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Scribe Spotlight: Matthew Botero

The scribing profession is a diverse community of passionate care team members. From students to career scribes, there is a wealth of opportunities and experiences for those working as medical scribes. ScribeAmerica is proud to highlight some of our top scribes to learn more about what motivates them, how they got into the profession, and what the future might hold. Team member Cat McAlpine sat down with Chief Scribe Matthew Botero to discuss his work in Alaska.

Cat McAlpine: Hello! Thanks for joining me today. Could you introduce yourself and your role?

Matthew Botero: Hello! Sure, I’m Matthew Botero. I started working at the Alaska Regional Emergency Department as a scribe in December 2019 right before COVID started, and then I became Chief Scribe a little over a year ago. 

CM: What does a day-in-the-life typically look like for you?

MB: A typical day of work for me is showing up 15 minutes early, getting ready, and being excited to go and help doctors save lives. It’s a really fun job. It’s very fast-paced you see a lot of patients, and you get to see a lot of great things. Every day for me is something new. It’s never boring, for sure.

CM: What got you into scribing?

MB: I knew I was interested in the medical field when I went into undergraduate. I was thinking about becoming a doctor, but I didn’t have any experience with the job. I was pretty naive – I didn’t know what I was getting into. Looking over the medical school application and seeing what kind of requirements are needed, I saw that clinical hours are certainly very important and I had no clinical experience up to that point. When I looked up clinical jobs for pre-meds, ScribeAmerica was hiring.

CM: And where did you go to undergrad?

MB: I went to UAA, The University of Anchorage Alaska, which is very convenient because the hospital is right by the college. I was able to go right after class and do my shift and then go do homework. It’s certainly an excellent experience that I’d recommend for any college student. I have no regrets. Working for ScribeAmerica is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

CM: That’s awesome! Are you still planning on going into the medical field?

MB: I just got accepted to medical school in February.

CM: Congratulations!

MB: Thank you! It was my second time applying. I first applied in 2021 and when I didn’t get in, I decided to take a gap year and gain some additional experience. That’s when I became a Chief Scribe. One of the things that medical schools look for is leadership experience. ScribeAmerica has certainly helped by being on my application.  I’ll be starting medical school this July. I’m excited but also sad to be leaving all my colleagues. They’re my second family.

CM: Do you feel like working as a scribe has prepared you for medical school?

MB: Yeah, the doctors all say that medical school will be a lot easier if you’ve worked as a scribe first. Once you start charting in medical school, you already have a head start. I mean I’ve been doing it for four years now.

One of my favorite parts of the job is when you start understanding doctors’ decision-making process. It’s been a fantastic learning experience. It will prepare anybody for medical school.

CM: You’re not the first person to say that the puzzle element is your favorite part of the job.

MB: It’s a big part of the job. Most of the patients you see in the emergency department are going to go home and be fine, but you do frequently see serious and complex cases. That’s when you can learn a lot. But there are other great parts of the job. I appreciate all the comradery that we have. All the scribes, we treat each other like family. Our doctors, too. They include us in get-togethers outside of work and things like that. It’s just a great work environment overall. So yeah, one of my favorite parts of the job is also all the friends I’ve made along the way.

CM: As a chief scribe, you lead your team of other scribes. Do you have a mindset or a goal when you’re leading your team? What’s your leadership style?

MB: This was my first leadership position outside of activities in my undergraduate. You have to do what’s best for the team and for the individuals on it. I appreciate the growth that the position has allowed me to do.I try to be someone that the team can look up to and someone that they’re not afraid to come out to if they have any issues. I want them to feel supported by their boss. We’re all here to help each other.

CM: Surely you get new team members on your team who are in the shoes you were in four or five years ago. What kind of advice do you give to people who are just starting or thinking about becoming scribes?

MB: One of the first things I tell people is to just stick with it. Commit to it and don’t be scared or give up. The training process is a steep learning curve. I remember it wasn’t until around month six that I finally was able to relax. And it’s 100% worth it. You just don’t get better learning opportunities out there to prepare you for medical school. I think it’s the perfect job for any pre-med. I dedicate a lot of energy to motivating and supporting new scribes because I know how rewarding the job is once you get past that learning curve.

CM: I understand why you were nominated for a Scribe Spotlight. You’ve got a great perspective on the role. Tell me a little bit more about yourself. What do you like to do outside of work?

MB: I enjoy a lot of outdoor things – just getting out in the sun. I’m usually skiing in the winter and playing frisbee golfing in the summer. I don’t have many other extracurriculars right now. I’ve just been working full-time.

CM: Well you’ve been working hard getting into medical school – and it paid off.

MB: Yeah, and honestly, I didn’t have the desire to fill my time doing anything else besides scribing. It doesn’t feel like a full-time job. It feels more like a hobby, because I enjoy it so much.

We followed up with Matthew as he prepares to enter medical school, and he added “I will forever be grateful for the amazing experience I had working as a scribe.” Congratulations Matthew! Thank you for all of your hard work.

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