What is an ER Scribe?

As I mention in the about page, I have the privilege of being an ER Scribe. However, many people are unfamiliar with what an ER Scribe does. Here is a brief overview:

An ER Scribe is a specialized transcriptionist that works in the Emergency Room (ER) of hospitals. Scribes follow ER doctors as they see patients and record all the charting notes for that patient’s visit. Some Scribes write notes by hand, but it is becoming more and more common for hospitals to use electronic charts, so most of the scribing involves typing and clicking. ER Scribes are in the unique position to not only work in the hospital environment, but also observe and work directly with physicians as they practice medicine.

Is being an ER Scribe for me?
The first response to that question is, where do you live? ER Scribe programs are becoming more common, but are still rare across the United States. According to Wikipedia, only ten states have hospitals that offer ER Scribe programs. Most of the hospitals are in California.
Most Scribes are pre med students looking for some medical experience. The pay isn’t great ($8-$11 per hour), the hours are horrible, but trust me, the it’s all worth it. No amount of shadowing will replace the medical experience you get while an ER Scribe.

How do I become an ER Scribe?
Ask your pre med adviser if there are any Scribe programs, or similar jobs in the area. Otherwise, do some research yourself on the internet, checking that Wikipedia link above. That link may not be comprehensive however, so it may be helpful to research the hospitals in your area further. If you don’t have a program in the area, you could always move to an area that does have one, or who knows, maybe you could spur the development of a Scribe program at a local hospital just by asking. Give it a shot!

Let me know if you have any more questions about the job. I’ll be updating my experiences as a Scribe fairly often. From what you know already, do you think being an ER Scribe is something you’d like to do?

Read about my first day as an ER Scribe.

Click here for a great article about the position.

11 thoughts on “What is an ER Scribe?”

  1. Hello there! Just wanted to ask you if there were specific classes or programs you had to take to qualify as an ER scribe? Also what is a salary of an ER scribe? Hope to hear from you soon.


  2. Hello, yes I had the same questions as Mona, can you please also give me an update on the locations in Pennsylvania?

  3. First of all, great article. I’m a scribe myself and this was a clear introduction to the position. Mona and Toma – scribe programs prefer to hear that you somehow plan to be involved in the medical field. Most are pre-med, pre-PA, etc. I’m a nuclear medicine tech that became a scribe while working on my B.S. – there are no specific classes you must have under your belt in order to become a scribe as long as you are seriously considering/actively pursuing a career in the medical realm. If that’s the case, your transcript would show it anyway. In terms of money, the writer’s description is accurate in my experience. If you’re looking for locations, you can find them here: http://www.emscribesystems.com/ – click this link and then the “Locations” tab toward the top right. This is an amazing job to have if you are pursuing a medical career in some capacity, and it is an especially good job if you are a student – the irregular hours and low minimum work requirements (8 shifts per month for us, though I pick up more) allow me to better negotiate both paths – your usual 9-5 job tends to kick everything else out. Hope this has helped and again, great article.

  4. I know of a company that hires scribes in NJ, NY state, Rhode Island, and North Carolina. It’s called Emergency Medical Associates. My sister worked as a scribe for this company and it really helped her to get into medical school. She really enjoyed the exposure she got to patients and the emergency room environment. Since it is in an emergency room, you can expect to work odd hours but the pay is pretty good and there are benefits for full-time employees. The website is http://www.ema.net/cims.

  5. I just want to agree with Jessica. I work for EMA and it’s a great company. They are by far one of the better companies to work for if you want to be a scribe. I interviewed and was offered a position at a few other scribe jobs so I know what I’m talking about. The pay is pretty decent and they offer health and dental which is far better than most other places.

    I know where I work there was no scribe course to take to get the job. It may help to know a lot of medical terminology or have prior clinical experience.

    Scribing is an awesome job and you really learn a lot. It’s not for the the faint of heart though because I work all day, and I mean WORK with barely enough time to eat a meal. If you’re a pre-med I highly consider looking into it.

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