For people interested in careers in medicine, specifically nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs) hopefuls, acquiring healthcare experience is a vital part of the graduate school application. Healthcare experience is mandatory to be admitted in to NP and PA programs and there are a variety of experiences that can and should be pursued. In recent years, serving as a medical scribe has become an increasingly beneficial experience for future Mid-Level Providers or Advanced Practicing Clinicians (NPs, PAs).
At Emergency Physicians Professional Association (EPPA), our medical scribes work with a passionate and eager-to-teach group of providers (MD/DO, PA, NP) who are dedicated to imparting their medical expertise onto medical scribes. The experience gained as a medical scribe is increasingly desirable in Mid-Level Providers as it allows them to be more familiar with the workflow of medicine, comfortable in front of patients, and well versed in the electronic health record (EHR) prior to their future practice. The EHR is a system for collecting and storing health information digitally that is completed during each patient visit. Mid-Level Providers who have decided to specialize in Emergency Medicine and have returned to EPPA for employment are more likely to be hired if they have prior scribe experience.
What is a Medical Scribe?
A medical scribe works one-on-one with a provider for their shift and documents each patient encounter. Scribes accompany their provider into each patient room during rounds and record all of the relevant information. EPPA Scribes document everything that occurs during the visit from start to finish; including the patient’s history, physical exam, provider orders, patient outcomes, labs, imaging, and more. In return, Scribes become familiar with the workflow of medicine, medical decision making process, medical terminology, and different provider styles.
Medical scribes actively listen, type, and capture notes to be entered into the HER in real-time. While scribes improve provider productivity by allowing the provider to focus their attention on the patient instead of a computer, scribes gain an exceptional insight and understanding in clinical medicine.
Healthcare Experience Required for PA and NP School
Applying to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant features different requirements. While becoming a nurse practitioner requires registered nurse (RN) experience, physician assistant programs require an undergraduate degree with patient care experience. Hours of experience are pertinent to both Mid-Level Provider paths and range anywhere from 300-2,000+ hours. With hours of experience, paid experience is just as important as volunteer experience. Most PA and NP hopefuls complete the majority of their healthcare hours while still an undergraduate student or in a gap year while preparing their application.
What counts as healthcare experience?
Most programs accept a broad range of experiences towards the accumulation of total hours. While each of the following experiences will provide value to your graduate school application, scribing is an experience that truly teaches you the workflow of clinical medicine and patient care.
Some common experiences include:
Direct Care Professional
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Patient Care Technician
Certified Medical Assistant
Registered Nurse (RN)
What Type of Healthcare Experience Do Medical Scribes Receive?
Working as a medical scribe offers future nurse practitioners and physician assistants a unique clinical experience. Since scribes are exposed to a wide variety of differential diagnoses, procedures, and outcomes during each shift, they gain a strong understanding of medicine and how providers think and problem solve with each patient. While scribe experience is not hands-on with patients, it is an observatory role that allows pre-health students or graduates access into the patient room to provide a documentation service while learning medical terminology, lab and imaging interpretations, and how to preform exceptional documentation.
How to Become a Medical Scribe?
Preparing for a career as a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant and looking to take advantage of working as a medical scribe?
1-2 years of full-time undergraduate studies with an emphasis in sciences
Undergraduate GPA 3.0 or higher
Typing Proficiency (>60wpm)
Excellent Organizational Skills
Knowledge of Medical Terminology
Ability to Multitask
Apply with EPPA Today!