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A Day in the Life of a Hospitalist Scribe

By John M. Shea, MD

As a Hospitalist Scribe, you have a chance to see and help every variety of patient, frequently at the best and worst moments in their life.

The shifts often start out the same. You come into the hospital early and start prepping the notes. A few  nurses say hello because they are used to seeing you in that same chair at 7 a.m. Maybe it feels like a slow morning, but it rarely stays that way.  

The patient in ICU bed 5 is withdrawing and violated their parole last night. They make a run down the hallway to the closest exit. Security follows soon after.  

The patient in bed 227 is on hospice and 30+ family members are gathering in the hallway for that one last moment to say goodbye.  

The patient in bed 354 came in stable last night, but sepsis is tricky. They decompensated, so now the ICU team is prepping a ventilator in room 8.  

You update the notes. Always attentive to the notes. 

The Charge Nurse asks you to text Dr. Smithson because he hasn’t arrived to pick up interlink handset #3 yet. He texts you back, asks you to meet him at bed 227 with handset #3, and to prep a Death Summary.  

Rounds are starting early today. Sometimes they start late, but today they are starting early and you will learn more because of it.  

You hand off the interlink to Dr. Smithson and the ER calls immediately. The first admission for your team is pending; a chest pain rule out presentation with no evidence of Acute Coronary Syndrome on the ECG or labs. You can see the frustration in Dr. Smithson’s face, but as he always said “Every patient has something to teach you, even if they don’t really belong in the hospital.”  

Being a scribe gives you a chance to learn something that others will not. You learn physician decision making, which is the most esoteric knowledge in medicine. You only learn it by being invited and exposed to it, and in doing so you gain a significant advantage in your future career.  

Whether you want to be a nurse, a PA, a doctor, or another position in healthcare, ScribeAmerica can help make all this part of your understanding of the world. For a future medical professional, that is more valuable than anything else you will find on the job market.