How to become a Scribe

This is one of the most asked questions I get, after some asks what is a scribe. Just to be clear, this is information on how to become a medical scribe. There is no schooling required in the form of an associates degree or any other post-secondary education. Here in the States, there are multiple scribe companies. If you put in your search engine “medical scribe”, multiple companies will pop up. Finding just the right company for you will be based on geographic region and if the scribe company only does outpatient or only does inpatient.

Scribes are typically 18 years or older (the older the better) and are most likely in college obtaining a degree in a healthcare related field. This is a wonderful way for pre-meds, pre-nursing, pre-PA, students to obtain knowledge on what actually occurs when a physician interacts with a patient. This is more then just shadowing, because the scribe is in the room, at the bedside with the physicians and typically have their eyes to a laptop screen and their fingers are flying away as the physician begins their assessment.

Once you find the right scribe company that appeal to your specific needs, apply. Once you hear back and are invited for the interview, accept it. Most companies have a one step interview process while others may have a multi-step interview process. Once that is completed and you are hired, then you and all the other new hires attend training (most are paid, although I cannot speak for all companies).

This is where you will learn most of the information to help make you the best scribe you can be. Please, take it seriously. You will be taught the basic medical terminology, pharmacology, types of labs, types of imaging, different diagnosis’s and billing information. Attendings and Residents have said that scribes know a lot of what is taught in medical school on the macro-level and just need to fine tune in a mirco-level. You may feel like you are in school which is good, because you should take it just as seriously. To be successful at this job, you have to want to be successful at this job.

After all the formal training, you then move on to floor training. Here is where you put everything you have learned into practice. Kind of like when medical students have been studying didactics for the first two years and then third year, they apply all of their information during their clinicals. This is when you will learn the most, especially if you scribe for at least 1 year. After several  months, you will fine tune writing a patients HPI (History of Present Illness) which is really important for those who want to become physicians of mid-level providers.

All in all, I can say this was one of the best decisions I have made thus far. I’m constantly in an environment that makes me want to do better and be better. I am always looking for teaching opportunities and trying to test my knowledge by asking the physicians a lot of questions during an interesting case. And the difference between scribing and shadowing a physician, is I have a more hands on role with the documentation and you really feel part of the team.

I hope this was helpful to those interested and leave a comment below or email me if you have any questions.

Have a blessed day!