What Does a Medical Scribe Do and How Does It Protect Patients?

researchTaking notes - Photo by: English106 - Source: Flickr Creative Commons

When a patient goes into the operating theater, there are many different actions taking place. From the surgeon to the nurses and anesthesiologist, it’s a hectic scene. No one has time to make notes about what actions have been taken and why. The medical staff is simply too busy. That’s why the medical profession employs medical scribes to keep track of what actions have been taken towards patient care.

Let’s discover more about medical scribes and how they help to protect patient care.

The Daily Life of a Medical Scribe

A medical scribe works closely with healthcare leaders, doctors, and nurses. They become immersed in a medical world filled with jargon, procedures, diagnosis, and more. Helping to improve the workflow of the team and confirming what’s taken place assists medical professionals in their work with patients.

Making an accurate record with shorthand notes and additional information provides a useful record for the healthcare organization. Including insight on-the-fly allows a scribe to add real value to their record regarding why certain actions were taken, so that they can be better understood later and in context to the medical procedure at the time.

Why Do Some People Become Medical Scribes?

Some scribes may have a desire to be involved in the healthcare profession but don’t feel they would make a good doctor or nurse. Others enter the profession to get experience working in a healthcare facility. To be accepted into medical school or applicable programs, it is necessary to have some healthcare experience on the resume. Being a medical scribe usually requires a 3.0+ GPA score and a willingness to commit to over 16 hours per week.

What Departments Does a Medical Scriber Work?

Some scribes may work in one department or a specialty that they have built up extensive knowledge about. For instance, some scribes work in the emergency care departments and enjoy the fast pace and unpredictable nature of the work there. Others perform their duties in departments that provide outpatient care such as oncology, orthopedics, and others.

What Days and Hours Do Medical Scriber Work?

With scribe jobs, the hours aren’t a regular 9-5. While residents might work extensive hours, the shifts for a scribe are typically 8 to 10 hours in length. However, their shifts may either be fixed, on a scheduled rota, or regularly switched around. Different scribes cover daytime hours, evenings, and weekends to ensure that a healthcare facility has enough medical scribes available to create accurate records.

In these days when malpractice lawsuits continue to plague hospitals just trying to serve patients well, it’s important to document medical procedures. It helps protect the medical staff, the patients, and the healthcare organization. It avoids needing to remember crucial details after the care has been given because adequate notes weren’t taken. For the medical scribes themselves, it’s a front-row position in the medical profession. No day is the same because each medical case is different. For many scribes, it certainly beats the monotonous nature of working another job that feels like it’s Groundhog Day every day.