

It will be nice to have a few years experience with HPIs before starting med school though. :)
 
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cbrons

Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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Pay is that low??! I get $15.50/hr and I'm just a regular scribe for a clinic. Its a great clinical experience because you get to understand more about how medical history, HPI, and all that stuff come into play when diagnosing and treating patients. Your expertise in medical terminology and general understanding of medicine increases tremendously.
No you dont and no it doesnt. Being a scribe doesnt make you an expert in anything.
 

studentdocftw

M4
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Apr 30, 2015
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It's all dependent on the setting and the healthcare team. I work in the ER and my group is awesome! I've learned an incredible amount of terminology...along with witnessing physical exams (Murphy's, Rovsing's McBurney's etc.) and procedures (intubations, cardioversions, LPs, etc.). Even more importantly, at a time where the healthcare team is always expanding, I've witnessed how the physicians interact with the RNs, PAs, NPs, Rad Techs. Just the other day, a Rad Tech tried to interpret and diagnose a RBC tag (HUGE NO NO)..and it was interesting seeing the physician talk it out with him/her. For what it's worth, it's a part time gig so the terrible hours (12 hr shifts) along with the ****ty pay don't seem as bad. I say go for it, assuming the site is a fun place to be...because if you aren't learning a whole lot..and it's boring..AND you get paid $10/hr....it's time to seek out other opportunities.
 

oOKawaiiOo

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Hey guys, I know there have already been some threads on this. I'm doing a post-bacc program this year and snagged a scribe position in my town with PhysAssist Scribes. I'm totally aware that the pay is horrendous - minimum wage for 300 hours and then $10.15/hr (according to my interviewer). For anybody who has worked with PhysAssist Scribes or any other scribe company, how was your experience? Was taking the job worth it? And for those of you who have had interviews with medical schools, did the topic of your scribe position come up at all? Thanks :)
Red: LOL, well just remember there is someone out there getting the worst. My scribe mates, after the change in pay rate, were being payed $8.50.

Blue: It was a nightmare in the beginning. The emergency room is a fast-paced environment, and you see all kinds of clinic presentations. The veteran scribe trained me, but only worked her favorite doctor, who I never got to work with after my training. Totally screwed me over. There are +10 MDs, and they were mean and stern. They all had personal charting preferences, which I never knew about or was told. I learned the hard way, getting yelled at. Plus, the doctors were fast (seeing 4 patients in 30 minutes), and my typing and limited medical terminology at the time was low. I was placed on probation and threatened to lose my job if I didn't improve within a month. Surprisingly, all of newly hired scribe mates were all on probation. Coincidence? So I told myself if I couldn't keep up the pace and knowledge for this job, then medicine wasnt for me. Harsh, I know. Long story short, Im still have the job and was asked to be the chief scribe. I declined due to other obligations, studying for MCAT and other job. I received a LOR from one of the MDs. Unfortunately, all of the scribes, that I had orientation with, left. This job is extreme difficult and isn't for anyone, especially if it's emergency medicine. There were many days I would work throughout my whole shift (8 hours) with no lunch or food breaks. The veteran scribe who trained me lost her job, unethical reason.

All in all, I took this job as a learning experience. Money wasn't a factor and quit my job where I was making $20/hour after tax. My parents and ex girlfriend were financially supportive.

Pros:
+Learn medicine through an emergency standpoint, from medications to procedures.
+See many clinical presentations (Heart attacks, stroke, lacerations, overdoses, fractured bones, etc)
+Possible LOR
+Understand the physicians' thought process
+Ask the doctor anything
+Improve your multitasking and memory skills (keeping track of +12 patients at any given time!)
+Not everyone can do it, be proud!
+Some doctors are willing to help you
+I pre-diagnose the patients and have the physician over look them. Beware, some physicians prohibit this. Some will test your knowledge.

Cons:
-Weak training. Threw me out into the lion's den and expected me to survive.
-Low pay rate
-Poor company management and policies. They only gave me 1 scrub; I wear it 4-5 times a week and washes once a week. I asked for a new pair, HR never sent me one. Good thing my body odor is tolerable/unnoticeable.
-Physicians can be mean and jerks
-Mentally fatigue by the end of my shifts
-Most days, you dont get a lunch break. I depended on gluconeogenesis. I'm fat, I can starve longer than my skinny counterparts.
 
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NVO

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May 6, 2014
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No you dont and no it doesnt. Being a scribe doesnt make you an expert in anything.
I don't what?? Sorry I'm unsure what you're denying.
And I guess its better if I said "it increases your understanding of medicine" rather than "expertise".
 

cjcarter

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Jan 21, 2014
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I worked for PhysAssist for a year, just switched to Scribe America to work closer to home. I still wouldn't recommend it unless you think you are interested in EM. If so, you'll probably change your mind after being a scribe in the ED.
 

nhnative

2+ Year Member
May 6, 2015
87
52
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Medical Student
I work for a smaller scribing company, and have loved the experience. Started at $10/hr, but increased to $12/hr after 6 months and get shift differential, OT and benefits as well now. It's not a lot of money but I'm nontraditional and it's enough for me to live on! I've been able to work in primary care and EM, in multiple different sites over the past year+. It's definitely hard work, steep learning curve, but so much opportunity to learn. In some facilities we write MDM as well as HPI/PE, which is a great way to start thinking clinically and understanding clinical course/ddx/treatments etc. Every company is different, I've personally felt very lucky in terms of management/coworkers/scheduling. I would recommend it, but also agree with above comments that it's becoming a very common clinical experience, and is certainly not as well regarded as job in a research lab. Personally I think the experience will be very helpful in med school though! Good luck!
 
Mar 30, 2014
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Gunna throw in my two cents here. I can pretty much confirm this portion

Pros:
+Learn medicine through an emergency standpoint, from medications to procedures.
+See many clinical presentations (Heart attacks, stroke, lacerations, overdoses, fractured bones, etc)
+Possible LOR
+Understand the physicians' thought process
+Ask the doctor anything
+Improve your multitasking and memory skills (keeping track of +12 patients at any given time!)
+Not everyone can do it, be proud!
+Some doctors are willing to help you
+I pre-diagnose the patients and have the physician over look them. Beware, some physicians prohibit this. Some will test your knowledge.

Cons:
-Weak training. Threw me out into the lion's den and expected me to survive.
-Low pay rate
-Poor company management and policies. They only gave me 1 scrub; I wear it 4-5 times a week and washes once a week. I asked for a new pair, HR never sent me one. Good thing my body odor is tolerable/unnoticeable.
-Physicians can be mean and jerks
-Mentally fatigue by the end of my shifts
-Most days, you dont get a lunch break. I depended on gluconeogenesis. I'm fat, I can starve longer than my skinny counterparts.
I ultimately have had an amazing experience and made lasting connections and relationships with the physicians I work with. I feel as if I have been blessed with the group and company I work for. That being said, there is a downside. Pay could be better, and different fields of medicine are more stressful than others. ER is definitely more intense than some of the outpatient clinics. Ultimately, I think it's going to be what you make of it. Sure the it's going to be dependent on what specialty of medicine, the personality of your MD/DOs, company, etc., but I think it's the perspective you take on it all. If at the end of the day the pros outweigh the cons for you then stick with it. If you're more upset than not, maybe its not for you.
 
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IDmed_girl

I want to medicine
Aug 1, 2015
28
17
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I have worked in the ER for over a year now, mostly in a rural type hospital, but also in an urban ER with trauma departments as well. The company I work for is a group of ER physicians that hires and trains scribes in-house. I personally love the work I do, despite the pay. I call it my "fun" job not the money making one. I have been exposed to difficult situations and have learned a lot about myself not only as an aspiring physician, but as a person. I have been exposed to medical terminology for many years but I enjoyed getting to ACTUALLY apply my knowledge. I have become close to the physicians I work for and the ER staff for the hospital and completely agree with the benefit of watching the interaction between all staff members.
I think it is worth it but I have had an amazing experience so far and could be considered impartial. Even if you were to scribe for a short time would give you a look behind the scenes in medicine and it makes you think "is this really what I want?".
 

IDmed_girl

I want to medicine
Aug 1, 2015
28
17
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
The difficult part about reading all over all of these scribe experience essays is that it will be different for everyone. Personally, I had a fair amount of shadowing and clinical volunteering under my belt but took this job so that I would have a position in a medical setting which required some responsibility and knowledge of terminology. Nearly all of the physicians I work with are fantastic and grateful to have scribes (after all, we save them hours of work). Most are likely to take an interest in you if you ask questions where appropriate and show you are eager to learn by sitting in on procedures/emergent situations. It is also a chance to think about the way that physicians conduct themselves and what you see as effective or ineffective (because you will see both). Granted, if things get hairy then people may be impatient with you but I think I am correct in saying this is nothing compared to the difficulties which will come in residency. Furthermore - if you cannot handle the hours of this job, medicine might be a shock. The pay is undoubtedly terrible, making it a hard job to take if you are not receiving some sort of additional financial help or are living in an expensive area (which thankfully I am not).

All in all - a great experience. The only time the hours don't fly by is when there are no patients. This, I think, is a good thing. Even if medical schools are not asking specific questions about it - you still come out with an improved ability to talk about medicine and the physician you want to become.

Beautifully put :D
 

Gurame1121

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2015
27
16
Status
Pre-Medical
I was a scribe for a few weeks but decided not to continue past "residency" for a couple reasons. There's no denying it's a great way to get experience and see a lot of medicine in action. You're attached at a doctor's or a PA's hip for twelve hour shifts and once they get to know you a little, they'll start to teach you/point things out to you. In writing their notes you begin to understand the doctor's thought process and how there are patterns and algorithms in practicing medicine.

Most of the reason I quit, and I know this sounds immature of me, was the pageantry of the whole thing. Most of my peers were gunner pre-meds that acted like they were doing God's work by taking down notes. The kind of people that get leadership positions in these programs are not necessarily the most knowledgeable...which sucks because they're the ones that will sign off on your performance. The scribes were not that well liked by ancillary staff, it seemed, because many of them acted somewhat snooty in their association with the doctor. This is severely just my opinion, but I think many of the scribes I worked with could use some time working jobs that don't tickle their premed egos. I have no doubt that many of these scribes will go on to medical school. What I worry about, however, is that they'll become the kind of doctors that have no connection to the team of providers that work under them and carry out their orders.

I think there is something crucial about premeds working from the ground up in the hospital hierarchy. Being something like a transporter, for example, will lead to you interacting with all kinds of staff you might not always get to think about as a physician. I think this helps create a humble physician that has respect for the people that work with or under them. I'm starting as a transporter in a couple days and I couldn't be more excited. I'll get to know the ins and outs of a busy city hospital. I'll work with staff of all levels. I actually get to talk to and interact with patients (scribe programs have pretty strict rules about talking with patients). I'll make more money, which is kind of nice for a broke student. Sure, I will undoubtedly learn less about disease processes and abscess removals, but I think I'm going to have a more humbling experience that will reinforce my passions for medicine and help develop in me the characteristics of a truly caring-one day- physician. The way I see it, if I get in, I have 4 years of medical school and 3 or more years of residency to learn to be a doctor. Now is the time I should learn to be a human.
 
Mar 30, 2014
362
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Medical Student (Accepted)
I was a scribe for a few weeks but decided not to continue past "residency" for a couple reasons. There's no denying it's a great way to get experience and see a lot of medicine in action. You're attached at a doctor's or a PA's hip for twelve hour shifts and once they get to know you a little, they'll start to teach you/point things out to you. In writing their notes you begin to understand the doctor's thought process and how there are patterns and algorithms in practicing medicine.

Most of the reason I quit, and I know this sounds immature of me, was the pageantry of the whole thing. Most of my peers were gunner pre-meds that acted like they were doing God's work by taking down notes. The kind of people that get leadership positions in these programs are not necessarily the most knowledgeable...which sucks because they're the ones that will sign off on your performance. The scribes were not that well liked by ancillary staff, it seemed, because many of them acted somewhat snooty in their association with the doctor. This is severely just my opinion, but I think many of the scribes I worked with could use some time working jobs that don't tickle their premed egos. I have no doubt that many of these scribes will go on to medical school. What I worry about, however, is that they'll become the kind of doctors that have no connection to the team of providers that work under them and carry out their orders.

I think there is something crucial about premeds working from the ground up in the hospital hierarchy. Being something like a transporter, for example, will lead to you interacting with all kinds of staff you might not always get to think about as a physician. I think this helps create a humble physician that has respect for the people that work with or under them. I'm starting as a transporter in a couple days and I couldn't be more excited. I'll get to know the ins and outs of a busy city hospital. I'll work with staff of all levels. I actually get to talk to and interact with patients (scribe programs have pretty strict rules about talking with patients). I'll make more money, which is kind of nice for a broke student. Sure, I will undoubtedly learn less about disease processes and abscess removals, but I think I'm going to have a more humbling experience that will reinforce my passions for medicine and help develop in me the characteristics of a truly caring-one day- physician. The way I see it, if I get in, I have 4 years of medical school and 3 or more years of residency to learn to be a doctor. Now is the time I should learn to be a human.
Although I do not completely disagree with you, I feel like by doing volunteer work, whether it be in hopsitals or elsewhere, you can develop characteristics and humble yourself by doing this. Scribing is great experience for all the reasons people mentioned above, but med schools obviously look for more such as a volunteer at hospitals (cleaning beds and patients, talking to the dying, etc) or non healthcare activities (clinics, kitchens, coaching, etc) to develop other characteristics.
 

oOKawaiiOo

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Jan 21, 2011
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Most of the reason I quit, and I know this sounds immature of me, was the pageantry of the whole thing. Most of my peers were gunner pre-meds that acted like they were doing God's work by taking down notes. The kind of people that get leadership positions in these programs are not necessarily the most knowledgeable...which sucks because they're the ones that will sign off on your performance. The scribes were not that well liked by ancillary staff, it seemed, because many of them acted somewhat snooty in their association with the doctor. This is severely just my opinion, but I think many of the scribes I worked with could use some time working jobs that don't tickle their premed egos. I have no doubt that many of these scribes will go on to medical school. What I worry about, however, is that they'll become the kind of doctors that have no connection to the team of providers that work under them and carry out their orders.
Bold: I would have to disagree with you on your decision. Though, it was your life, you had a golden opportunity to learn medicine. Who cares if your scribe mates were gunners....FOCUS ON YOU. Dont worry about them. Let life handle them. Learn all you can while you scribe and forget about their ego-boosted attitude. Im pretty sure they are hard working and can teach you a thing or two if you asked politely. I'm a gunner myself, but im willing to help those who ask. You will learn as you enter medicine and become a physician, you will likely be working with a team with a few egotistical physicians. Then what? Youre going to quit and join another group of doctors? Just saying.

Edit for more content: 3rd-4th year students & new physicians out of residency all have told me scribing is better than what you experience during 1-2 years in medical school.
 

Gurame1121

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2015
27
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Pre-Medical
Right. One other thing I noticed about scribing is that the programs often make it sound like they have some kind of monopoly on the premed experience. Even in training they tend to make it sound like being a scribe gives you a pretty hefty advantage over other applicants in terms of experience. I know when I was getting ready to resign, I felt like I was about to throw all hopes of getting into med school. However the reality is that there are endless ways to get experience, to the point that, as other posters have mentioned, scribing is not as unique of a thing to put on an application as it once was. I can only imagine this is similar to the way medical mission trips (you know, the ones you pay a ton of money to go on) don't distinguish an applicant as much as they once did.

Assuming that medical school is looking for "leader" types, I'd venture to guess that they prefer seeing experiences that demonstrate thought leadership and unique ventures rather than go with the crowd/cookie cutter experiences.
 

oOKawaiiOo

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Right. One other thing I noticed about scribing is that the programs often make it sound like they have some kind of monopoly on the premed experience. Even in training they tend to make it sound like being a scribe gives you a pretty hefty advantage over other applicants in terms of experience. I know when I was getting ready to resign, I felt like I was about to throw all hopes of getting into med school. However the reality is that there are endless ways to get experience, to the point that, as other posters have mentioned, scribing is not as unique of a thing to put on an application as it once was. I can only imagine this is similar to the way medical mission trips (you know, the ones you pay a ton of money to go on) don't distinguish an applicant as much as they once did.

Assuming that medical school is looking for "leader" types, I'd venture to guess that they prefer seeing experiences that demonstrate thought leadership and unique ventures rather than go with the crowd/cookie cutter experiences.
When they ask during your interview: Why did you quit the opportunity to see medicine at first hand (procedures, treatment, physical exams, etc) to transfer sick patients? How have transporting patient made you realize medicine was for you? If you can find a good answer, then more power to you. Otherwise don't blame others for your decision to quit, unless they were unethical/harassing/harming you in any manner.
 
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Gurame1121

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2015
27
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Pre-Medical
I'm sorry if I made it sound like I'm blaming my decision on others. My own faults and I definitely had a lot do with my own resignation. Scribing is an amazing opportunity, I just don't like the "scribe or nothing" attitude a lot of people are developing about it. A lot of these conversations devolve into "well if you can't be a scribe, good luck being a doctor"...which is a little much considering all the factors at play.
 
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oOKawaiiOo

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Jan 21, 2011
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Scribing = volunteering + shadowing + income + easy LOR if you do a great job
Whoever said its not a good thing to put in your app is crazy.

How many pre-med volunteered in a hospital? probably 95% of them
How many did volunteered work in a nonclinical setting? 95% of them
How many do you know scribe? 10% or less.

Look up Stephanopolous, she got into medical school just this month with a 3.1 GPA/26 MCAT/scribe
 
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pericardium

CPR certified
7+ Year Member
May 22, 2013
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Look up Stephanopolous, she got into medical school just this month with a 3.1 GPA/26 MCAT/scribe
I believe she was/is a paramedic, not a scribe. I could be totally mistaken though, perhaps she's done both.
 

redthunder

5+ Year Member
Jun 30, 2014
26
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Hey guys, I know there have already been some threads on this. I'm doing a post-bacc program this year and snagged a scribe position in my town with PhysAssist Scribes. I'm totally aware that the pay is horrendous - minimum wage for 300 hours and then $10.15/hr (according to my interviewer). For anybody who has worked with PhysAssist Scribes or any other scribe company, how was your experience? Was taking the job worth it? And for those of you who have had interviews with medical schools, did the topic of your scribe position come up at all? Thanks :)
I currently work for PhysAssist scribes and would never recommend it. While the experience is valuable, you can get the same experience in a different environment with better pay, a more encouraging work environment, and work for a better company at practically any other company. ER experience is great, but many many clinics are always looking for scribes. If you don't see a posting in your area, call clinics and ask. Worst case they say no, best case its a paid internship. :)
 
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IntheClouds4ever

5+ Year Member
Sep 10, 2014
428
612
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started as phlebotomist, mved up to medical laboratory scientist and couldnt be happier. Direct Physician and patient communication as well as ancilliary staff. Emergent situations like "codes" let you show off your assests while under pressure. Coudnt think of a better experience, plus the certification/education needed will help immensely with MCAT.
 
Jul 20, 2014
131
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Hey, I'm sure the answer to your question was already answered throughout this thread judging by the number of responses, but I just want to throw in my 2 cents. I worked for PhysAssist for 2 years and it was honestly amazing. You learn SO much scribing in the EC and I cannot think of another job that prepares you better for the practice of medicine from a physician standpoint. But be warned: the learning curve is pretty difficult and, unless they made a major change in the training process, ~50% of the applicants didn't make it through training back when I was hired. It is not easy, make sure you don't slack off and try hard. This job will give you such strong medical experience and will open all the doorways you need to get into medical school. My >2,000 hours scribing was the number 1 reason I received medical school acceptances.
 
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hopefulERdoc251

5+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2015
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so I'll put my 2cents also. I just had my interview at LECOM-Erie (a group interview) and let me tell you how much the scribing experience was useful. My interviewer asked about the ACA and I was able to draw on my experience in the ED and relate that to the importance of primary care (since so many people come for primary care). I was also able to draw on my exepriences and talk about the importance of quality of care ect. It's an excellent job. Long hours, crappy pay, but it's worth it in the end because the experience is priceless.
 
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hopefulERdoc251

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Jun 3, 2015
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Medical Student (Accepted)
I have no idea to what extent my personal opinion below could be considered libelous by a litigious minded corporation so I will not confirm nor deny the identity of the scribe company I was employed by. If you were so inclined for that identity, I might provide such information via private communication. I feel strongly motivated to give you my opinion in an attempt to caution those considering such employment opportunities.

I will begin with the negative side of such employment. I was a scribe for nearly two years. I trained other scribes. I was even offered the most senior job at the facility I worked at but I refused it several times. No one ever asked me about my experience as a scribe during any interviews, in fact they seemed wholly unimpressed by it. One interviewer noted that many students have pursued the same line of work which kind of highlights how commonplace it has become. Through my time as a scribe I spent countless hours in a meager attempt to fight rampant injustices only to be told "take it or leave it". This, in my opinion, should be a corporate slogan. It is exploitive labor, not only in consideration of monetary compensation, but in many other aspects as well.

I can provide a very important anecdote through private communication if you wish. I will refrain from posting it here because I fear that this specific anecdote could be used as an identifier.

Now for the positive side. You will see and hear patient histories that you could not have experienced otherwise prior to a career in medicine. I never left a shift without being grateful for my eyesight, my ability to walk, my choices in life, etc. You might make important connections with physicians. My work ethic was appreciated by all of the physicians I worked for which gave me certain benefits in terms of professional advice and support. But there is an ugly side to this as well. You will be exposed to the cynical side of medicine more often than not, something that should probably be reserved for the healthcare delivery years. I remember one of the physicians (the most powerful one) I initially looked up to as a hero unexpectedly give a 15-minute diatribe of how he could not believe DO's existed and that he wished I was accepted by an MD institution, although the opposite case might be "better than nothing." The absurdity in that occurrence was augmented by the fact that he hired, worked with and maintained a cordial relationship with several DO's.

Your experiences will differ according to location, facility and other factors but If I knew how little the experience did to advance my application and how much it pained me to support such a company I would never have pursued the opportunity. I do not wish to convince you one way or the other, I only look to inform you as to my experience so that you could make the best choice for yourself.

I'm sorry you had such a negative experience, but from what I heard last year, many of the people that interviewed were asked about scribing, whether it was something as mundane as "talk about the most interesting case" or "how has the workflow in the ER change w/ the ACA".


Also, general note, just because scribing is more of a commonplace doesn't mean that the experience is less important. There was solid 8-10 people out of 30 at my LECOM interview that were scribes, and in my group of 8, we had 4 scribes including myself, but I was the only one that really articulated on my experience and drew from it. Other's didn't. That's the difference. You can work 10000000000000 hours and beyond, but if you can't articulate your experience, it won't really mean anything other than what it is on paper. All in all scribing is an experience that pre-meds die for. Sure the pay sucks, the hours suck, but you learn about time management, you'll dip your feet in almost every field of medicine (ortho, psych, family medicine, urban medicine, rural med, cardiology, neuro, surgery). You learn how to handle stress, how to change what you're doing on a dime. You'll learn how to read people, filter out the real from the BS from the addicts. Plus, if you're a nerd like me, you'll find the cases beyond fascinating. Sure every shift won't be the best shift, you'll have some shifts where you go home and you're like gawd I'm burned out, I wish I didn't work, but more often than not, you'll leave happy and satisfied. Each shift, at least for me, I've learned something new. I've learned more in my first 2 weeks of working in the ED than I did for the 200+ shadowing hours I've had. But you do you haha.
 
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No, not unless it is for ER physicians, who need to be followed every where they go. Otherwise, the arrangement between the physician and scribe can be such that only scribe will listen and enter.

The latest trend is remote scribing, which even goes a step further and the scribe is not even there with the physician, he is sitting in a remote location.
 

The Best Psychiatrist

5+ Year Member
Aug 10, 2014
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Medical Student
I've been scribing in the Emergency Department for almost half a year now, and I must say, I've learned more about medicine this past 6 months, than I did my 4 years as an undergraduate pre-med student. Learned a lot about hospital staff dynamics, medical terminology, physician thought processes, treatment protocols, etc.

As for the not-so-good parts of being an ED Medical Scribe, IMO, the doctor really determines how well your shift goes. I work with about 20'ish different doctors. Most of them are cool, and as long as you're experienced and know what you're doing, most docs won't give you a hard time. However, if you're slow, new, and/or prone to making errors, some docs will get pretty irritated. But don't let a doctor's bad vibes get to you, it's a stressful environment and I'm sure we'll get worse treatment and critique as residents, so learning to work around it will be a valuable skill. Also, sometimes things may get VERY fast paced (seeing 4+ patients within an hour), so things may get stressful. Especially being a relatively new scribe (<3 months), you may feel overwhelmed, I know as a newbie I did during some shifts. But if you can tolerate and overcome it, it becomes a learning experience.
 
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Feb 7, 2016
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Worked for a company, which I won't mention the name of, as a scribe in the Emergency Department for a very big Hospital.
The experience made me learn many things, but I disliked the company, which is why I quit.

However, hospital wise... I learned that PA's are disrespected, and I noticed corners would be cut to see patients when the Emergency Room would get packed. Almost every time I would go in to work, the ED would be full and we would see 4-5 patients an hour. I remember there was this one shift that I was working in which we literally saw over 10 patients in an hour. The Doctor I was working under told me "I'm setting a timer for one minute for the next patient that we will see." Surely enough, we saw that patient and we were in and out within one minute as his timer went off.
Besides that, you learn a lot though and you're very grateful for everything.
Also, be prepared to work 12 hour shifts with no break... No lunch break..... No break to even go use the restroom because brb too many patients.
 

kwright26

2+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2016
26
9
Status
Medical Student
Hey guys, I know there have already been some threads on this. I'm doing a post-bacc program this year and snagged a scribe position in my town with PhysAssist Scribes. I'm totally aware that the pay is horrendous - minimum wage for 300 hours and then $10.15/hr (according to my interviewer). For anybody who has worked with PhysAssist Scribes or any other scribe company, how was your experience? Was taking the job worth it? And for those of you who have had interviews with medical schools, did the topic of your scribe position come up at all? Thanks :)
I work as a scribe, and as of last month I'm a certified scribe trainer for my company, and I'm kind of glad to hear that it's not just my company that offers such low pay in exchange for meticulous medicolegal documentation and increased revenue capture.

I think the experience is 1,000% worth the crap pay IF YOU ARE GOOD AT THE JOB.

I love doing my job, I love my physicians, I love the hospitals I work in, and I love the staff. I am not impressed with my local management or the mentality of my "team" members (they do not foster a team atmosphere at all except for the 4 of us who work mainly in the pediatric ER and the staff at the sister hospital), and the pay is definitely nothing you can live on without working 60+ hours a week or having a second "real" job. If you pay attention and do your job well, you will be able to chart with your eyes closed and THAT is when this job gets fun. Once you're not totally engrossed in learning the EHR you're working on, you can start paying more attention to procedures and pick your doctors' brains when you have time between patients. Some docs will even demonstrate the procedures as if you're a med student (though obviously you don't get to touch people), they'll talk you through CTs and stuff if it's slow enough, and they are absolutely full of advice regarding how to get into med school, get through med school, how to manage your student debt, how they balance being physicians with being wives/husbands/parents/pilots/mission docs/spec ops/pianists/business owners. It really is cool, and if you're good at it, the doctors REALLY appreciate you, and they will show that appreciation in the form of substantial recommendations for medical school. I personally obtained 3 strong LORs from doctors in my group.
 

lee9786

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2009
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Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
Does Scribe work require any specific type of training? I couldn't see anything listed
 

kwright26

2+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2016
26
9
Status
Medical Student
Does Scribe work require any specific type of training? I couldn't see anything listed
The lion's share of scribes are trained in-house by the company that hires them. If you become a scribe, you will be a contract employee.

For example, my company has a contract with a physician's group to staff the emergency department at our hospital. The company then hires the scribes locally and trains them to work in that facility. So if you work for ScribeAmerica, PhysAssist, Proscribe, Elite Medical Scribes, etc, you're hired by that company for a specific location and they train you on-site. You have a set number of classroom training sessions, and if you pass that, you get trained in the department on that facility's EHR.

The education requirements will vary by the company and hiring team. My facility is staffed with junior and senior undergraduates and master's students, as the hospital is literally across the street from a major university. We have sister hospitals nearby that were staffed from the same applicant pool. Generally, you'll need to be at least partway through a college degree and you must have demonstrable experience with medical terminology OR your ability to learn it quickly and accurately.

Again, assuming other companies are the same as mine, you will probably sign a non-competition agreement when you are hired, meaning you can't leave Company A and work as a scribe at Company B.

There are a handful of academic scribe training programs listed with the American College of Medical Scribe Specialists. I'm not sure how or where scribes trained in these programs are hired or staffed, but they exist.

https://theacmss.org/certification/general-cmss-training/

My company does not offer a pay increase for becoming certified, but other companies might.
Does Scribe work require any specific type of training? I couldn't see anything listed
 

lee9786

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2009
616
9
Status
Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
The lion's share of scribes are trained in-house by the company that hires them. If you become a scribe, you will be a contract employee.

For example, my company has a contract with a physician's group to staff the emergency department at our hospital. The company then hires the scribes locally and trains them to work in that facility. So if you work for ScribeAmerica, PhysAssist, Proscribe, Elite Medical Scribes, etc, you're hired by that company for a specific location and they train you on-site. You have a set number of classroom training sessions, and if you pass that, you get trained in the department on that facility's EHR.

The education requirements will vary by the company and hiring team. My facility is staffed with junior and senior undergraduates and master's students, as the hospital is literally across the street from a major university. We have sister hospitals nearby that were staffed from the same applicant pool. Generally, you'll need to be at least partway through a college degree and you must have demonstrable experience with medical terminology OR your ability to learn it quickly and accurately.

Again, assuming other companies are the same as mine, you will probably sign a non-competition agreement when you are hired, meaning you can't leave Company A and work as a scribe at Company B.

There are a handful of academic scribe training programs listed with the American College of Medical Scribe Specialists. I'm not sure how or where scribes trained in these programs are hired or staffed, but they exist.

https://theacmss.org/certification/general-cmss-training/

My company does not offer a pay increase for becoming certified, but other companies might.
Thank you for the detailed response.

I checked out acmss. It appears the cost to become certified is around$200. I'm not sure if that would help in getting a position. From what I understand, it is pretty competitive to get granted a position. It doesn't really sound like certification is the norm. I do have a BS degree completed currently.

So I'll check out the companies you posted thank you.
 

kwright26

2+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2016
26
9
Status
Medical Student
Thank you for the detailed response.

I checked out acmss. It appears the cost to become certified is around$200. I'm not sure if that would help in getting a position. From what I understand, it is pretty competitive to get granted a position. It doesn't really sound like certification is the norm. I do have a BS degree completed currently.

So I'll check out the companies you posted thank you.
Certification doesn't matter in getting hired by one of these companies. They expect you won't have scribing experience, and you can't get certified by ACMSS without having worked as a scribe for a certain number of hours. Get hired first, then get certified, as backwards as that sounds.
 
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