All You Need to Know About Becoming Medical Scribes

Medical Scribes Concept

Know more about medical scribes and their role. 

There is a growing demand for medical scribes, and for good reason. They help with the efficiency and accuracy of data and records of patients. 

Following the strict implementation of electronic health record (EHR) systems for recording patient’s medical data, clinics, hospitals and private practices have all been looking for medical scribes.

To pursue a career in medical scribing and to have an idea of the basic skills, a person interested in this job must have the willingness to learn and grow in the medical field, have great listening and communication skills and know computers.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions and everything you need to know about being a medical scribe.

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What Is A Medical Scribe? What Do Medical Scribes Do?

doctor taking notes on electronic device

The medical scribes are those who document all physician and patient interactions from the start of treatment until it ends. Part of the responsibility of this job is to transcribe all the written information of a patient to the database so that the attending physician can focus mainly on treating a patient. At the same time, the scribe does all the paperwork.

Additionally, a scribe works for the physician to communicate with the other departments if a patient needs to undergo medical procedures such as x-rays, CT scans, blood and urine testing. A scribe has to monitor these for an efficient system in the clinic or hospital.

Although it is not a requirement for medical students, some who are studying pre-med apply for a job like this to gain experience. At the same time, the money they earn from scribing can help pay off loans or save money for medical school. 

For students, getting this job can help with their recommendation when applying for med school.

How to Become Medical Scribes

If you are an aspiring medical scribe, the minimum requirement to pass and apply for the position is a high school diploma.

However, it is highly recommended for someone to have vast knowledge in the medical field or to be taking a pre-med/medical-related course in an undergraduate degree. 

Here are the basic skills a person should have if he/she wants to become a medical scribe:

  • Multi-tasking - The medical scribes needs to listen well during treatment and should be writing the information collected at the same time. Having the ability to multitask is an important skill to have in this field.

  • Computer skills - All the information collected needs to be written down and encoded in the computer; thus, basic computer skills are a must. A scribe needs to know how to work on MS Office applications.

  • Typing skills - In addition to knowing how to operate a computer, encoding the information collected from the patient is crucial. Typing 45-60 words per minute is highly recommended.

  • Use EMR software - Knowing how to use any electronic medical recording/electronic health recording software is a requirement since it will be used 100% of the time by the physician to keep a patient’s records.

How Are Medical Scribes Different From Medical Transcriptionists and Nurses?

Medical scribes take down notes as he/she experiences on-hand interaction with the physician and the patient. A medical transcriptionist, on the other hand, writes down information fed to them via dictation. Medical transcription work can be done remotely, just by having a voice recording of a physician.

Unlike nurses, medical scribes or medical transcriptionists do not have any physical contact with patients, handle bodily fluids or give medical advice. A nurse is involved more hands-on with the patient, while scribes and transcriptionists work behind the scenes.

Also, nurses have formal training in the medical field while scribes do not.

What Is A Career Path For A Scribe Like?

Female Career Path_Compressed

If a person wants to pursue a scribing career, there is a lot of room to grow in this field.

A person can start off as a part-time worker, working 2-4 shifts a week. For med students, this is recommended for those who are in their early years. Shifts are usually scheduled among other staff and work times can run from eight up to 24 hours, depending on the patient and physician. A full-time worker, on the other hand, gets at least five shifts a week.

The medical scribes usually have the option to choose their work hours, depending on their needs or school schedule.

While this job gets to be a training ground and somewhere to get med students’ feet wet in a medical-related field, those who plan to be a scribe full-time can have the opportunity to be a trainer, a department head and can lead to other positions in a hospital or clinic. 

What Is An Average Salary Of A Scribe?

Earning a living being a scribe is possible.

According to Glassdoor, a scribe is paid $10-15 per hour or $31,000 a year, depending on the assigned position. ER scribes, for example, can earn $35,000 - $44,000 a year.

But that doesn’t stop aspiring medical scribes from dreaming bigger. As they continue to grow in this career, the prices of the pay come up as well.

These prices are estimates and are based on rates of agencies or firms who supply scribes to hospitals or clinics.

According to experienced medical scribes, these numbers may become higher if scribes are hired directly by the hospital or clinics. On top of that, some hospitals offer health insurance and other benefits when hired.

What Are The Risks Of Being A Scribe?

Just like any job working in the hospital or a clinic, the position of being medical scribes has risks like fatigue when staying up because of night shifts, possible fainting due to the sight of blood, or catching viruses such as coronavirus, tuberculosis or meningitis, due to interaction with infected patients. 

For those with the passion of working in the medical field, even the med students who would like to get their feet wet in the career they are about to pursue, becoming a medical scribe might be the right decision for you.

Are you ready to carve your way to becoming one of the best medical scribes?

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