So you’ve decided to become a scribe. Great choice! But before you dive in headfirst, I want you, the reader, to be aware of the different types of scribe jobs available. For a company to successfully hire and train scribes for the medical sector, various individuals play roles that are essential, not only to the companies themselves, but the scribing industry at large. The roles and the direct responsibilities of each individual allow for the smooth operations of a scribing company. Majority of persons who hold scribe-related jobs all started out as scribes, which makes a lot of sense. If you want to effectively perform, then one must be able to relate to the capacity of and struggles associated with being a scribe.
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Different Medical Scribe Jobs
There are numerous positions in the scribing sector and each position plays an integral part in delivering top notch medical scribe services.
Entry Level Medical Scribe
First and foremost is the entry-level medical scribe – otherwise known as a clinical information manager – which I explained in detail in a previous article. This position must be held for a minimum of 1 year full time or 2 years part time. This is the requirement of most scribing companies. In turn, it allows scribes to build a healthy relationship with the medical practitioners they are assigned to and to gain a wealth of clinical knowledge for the prospective medical student. As a general reminder, applicants must be able to work legally in the United States prior to applying.
In order to be considered for a job as an onsite medical scribe, the ideal candidate must have the following requirements:
- College sophomore or graduate in a health-related science with a minimum 2.8 to 3.0 GPA,
- Have a flexible schedule, as scribes work 8-12 hour shifts which include overnights, weekends, and holidays
- Be highly motivated, focused and open-minded
Scribing takes place in a stressful environment. From my personal experience, it is best to keep in great physical shape as there will be constant movement with your laptop in hand. Also, fast typing is a must so one should hone their typing speed and skills while making minimal errors prior to applying. Bilinguals will have a major advantage as they are highly sought after, especially those who comprehend English, Spanish and Creole. Being an excellent active listener is also crucial to performing your duties well. A hospital scribe is expected to multitask during a patient encounter.
The best aspect about this entry level position is that one need not have any clinical experience whatsoever. Scribing companies provide paid training in preparation for working in the ED or in a private practice. Depending on the state, most scribing jobs pay minimum wage, with the national average being $20,000 per year. Hourly rates normally run between $8 and $10 during the probationary period, and $9 and $15 after. Glassdoor does a further breakdown of the medical scribe salaries by company. The average salary is $12.61 per hour and $29,661 per year. ScribeAmerica averages at $10.05/hour, PhysAssist at $9.22/hour, and Elite Medical Scribes at $9.18/hour.
Medical Scribe Trainer
After prolonged and satisfactory exposure to the entry level medical scribe position, a scribe can apply for or be promoted to a trainer position. A scribe trainer instructs new scribe trainees on how to effectively execute their job. There are two types of scribe trainers. The first type of scribe trainer is the Certified Scribe Trainer, who provides site leadership by way of helping to coordinate training sessions for the new recruits. Depending on the company, this job may require frequent traveling. Requirements include, but are not limited to, traveling to sites to implement new scribe programs, conducting instructional classroom training sessions, issuing exams to determine advancement throughout the training course, facilitating onsite practice shifts for trainees, participating as a contributing member of the scribe training team, and doing necessary assessments to ensure the sites are properly equipped for documentation purposes. The ideal candidate will have significant experience in leadership and teaching, EMR documentation, strong writing, typing and active listening skills, and the ability to travel.
The second type is more localized. This particular trainer is a current scribe who evaluates a trainee onsite throughout the entirety of the shift. He/She reports primarily to the Chief Scribe and provides reviews on the trainee’s improvement. For example, with PhysAssist Scribes, the trainee shadows the trainer for at least 6 - 8 shifts and watches intently as the trainer documents and maneuvers through the EMR utilizing correct medical terminology, quick and accurate typing, and active listening skills. After a few physician-patient encounters, the trainer will allow the trainee to transcribe encounters, after which the trainer will give feedback and suggestions to the clinical scribe. Chances are your trainer will correct you on numerous occasions. Take this as constructive criticism and accept the feedback willingly. There is always room for improvement and this ongoing learning will help you grow and get accustomed to the specific characteristics of your clinical surroundings. Certified Trainer Scribes earn an average of $13 - $14 per hour. During my tenure with PhysAssist, onsite trainer scribes earned roughly $10 hourly.
Another position is the Chief Scribe, who can also be referred to as hospital or clinic managers. The chief scribe is responsible for overseeing other medical scribes within the department; they play both clinical and administrative roles. This includes managing a team of scribes and ensuring they are performing efficiently, acting as a liaison between scribes, physicians and corporate, managing new scribe online training and seasoned scribe Continuing Scribe Education (CSE), and boosting the morale of the team. In addition to the clinical portion, administrative duties include conducting scribe performance evaluations, formulating schedules on a monthly basis, writing site reports, handling minor disciplinary and HR issues that may periodically arise, and conducting chart appraisals. The ideal candidate must be a full-time scribe for at least 1 year, exhibit strong leadership qualities, exude confidence, be respectful, and portray good interpersonal communication and organizational skills. This role proves to be beneficial as it can create networking opportunities, provide hands-on learning, and be a stepping stone into the corporate office, such as that of a project leader. A chief scribe averages approximately $26,000 per year and $13 - $14 hourly.
As previously mentioned, becoming a project leader is the official entry into the corporate arena. According to ScribeAmerica’s website, this position is demanding but financially and physically rewarding. The position is in high demand due to the increase in the use of medical scribes over the years. Along with the Scribe Trainer, project leaders meet with numerous physicians around the country to implement new scribe programs. They are accountable for recruiting, training, and handling a brand-new scribing staff for each medical facility. To excel at their job, a project leader must be comfortable with taking initiative and conducting leadership meetings, display proficiency and have a complete grasp on the medical scribe position, preferably acting in the capacity of a medical scribe for more than 2 years. Project leaders make comfortable salaries ranging from $41,000 to $53,000 per year at the junior level or approximately $16 hourly and $100,000 per year at the senior level.
Quality Assurance Manager
Next on the list of scribe jobs is that of a quality assurance manager (QAM). Otherwise known as a Quality Assurance Specialist or Operations Manager, a QAM is responsible for upholding corporate policies, overseeing the operations of their respective divisions and facilitating communications between corporate and medical facilities as explained in their contracts. A more detailed description of their responsibilities and qualifications can be seen here. A ScribeAmerica Quality Assurance Manager typically can earn between $12 and $18 hourly.
Other Positions: Virtual Medical Scribe
Outside of the traditional onsite medical scribe, virtual scribes are gaining more popularity in the industry. Telescribes, as they are sometimes called, are medical scribes who work remotely and aren’t physically present in the examination room. ScribeAmerica, Hospital Physician Partners, and a few other companies provide this service to their clients. A Telescribe provides the same services as an onsite clinical scribe and are a catch with medical providers in rural areas, physicians with unpredictable on-call schedules, and practices that believe that their patients would be more comfortable without the third person in the room. Prospective telescribes must meet the same prerequisites as their onsite peers and undergo similar training and orientation, with the addition of performing their jobs on a virtual platform. Virtual scribes are on the same pay scale as their onsite counterparts earning $8 - $10 hourly. This range can differ according to which states the healthcare scribes are based.
In conclusion, it is very important that one masters the skills of working in leadership roles. As you can see, getting a foot into the scribing industry can pave the way for greater opportunities. Each of these roles is time-consuming and challenging. If you possess the discipline, multitasking ability, impeccable work ethic and enjoy traveling from city to city on a regular basis, then go for the QAM and Project Leader roles. From what I’ve observed, most people aren’t interested in lifelong scribing careers. However, these can be building blocks to a fruitful career in medicine and healthcare administration.