Today was my last day of work! I work(ed) as a physician’s scribe in the emergency room. Initially, I worked as a personal scribe for two doctors in the hospital’s main ED but eventually moved to the free-standing ED outside of Tucson where I worked with six different doctors. It was an amazing experience that definitely influenced my view of medicine and the type of doctor I want to become. Here are a few things I learned:
- Doctors are not demi-gods but real live humans! I had a glorified view of doctors being super-humans that were above us mere mortals. Needless to say, when I began working there, I was extremely quiet and tense, only speaking to the docs about patients or academic/medical-related topics. Imagine my surprise when I found out they too also enjoy talking about regular human stuff like traveling, good books, food, etc.
- Most doctors are willing to share their wealth of knowledge. Almost all of the physicians I worked with were willing and happy to impart their knowledge about the different cases we worked. And let me tell you, learning about illness or disease in a classroom setting does not measure up to learning from a doctor who has a patient sitting ten feet away with that same disease or illness.
- The providers are vital team players… but so are the rest of the team. As a scribe, my lot fell to acting as a liaison between the doc and the rest of the team. So, the first thing I would do when I started a shift was check out who was working. It would make me happy when certain radiology techs or lab techs or nurses or respiratory therapists were on shift because it meant that work would run smoothly and things would get done in a timely manner. Which meant I wouldn’t have to spend time hounding the staff. It takes a lot of people to make the circus go round which brings me to my next point…
- Kindness goes a long way. Things can go from 0-100 quickly in an emergency room! When that happens, the staff can become pretty snappy, especially with the scribe who’s asking why room 5’s urine isn’t in lab yet or why room 7’s chest x-ray hasn’t been completed. That nurse or tech is a lot less likely to snap at you if you’ve built a good rapport with them by being kind and respectful at all times.
- Medicine is not one-size-fits all. Coming into this job, I believed that all doctors practiced medicine in the same way, so I was surprised to find that there is no uniform approach to medicine. Six doctors can have six different approaches to the same patient and every one of them could be right. Of course, they would lead to the same conclusion for the most part but I appreciated the chance to observe and understand each doctor’s rationalization for their chosen plan of action.
I could go on and on but I’ll stop here. Overall the job experience was phenomenal and the biggest blessings are the relationships I gained, especially with the doctors. In particular, one of the physicians, Dr. Kay, became a mentor to me during my time there. His integrity, capability, skill, and leadership truly inspired me and have influenced me as far as the type of doctor I want to become. Although I’m sad to leave this job behind, I am definitely excited about the journey ahead of me.