Kyle is a Marine and currently scribes at Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Here he shares how being a Marine and a scribe has given him a unique advantage in preparing him for his future medical career.
I joined the Marines in 2005 and left for bootcamp the day after my high school graduation in June 2006. After boot camp, I completed infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California and became an infantry machine gunner.
Following my training, I began school at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire; however, I only completed one semester before I was called to active duty in 2007. We trained for about five months, and in January of 2008, we deployed to Habbaniyah, Iraq, with operations in Fallujah and surrounding areas.
After completing this deployment, I came back to school for two more semesters and again deployed to Southeast Asia for about seven months to train foreign military forces. I spent a total of about three and a half years training and deployed (which is all time I was away from school).
After graduation, I plan on attending medical school. I have been married for two years and bought my own home five years ago. I enjoy outdoor activities and working on my home.
I have wanted to be a doctor since I was a child. The passion and drive to help people, as well as talking with family members in medicine, sealed the deal for me in pursuing this career.
I heard about the scribe program when a recruiting email was sent out to our campus. I was extremely excited to see behind the scenes in an emergency department and get to work closely with the physicians.
I had a great training team that motivated us to be better scribes. I also had a pretty good grasp on medical terminology and procedures before becoming a scribe, which helped greatly.
I would have physicians tell me that I was grasping chart essentials that took them years to perfect, which was a great feeling. Being complemented on chart quality is a testament to the program and drives me to work harder, learn as much as possible, and to share the knowledge with other scribes.
I enjoy the fact that I get to see something different each shift. I also feel that we are very fortunate to be scribes, as we have a different working relationship with the physicians and gain insight into why they make the choices they do. This job requires attention to detail, focus, multitasking skills and a good working knowledge of medical terminology, and other aspects of anatomy. These skills correlate very closely to the basic skills that will be learned early on in medical school, so I feel that sets us up ahead of the curve.
Honestly, I would do this job for free just to get the experience of working with doctors. It is an incredible opportunity to learn and lets you know if you really are interested in the field.
Mayo has been very accommodating to our program and I feel that I am working with some excellent scribes and future professionals. I have also felt very welcome, as I am a little more nontraditional, not only in my past but my age.
Kiel Hendricks is a ScribeAmerica alum who recently transitioned to a new career upon graduating college. Kiel scribed for over two years in the Evansville, Indiana area while attending school at the University of Southern Indiana. We sat down with Kiel to discuss his scribe experience and service in the military.
I was interested in becoming an ER physician and I was approached by one of the medical directors who had just implemented the local program in Evansville. I was teching for another ER at the time when I was approached about the position. I applied and hit the ground running from there.
I recently completed my degree at USI. I did end up applying to medical school but switched paths shortly after. I loved the ER experience but it taught me that I'd rather pursue a different career path outside of medicine.
I loved the experience and education opportunity. I learned a lot and had a great time doing it. My scribe experience exposed me to a side of medicine that I would not have been previously exposed to in any capacity apart from actually being a physician. It taught me some of the different types of stress that physicians are under and different ways they typically manage their stress. I wouldn't have been exposed to those had I not had the opportunity of being a scribe.
Oh, wholeheartedly. Yes, I think it's essential for any kind of decision-making process when considering a career in medicine. It exposes you to medicine, clinical care, proper documentation and industry requirements such as ICD coding. There are a lot of different things you become very effective at doing. It was a rewarding experience.
They need to be able to think on their feet. I definitely think that needs to be something a scribe candidate needs to be honest with him- or herself about. Are you professionally agile? Can you change positions or switch gears as the physician's needs change? Can you work in a high tempo environment where you can go from doing nothing to being in a seemingly overwhelming position? These are key habits that you need to be able to perform as a scribe.
I was a military police officer. I went straight in out of high school at 17. I served for four years with the 384th Military Police Company. I did a tour in Iraq as part of a police transition team where we were part of training the Iraqi forces in how effectively work together in different environments. Specifically, we trained the Iraqi police and their different SWAT elements how to be an effective policing force for a rather unruly populous.
Yes. It goes back to being able to think quickly on your feet. You need to be able to see through the fog and the chaos and know what to do even when others aren't able to give you direction.
I'm from Indianapolis but I worked in Evansville as a scribe. When I was in Evansville it was school and scribing! They kept me busy. When I do get out, I enjoy the outdoors, hiking, rock climbing and target shooting.
I've been with ScribeAmerica since June of 2013, so it has been nearly a year and a half.
I joined when I was 17 so my parents signed my paperwork for me. I initially started off in the Army Reserve and then I moved over to the National Guard. I did two overseas deployments. I went to Iraq in 2007 to 2008 and I went to Egypt from 2011 to 2012. As far as my background in the military goes, I was an infantryman and I'm now in my battalion's snipers section. A lot of my military training is combat-based and combat related. The unit I'm in now is a sniper section, so it's long-range surveillance and long-range shooting.
I guess the cliché answer would be that I joined out of patriotism. I had a burden to serve. My family is a family of immigrants. My father came over here and owns a small business. This country gave me my livelihood and the livelihood my parents have. So I just felt like I wanted to serve.
Yes, I completed a little bit of college when I initially enlisted. I was 17, going through my initial training through the military and also attending school full-time. I wasn't a very good student when I started. I didn't really know what I wanted to do. Initially, I was studying sociology but didn't really know what I wanted to do. It was after I came back from Iraq that I kind of started to really get serious about my education. I went back to school, raised my GPA and transferred to the school I attend now, UMBC in Baltimore. I switched my major to biochemistry and now I'm on that path.
Ultimately, my career goal is to attend medical school. I haven't decided what specialty I want to do, but I'm leaning towards emergency medicine because that is what I have been exposed to with ScribeAmerica and in my Army medical training. Ideally, I would like to be an Army physician and finish out the time I've served. I have completed ten years and I would like to finish out an additional ten and retire from the Army.
Has your position with ScribeAmerica prepared you for a career in medicine?I think so. It has definitely shown me the other side of medicine. When I was in the Army my exposure to medicine was more trauma-based and combat sustained injuries. A lot of the medical training I had received included controlling bleeding, controlling the airway, administering IV fluids, and so on. But coming into ScribeAmerica, you kind of see the civilian side of medicine. Not everyone comes in with a lot of trauma or a shot wound. People come in with other ailments. They are often sick rather than being injured. So I think it gives you a well rounded, complete picture of what medicine actually is.
It definitely gave me the ability to remain calm under stressful situations. Being in the emergency room, I see people who have had STEMIs, who are actively seizing, or people who are just really hurt or really sick. Sometimes you see the other staff and the energy level starts to rise but situations like this don't really phase me. I've had physicians ask, "this person has gangrene," or, "this person is bleeding, is that a problem for you?" As physicians get to know me more, or they know my history, they stop asking that question. It's not really a big deal for me to see injuries or illness. My training has prepared me to be ready for the worst-case scenario.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I enjoy long-range shooting. I'm trying to go out whenever I get the chance. In the summertime I like to go scuba diving. In the winter time I like to go snowboarding. I like to go bowling from time to time. I'm not very good but it's still fun.
As you prepare for medical school and the MCAT, do you have any tips for anyone else walking in your shoes
Tip #1: Practice
The best way to compare for the MCAT to do is many practice questions and tests as you can.
Tip #2: Set Aside Time
If you have the opportunity, just clear your schedule out and focus on studying and practice tests.
Tip #3: Consider Your Schedule
I took an MCAT course at night during the semester and I also had to work at the hospital so my time was kind of crushed. I got a lot out of the course but I feel like I might have gotten more out of it if I wasn't taking a full course load. If you're going to study and you're still a student, the summer might be the best time so that you can devote as much time to it as possible.
Tip #4: Plan Ahead
Allow yourself enough time to see where your shortfalls are. Whether you're studying practice questions or even take a full-length past exam, allowing yourself extra time will help you properly prepare yourself. The MCAT is currently a 4-½ hour exam and is changing to 7-½ hours next year. There's a lot of material that you have to cover. It's not a matter of just knowing all of the material, but preparing and having the stamina. Most people aren't accustomed to taking a test that long.
Often, the transition from military service to civilian life can be challenging. Veterans often encounter many hurdles, including unemployment due to difficulty translating military skills into qualifications that appeal to civilian employers and delays in the VA medical system. Far too often, many more veterans face even greater challenges such as homelessness and depression.
GallantFew's mission is to help new veterans face these challenges by connecting them with hometown mentors who can help facilitate a peaceful, successful transition back to civilian life filled with hope and purpose.
This summer, veterans Marty Skovlund and Leo Jenkins set out on a three-week nomadic trek with nothing but a backpack full of clothes and gear and $100 in their pockets to raise awareness and funds for veterans. Their goal was to raise $10,000 for GallantFew but the two successfully raised nearly $25,000 for the non-profit organization.
As part of their fundraising effort, Skovlund and Jenkins put forth a challenge, offering to get a tattoo for a $5,000 donation. As a proud supporter of U.S. veterans, ScribeAmerica met this challenge. The final tattoo can be seen on Leo Jenkins (right).
To learn more about GallantFew and Skovlund and Jenkins, visit www.gallantfew.org/nomads.
As the number of returning U.S. military service members continues to grow, the H.E.L.O. Foundation aims to work with employers and educators to make sure these veterans are equipped with the resources needed to help them transition into successful and meaningful careers. H.E.L.O.'s efforts have helped develop resources for veterans at educational institutions, provide networking opportunities with businesses and spread awareness through local community events.
H.E.L.O. has started to partner with colleges and universities across the nation to help develop Veteran Resource Centers that provide career services, scholarships and other resources for veterans. H.E.L.O. builds awareness on these campuses by holding Freedom Fest events that build awareness and raise funds that help support the organization's mission. Activities at Freedom Fests include an obstacle course, exotic car show, and a military show-n-tell.
Recently, ScribeAmerica and H.E.L.O. participated in the ACG South Florida Inaugural Charity Golf Event in support of returning veterans. The event raised $50,000 to support South Florida veterans.