The Scribe Effect: the Impact of a Pre-matriculation Experience on Subsequent Medical School Education

Robert Waller, Ndifreke Ekpa, Lawrence Kass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Medical scribes have been utilized since the 1970s but have been in ever-increasing demand over the past 25 years. The reasons for this growth have been well documented, with positive impacts on provider well-being, patient satisfaction, clinical efficiency, and revenue generation. Many aspiring healthcare providers become medical scribes during or immediately after college, believing it will provide them with helpful experience and increase their chances of gaining entrance into medical education. However, little data exists to justify those beliefs. Through written surveys and semi-structured interviews, we found that scribes feel that their experience shaped their futures in medicine in two broad themes, specifically confirming their commitment to medicine (with subthemes of specialty choice, establishing mentorship, and exposure to difficult topics) and the essential skills of a physician (with subthemes of communication, professionalism, history and physical, terminology and jargon, and clinical reasoning). Understanding the impact of a scribe experience may provide medical school admissions personnel a more thorough sense of the scribe’s strengths and likelihood of success in training, and should generate testable hypotheses for further studies into the learning processes of medical scribes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1983-1989
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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