Q&A: Alexandra Khalil
We asked Alexandra Khalil, Scribe Ambassador and former Emergency Scribe, about her experience working with ScribeAmerica:
How has ScribeAmerica has prepared you for your career?
Before working as a scribe in the emergency department, I thought I knew what the hospital was like. I quickly found out that I had no idea what goes on in patient rooms or behind the scenes in the hospital. Scribing has taught me so much about what doctors do and how they work together with a large team of nurses, surgeons, EMTs, other medical specialists, and even me. I felt like an important part of the team, and this allowed me to experience medicine from within the hospital staff, not just as an observer.
It only took a few months for me to realize that scribing had re-confirmed my desire to be a doctor. Suddenly, I was more interested in my academic courses such as anatomy and physiology because finally, it became tangible and readily applicable. I’m convinced that there is no better clinical experience for pre-med students than scribing because it is such an immersive experience. Not only do you learn technical things, such as medical terms and disease prognosis, but you witness the ethical implications of medicine, the psychological aspect of the patient-provider relationship, and the reality of healthcare.
What was your ScribeAmerica training process like?
I started with the initial training modules provided to me, and then I had my interview and was given an offer. Then, I attended 5 virtual classes and took notes and studied before the final exam. I was paid my base wage every time I logged on to attend the classes or take the quizzes. The training process was convenient because you can choose between several different time slots for the classes and most of it can be done on your own time.
The last part of training is shadowing another scribe and then taking on more responsibilities while being observed for about five shifts on site. I felt prepared after the provided training and I was able to take off on my own shortly after training because everyone is so helpful and patient!
What advice would you give to future scribes?
Take a leap of faith and apply for a scribe position at ScribeAmerica! It is so worth it because you will get an intimate look at healthcare in a way that you can’t get from shadowing or volunteering in the hospital.
I recommend taking the training portion seriously and dedicating time to study because it will prepare you for working solo. You definitely don’t want to be underprepared because every bit of knowledge helps when it comes to charting accurately and quickly. People skills are also a must because as a scribe, you will need to communicate professionally with the attending physicians, residents and medical students, your manager, and even patients. This becomes easier with time, but you should be aware of what you’re getting into. Scribing can be difficult at times, but it’s rewarding, so don’t give up!
Any work-life balance tips and advice?
I was a full-time student while doing part-time scribe work, and sometimes I had trouble balancing my workload. But I found it helpful to go to the library in the day-time or morning before my shift to complete anything I had to get done before the next day. I also learned how to prioritize my health in the midst of stressful days and long shifts. This might involve making sure I eat before my shift and pack a lunch and snacks with me. I made sure to ask for a lunch break when it was convenient for the physician because if I’m not functioning at my best, then my charting won’t be its best either.
I also used a few coping strategies to deal with the psychological burden of seeing sick patients and unfortunate situations. Sometimes, the team and I would use comedy to cheer ourselves up, or I would talk to a friend about the situation to help me process it emotionally. Being in a hospital or an ER for long periods of time can be draining and stressful, so a scribe always needs to take care of themself outside of work before and after shifts.
To share your experience working with ScribeAmerica, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.