This month we will feature several of our Certified Trainer Scribes (CTS) and discuss their experience as traveling scribes who help set up programs at our newest sites across the country. We’ve asked each of them to give us their perspective on what its like to be a PhysAssist CTS.
Today’s post features Farhan Sahawneh, one our CTSs who is originally from Dallas and is currently serving as a CTS in Alabama. He has previously worked as a PhysAssist CTS in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
Why did you become a CTS?
I decided to become a CTS because I was drawn to the challenge of participating and potentially leading the establishment of pioneer scribe teams in various emergency rooms across the country. Unlike being a trainer on your home team, as a CTS, you don't just train new scribes. As a CTS working on a new implementation, you are just as new to that specific work environment as a brand new trainee. You are often tasked with learning various new software systems and EMRs, are meeting different doctors who practice medicine with different styles, and are working in different hospitals with different philosophies. I knew that if I was to one day become a successful PA, I needed to develop my abilities to adapt to new environments by working closely with a vast spectrum of personality types.
What has been the best thing about becoming a CTS?
The best part about being a CTS is traveling to different cities and exploring the special things that each location has to offer. Just in the last month I have been to four different states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida). It has opened my eyes to the dynamic cultural differences in different parts of the United States.
In the hospital, the best part about the job is knowing that you are highly valued and respected both by new scribes and by the doctors who rely on you to demonstrate the value of using a scribe. Watching your hard work materialize and improve the productivity of scribes and the overall efficiency of the ER can be very rewarding. In my experience, I witnessed how training scribes to admit and discharge patients allowed the doctors to see more patients. The presence of scribes also improved the general mood of the ER.
What has been the biggest surprise about being a CTS?
The biggest surprise has been to see the stark differences between each new project. If you are an individual who has not already traveled to multiple places all over the country, then you will share the same shock I had about how demographically different the United States is, depending on where you are. With these cultural differences come variations in the way you should engage with others and carry yourself.
Have you experienced changes in your role as a CTS now that ICD-10 has gone live?
Not very much. This will depend on whether the doctors wish for their scribes to put in diagnoses themselves. Doctors who enter their own diagnoses in the charts will have to bear most of the changes in the higher specificity of diagnoses that comes with ICD-10.
What is the most important skill you have learned in your experience as a CTS?
I have learned how to be more adaptable to new environments and personality types. Being exposed to the different ways that ERs operate increases the confidence you have in yourself to be able to tackle new challenges. It has also prepared me for a future career in a hospital in whichever capacity of the healthcare industry I decide to pursue.
Has being in new places and experiencing new environments as a CTS been a fun part of the job?
Absolutely. Even if you are located in a town where there is not much going on, the chances are high that you are within driving distance of a highly entertaining location. During my time in Mobile, Alabama, I was able to explore amazing parts of that city as well as make short day trips to New Orleans and to several beaches in Florida.
If you could CTS anywhere, where would it be and why?
Boston. I have always wanted to go to that city. I love that it is a college town that is filled with some of the top universities in the country. I would imagine that I would learn so much from the people there and make memories that will last a lifetime.
What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming a CTS?
You must have a strong personality and be able to command someone's attention and respect who may be more skilled or more qualified than you. You must be a self-starter and be analytical. You must be detail oriented. You must be able to provide personalized training for individual scribes. You have to be a teacher and be approachable, patient, encouraging, and constructive in your criticism.
You must be constantly looking for ways to improve systems and the overall productivity of scribes from a global perspective. You must be attentive to the needs of both scribes and doctors – listening closely to the desires of physicians and what they want out of their scribes. You have to be able to discern if the requests of the physicians are something that can be achieved by PhysAssist scribes.
Finally, you must maintain a high standard of quality and professionalism. You always have to remember that you are the face of PhysAssist.
What is your ultimate goal and do you think that being a CTS will help you get there?
I believe that the experience I have gained in my role as a CTS will improve my chances of getting into PA school. However, something that helps you get into your desired school only helps you once. The skills I have gained, and will continue to gain by being a CTS, will make me a better PA one day. And that will be much more valuable in the long run.
Interested in joining our team of CTSs? We are always looking for good candidates. Click here to learn more.