Throughout Alexandra Guillen’s life, she has had to painfully watch family members she loves battle a variety of different cancers from colon to breast cancer. Her curiosity behind the causes and different treatments of this horrific disease has led her to her passion—oncology medicine. During college, Alexandra had the opportunity to shadow oncologists in clinics and her passion continued to grow. She recently graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Biology and after speaking with a friend who currently works as a scribe at the University of Florida, she knew that being a scribe was her next venture while studying for the MCAT.
“I wanted to see the day-to-day workflow of medical practitioners in action. I thought it would be a great learning experience since I would like to practice medicine in the future,” Alexandra states.
Little did she know that becoming a scribe was not only truly beneficial for her future but the future of the physician she works with by reducing their burnout!
“I didn’t know how important a scribe is to a physician! From seeing 20 patients a day, extensive charting due to the complexities of the disease, the variety of the treatments and medications, and patient phone calls, it is very overwhelming. I never knew how much went into their jobs! The physicians are very appreciative of the work I do,” she says.
Q & A with Alexandra
Q: How long have you worked at Scrivas?
A: I have been working for Scrivas for about 8 months.
Q: What made you decide to work at Scrivas versus another scribe company?
A: At Scrivas, I received the opportunity to work in an oncology department, which interested me as I had previous experience volunteering in oncology clinics.
Q: How would you describe the culture at Scrivas?
A: I would describe the culture at Scrivas to be very welcoming and collaborative. I have found that all employees I have met are very friendly and hardworking. My coworkers in radiation oncology are all willing to help each other.
Q: Tell me about your experience when it comes to the Scrivas didactic, quality assurance trainings, annual trainings, and so on.
A: When it came to all of the training I needed to become a scribe, I was very familiar with most of the topics due to majoring in biology in university. I believe that being a scribe is more hands-on since every physician has specific aspects they would like to include in a note.
Q: How is Scrivas with regards to your school schedule and changes in your schedule?
A: I believe Scrivas is great when accommodating changes in a scribe’s schedule. We all try our best to help each other out when a change in each other’s schedules occurs.
Q: What oncology sub-specialty do you scribe for?
A: I scribe for physicians in the radiation oncology department at a well-known cancer institute.
Q: What EHR system do you use?
A: The EMR system we use is Aria and our department has recently started utilizing Cerner.
Q: What are your thoughts on having to learn two EHR systems?
A: I believe the opportunity to learn multiple EMR systems is beneficial in my future career as a physician.
Q: Please describe a “typical” day on the job.
A: On a typical day on the job, I would start by creating a list of all the patients that my physician and I would see. I start to prep notes with an emailed patient list, and review prior notes to compare symptoms that are discussed during today’s visit. During the patient encounter, I make sure to listen carefully and note what the patient reports in the ROS (review of systems). I also note the physical examination portion of the visit. Afterwards, I will discuss the note with the physician assistant. I do a final check of every note, making sure all components are included, such as vitals, medications, social history, and so on. Once I sign off on a note, I will highlight the patient in my list to make sure notes aren’t missed due to a busy physician’s schedule.
Q: What is the most exciting aspect of working as a medical scribe?
A: The most exciting aspect about working as a medical scribe is learning how to document like an actual physician. There is so much terminology that I have learned working in radiation oncology that I had not known previously. I also enjoy seeing the process throughout a patient’s radiation oncology journey and being there to see them finally complete treatment. It is all very rewarding.
Q: What is the hardest aspect of working as a medical scribe?
A: I believe the hardest aspect of working as a medical scribe is keeping up with a physician’s busy schedule. But what motivates me to continue working as a scribe is how fulfilling the job is. It feels great to know that my work will help relieve the stress-load of a physician, who in turn is working to help improve patients’ lives.
Q: What advice would you give someone that is interested in the medical field?
A: I would advise someone who is interested in the medical field to become a scribe so that you can observe a physician’s workload to determine if it is the right career for them.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?
A: My hobbies that I enjoy outside of work are collecting pins.
Q: When did you start collecting pins?
A: I started collecting pins right after college when COVID-19 started. I have over 100 now with a lot of them displayed on cork boards and even on my hospital badge. I have gotten a number of compliments on the ones on my badge!
“Becoming a Scrivas scribe has not only been fulfilling, but a great learning environment.”
– Alexandra Guillen
Written by: Nicole Bramblett, MHA