Sara Reed ’15 had a job in her field well before she graduated from Randolph. In fall 2014, the biology and dance double major entered the medical scribe program at Centra Lynchburg General Hospital. Now serving as Centra’s emergency department lead training scribe, Reed has since been joined by three other Randolph graduates: Joseph Uzdavinis ’17, Jessica Sidebottom ’17, and most recently, Dani Hill ’17.
Designed to make physicians more efficient in documentation, medical scribes work 10–hour shifts, four days a week, recording patient–physician interaction, exams, history, procedures, progress notes, dispositions, and more. Medical scribes also serve as facilitators between a physician and others in the department.
Reed is using the program as a means to network and gain experience for medical school and her long–term career goal of becoming a physician. She will start medical school at Lincoln Memorial University’s Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tennessee in the fall.
“I have spent over 6,000 hours in the emergency department seeing countless cases, procedures, and various approaches to medicine,” she said. “The learning experience has been tremendous. I feel like I’m getting paid to learn.”
Last October, Uzdavinis became the second Randolph graduate to enter the program. Like Reed, his lifelong dream is a career as a physician.
“My favorite part of the job is being able to work side by side with a physician,” he said. “Every shift I have the opportunity to learn about bedside manner, treatment strategies, procedure techniques, and a variety of different illnesses.”
Though he admitted there was a steep learning curve and that it can be difficult to acclimate to the fast–paced work environment, he felt prepared thanks to the rigorous coursework of his biology major and minors in chemistry and sport and exercise studies at Randolph.
“Taking classes in immunology, physiology, genetics, and cell biology all helped in understanding illnesses,” he said. “Specifically, in immunology we studied many different auto–immune disorders which we see every day in the emergency department.”
Sidebottom, who joined the program in January, said Randolph’s strong emphasis on both verbal and written communication skills has been key to her success.
“Randolph is a very writing-intensive school, and my job requires me to be a good writer,” Sidebottom said. “I need to make sure what I write is clear and well–worded so it doesn’t make it seem like a patient’s symptoms are more serious than they actually are. Randolph helped me learn how to make a story flow. My job requires me to write a story as to why the patient is here and to give others a clear, easy to follow story about them.”
This spring, Hill became the fourth Randolph graduate to join the program. Reed said the close–knit group stays in close contact with one another, since their shifts often overlap.
“I have been excited to see my alma mater have a larger representation in a program that provides such a unique and amazing opportunity,” she said.