Working as a Scribe and getting into Medical School

Feb 17, 2013
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Does anyone have any personal experience working as a scribe and getting into medical school? Do admissions committees weigh working as a scribe heavily when looking at applications? I know it helps with letters of recommendations and overall knowledge of medicine, but I was wondering if it really increases your chances of getting into medical school. Thanks!
 

MedPR

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I doubt it. It's not all that special anymore since so many premeds are doing it

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What are your other options? I found it to be very helpful, like shadowing on steroids. It also made me sure this is a field I wanted to go into. I feel as though the benefits were well worth it over the other options. Once you get interviews, remember to cater to your interviewers. Practicing doctors like to talk about scribe experiences. Administrators and professors do not. At least that was my experience.

Would doing research, working as a tech, working as an EMT, or a CNA be more helpful? I think MedPR answered that well.

I doubt it. It's not all that special anymore since so many premeds are doing it
 

DocVapor

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Research is great. I'm going to say that yes you should do it, but I consider it as more of a "education-based extracurricular" instead of a medical job.

As far as "jobs" go, working as the EMT may be the best option if you have the time to get certified. It's the only field where you take a truly active and (mostly) independent role in patient treatment, even though for the most part you are following algorithms.

Becoming a scribe has a good chance of being equal to it simply because of the great exposure to physicians and their thought processes.

Tech/CNA type jobs for the most part wouldn't be worth much more than the $$ you earn. You don't do much thinking or have much patient treatment responsibility (note: patient treatment is different from patient care) and you also don't get much physician exposure. I suppose there is a possibility of really playing it up if you have a truly unique experience and you can spin it the right way.
 
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CjOz

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I have been an ER scribe for the past year and I begin med school in 5 months. I honestly don't think I would be where I am today if I didn't scribe. You gain an incredible amount of medical knowledge and you really get to grasp what a day of being a doctor feels like. Building relationships with the doctors has probably been the most rewarding part. You also get some really good LORs out of it too. I highly recommend it against EMT. EMT requires a pretty lengthy training process whereas scribing takes roughly 3 weeks.
 
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I was an ER scribe for a year and a half. I would agree with some of the above comments about gaining experience and so forth. I got an LOR from one of the MDs I worked with a lot. There were DOs that I worked with, but never really got close enough with to ask for an LOR. I had always considered it "shadowing" since I basically worked with a doctor for 8-12 hours per night that I worked, but interestingly one of my interviewers asked me specifically if I had shadowed a physician other than my ER work. I replied that other than that I had not specifically shadowed a DO for the purpose of shadowing.

It didn't seem to hurt me since I got accepted there :)
 

MedWonk

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Does anyone have any personal experience working as a scribe and getting into medical school? Do admissions committees weigh working as a scribe heavily when looking at applications? I know it helps with letters of recommendations and overall knowledge of medicine, but I was wondering if it really increases your chances of getting into medical school. Thanks!
It's a nice EC to have, but I don't think it'll be weighed any more heavily than other ECs.
 

WorldChanger36

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I too have worked as an ER scribe and as a scribe for a peds office on a volunteer basis. I agree with what has been posted. It seems that too many pre meds are looking for that golden bullet experience that is just so awesome that med schools smile when they see it on your app. Scribing is not one of those although many people think that it is. However scribing is by far the best medical experience without training you can get. It is awesome. Not only that in interviews it will dominate a large part of the conversation. Scribing is also great because it is clinical experience and shadowing rolled into one.
 

Konfidence

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I've been a scribe for almost two years and as mentioned above I would not be where I am without the job. It is def. what you make it. My attendings treat me as a medical student (not in medical school yet, just got my acceptances for MD c/o 2017) and not just as a scribe, so I learn alot and get questioned by my attendings about what I learn as well. I've learned how to look for certain things on CTs, XRs, etc. as well different pathologies and medications. So it is def. what you make it. It's a big topic during my interviews and I've gotten a few acceptances so I believe it's def. beneficial (of course it wasn't the only thing on my application lol)

Also, make sure you put "shadowing" next to the job title as well on AMCAS. It was a big discussion among my pre-med friends if it counted or not but I had no problem asking interview committees on interview day and they said of course. Scribing is basically paid shadowing that you're liable for what you write down :laugh:
 

DC1987

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I too worked as a scribe since November 2011. I got into PCOM for this upcoming fall. Becoming a scribe was the only real difference between this years cycle and the cycle before so I think it had a huge impact. All my interviews discussed it. Seems like it's a pretty big deal.
 

graduate2be

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I'm an ex-Army medic, civillian EMT & CNA and I scribed in undergrad. I don't think that any of my experiences stood out in my interviews more than another. I belive that the point is that you do something that will get you patient and physician exposure. Do something that you like and can devote a fair amount of time to. You'll need to be able to talk about it in your interview. Whatever you choose to do will be fine so long as you can articulate your reason for doing it and how it shaped your desire to be a physician.

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KinesiologyNerd

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ER scribe here. It really just gives you good stories for your interviews. I had an interview today and neither interviewer had any idea what I actually do (or at least they claimed). So, the adcom won't be like "scribe? WE MUST HAVE HIM!" It will be a good talking point in interviews, however.

Also, don't do it to get letters of rec. There are far easier ways to get a good letter.
 

GopherMD

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I too worked as a scribe since November 2011. I got into PCOM for this upcoming fall. Becoming a scribe was the only real difference between this years cycle and the cycle before so I think it had a huge impact. All my interviews discussed it. Seems like it's a pretty big deal.
I agree with this. I am a reapplicant and the only thing different about my application is continued gpa increase and scribing. I felt both helped with my application greatly; I had better success this time around. A lot of my interviewers seemed genuinely enthusiastic about my scribing experiences. It may not be the golden ticket to getting into medical school, but it does help and if nothing else, is a good way to get inside the minds of physicians.
 

rcheech7

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I have been an ER scribe for the past year and I begin med school in 5 months. I honestly don't think I would be where I am today if I didn't scribe. You gain an incredible amount of medical knowledge and you really get to grasp what a day of being a doctor feels like.
This for me as well. I don't think I would be having such a good cycle without being a scribe.
 

Konfidence

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ER scribe here. It really just gives you good stories for your interviews. I had an interview today and neither interviewer had any idea what I actually do (or at least they claimed). So, the adcom won't be like "scribe? WE MUST HAVE HIM!" It will be a good talking point in interviews, however.

Also, don't do it to get letters of rec. There are far easier ways to get a good letter.
Lol yeah, some of my interviewers didn't know about scribing. After I described it, they became intrigued and called it a "physician apprenticeship". Sounded real medieval :laugh:
 

Dannyw

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I had a job offer, but they offered me 10$ an hour with something like 60 hours of unpaid training......... :laugh: (would have taken it for better pay, though).
 
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Feb 22, 2013
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only "clinical experience" i had was volunteering 100 hours at a hospital. turned out okay for me. I think it's more important to do what you like and excel at it.
 
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I think working as a scribe is beneficial. I've talked with a few advisors from medical schools and they liked the fact that I have a PAID clinical experience job on top of the shadowing I've done outside of that in a Internal Medicine Practice. And some schools consider shadowing and clinical experience as two different things. So it could definitely help you but won't make your application super super special.
 

rcheech7

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Can you elaborate on this a little? :oops:
I think that without scribing I would not have been able to say with confidence and speak from "experience" that medicine is what I want to do; in the interview.

However, scribing was my only clinical experience where I was actually doing something, as opposed to volunteering etc, which I did have some of as well. So maybe working as a EMT/CNA will also provide you with a similar confidence and experiences; but I cannot speak for that as I was not a EMT/CNA.

That being said there is not really anything else that requires no training (education-wise) and allows for such direct interactions with the docs and patients.
 
OP
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Feb 17, 2013
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Thanks guys! I've been working as a scribe for about 6 months now and it's stressful with school. I really enjoy it and I learn so much but I just wanted to make sure it will benefit me someway in the future. ;)