Scribes in the ED

Movin’ Meat asks for input about scribes in the ED. Since I’ve had the benefit of scribes for every shift the last 4 years, I have some information and perspective to share.

Frankly I love our scribes, and there are a number of benefits for the docs:

  • legible charts done contemporaneously during the visit (and finished with the encounter)
  • orders ready to go when we walk out of the room (requires familiarity with style)
  • smart young people who are motivated and want to learn
  • another set of eyes and hands getting labs, xray /CT’s / sonos on the chart (the right chart)
  • smart ‘gofer’ for phone calls, etc
  • Can push you to see another patient (good, though you might think otherwise)
  • can slow you down if you let them (requires some people management)
  • did I say legible charts? Bonus!
  • Quicker transition between new patients

I should say a word about the scribes: they’re the hotrods from several of the local Universities, usually the pre-med types, and handpicked by the Doc who runs the program. Though I have no actual knowledge of the procedure, he’s got it down, as very few drop out or unsuitable for the job. They don’t come for the pay, they come to see if medicine is something they want to do, and for a modest paycheck.

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