Career Advice for Job Seekers

How a Medical Scribe Position Prepares You for Medical School

William Frierson AvatarWilliam Frierson
August 6, 2015

empty notebook with a pen on the table

Empty notebook with a pen on the table. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The decision to apply to medical school is not easy. Before students can even apply, they must complete rigorous coursework, volunteer or work in a clinical setting, score well on the MCAT exam, and more.

Then comes the more important part: actually getting accepted to medical school. Standing out among thousands of other applicants can seem daunting. Fortunately, there are opportunities for students interested in medical school or other healthcare careers that can enhance their resume or graduate school application.

A position as a medical scribe is one of these opportunities. A scribe is a highly trained individual who works alongside a physician to take notes and gather information about the patient. This streamlines the provider’s workload and enhances the patient experience. Simply put, a medical scribe is like an assistant to the physician.

With many healthcare systems moving to electronic health records, the need for medical scribes continues to grow nationwide.

Most scribe positions are available to undergraduates (typically juniors and seniors) as well as recent graduates. Listing “medical scribe” on your resume will impress admissions offices and prepare you for medical school.

Hands-On Experience in a Clinical Setting

Becoming a scribe offers many benefits for premed students, including hands-on exposure in a healthcare setting. Students learn what a day in the life of a physician is really like. This allows students to determine if a career in medicine is truly what they want, or if they should pursue a different career path.

There is no doubt that clinical experience is one of the most important things medical admissions offices look for when analyzing a student’s application. Clinical experience demonstrates commitment and understanding of what it takes to become a doctor.

Networking Opportunities and Mentors

Working side-by-side with a physician provides a great opportunity to gain a mentor. A mentor can help guide students throughout the application process and serve as a reference, and be a source of support during medical school.

Do not be afraid to ask questions and seek advice from your physician when appropriate. First, make sure you have established a relationship beforehand. Finding a trusted mentor takes time.

Make sure you have these discussions outside of direct interaction with patients. When you are with a patient, he or she should be the primary focus.

Career Exploration

Medical scribes assist in a variety of specialties, from emergency medicine to dermatology to cardiology, and they work in both inpatient and outpatient settings. A scribe position offers insight into what students might want to specialize in.

Specialties are typically chosen during the third year of medical school. Exploring specialties as a scribe before medical school can make the final decision much easier.

Paid Position

While there are many incredible opportunities available for premed students who need additional experience, volunteer and research positions are often unpaid. Medical scribe positions are paid.

The cost of medical school combined with undergraduate student loans makes paid positions very appealing. Money earned can go towards paying off loans or saving for medical school tuition.

Becoming a medical scribe is an incredible opportunity. Through this experience, premed students gain skills and knowledge that will prepare them for medical school and a successful career.

Marcin J. Kubiak is Vice President, Customer Care at Elite Medical Scribes, the nation’s leading provider of fully integrated scribe services.

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