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Here’s What I Learned While Scribing at a Family Practice

If you are new to being a scribe and don’t have any experience in the field, family practice is a great place to start. In the past few months, I have been training new scribes at family practice clinics throughout the Pacific Northwest and have seen just how great these clinics are for newer scribes. 

The pacing and overall mood of a family practice clinic are much more relaxed than that of a specialist clinic, and it is a great place to learn the ins and outs of scribing before moving on to another assignment. 

Family practice clinics deal with more routine care and monitoring of chronic diseases. Instead of patients coming in with acute complaints like they would at urgent care, family practice visits are often routine check-ups where doctors order labs and manage chronic illnesses. This type of work can be very rewarding because you often develop relationships with the physician’s regular patients. 

When working in a family practice clinic, you will see patients from all walks of life and will be a part of a healthcare team directly geared towards community healthcare and management.

Family Medicine is About Building Relationships

By far, the best part about working in family practice is the relationship you create with the patients and with the patient care team. When working in the other specialties, the focus of the visit is often on the complaint, and there is little interaction with the patient within the short appointment slot. 

However, in family practice, the physician’s job is to create a rich rapport with their patients and to learn about their lives. Therefore, visits can last an hour because the physician has conversations with their patients about their various complaints and what their future will look like. 

There is no other specialty within medicine where there is such a focus on the patient, including their physical and mental state. Because of this, it is extremely rewarding to work in family medicine. 

A Different Style of Care

The field of family medicine is also one of the only focusing on preventative medicine. Many other specialties will treat patients once they have an underlying condition or show symptoms of a condition. By contrast, the majority of testing performed by family medicine physicians is preventative in nature. 

As you may know, the job of a family practice physician is to monitor the health of their patients throughout their entire lives. A huge component of this is making sure that they remain in good health and are not developing any concerning diseases as they age. Therefore, working as a  family medicine scribe allows you to learn about various diagnostic imaging and testing procedures. 

When working in family medicine, I ordered a large number of lab tests for almost every patient we saw, and I learned how to read each one and decipher what an abnormal test result meant. In conjunction, I ordered more imaging in family practice than in any other specialty besides orthopedics. I also learned from my physician how to read them and how to decipher what the radiology read meant. 

Family Medicine Has it All

In conclusion, while working in family medicine may be slower-paced and have less variety of cases, you develop an unparalleled relationship with the patient population and with your physician. Working in this specialty also teaches you more about labs, imaging, and how to read diagnostic testing than any other specialty I have encountered within medicine so far.

Jordan, Training Consultant


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