Alumni Spotlight: Teddy Harper

Meet one of ScribeConnect’s very first group of scribe alumni who is now finishing med school. Teddy Harper shares with us great lessons he learned as a scribe, what he would do differently if had med school to do over again, and other great insights about teamwork, resiliency, and never giving up.

SC: Where have you been going to medical school?

Teddy Harper: I attend Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and I am currently a fourth year medical student.

SC: What are your plans next?

Teddy Harper:: I plan to go into Emergency Medicine thanks to Scribe Connect for influencing in my decision. Unfortunately, I have no control over where I will attend residency.  My fate is controlled by a computer algorithm, a.k.a. “The Match,” which I will find out in two weeks from now. My long-term goal is to go into academic medicine where I plan to return to Atlanta, Georgia (my home) and retire teaching medicine.

SC: What do you remember most about scribing, favorite moments or hardest aspects?

Teddy Harper:: What I remember most about scribing is my interview. I remember Erich asking me to type the prompt on the screen and, apparently, the computer recorded the words per minute. I thought this was kind of challenging having to perform under pressure. However, thanks to my keyboarding class in high school, I performed well.

My favorite moment as a scribe would be my first time seeing an intubation by Dr. Engdahl.  I was so fascinated and intrigued by him taking over the patient’s airway. He must have seen the eagerness in my eyes, so he immediately explained the anatomical orientation of the patient’s airway, the preparation that must take place, and the different types of medication that can be used.  I really enjoyed his teaching style and how he always encouraged me to ask questions when there was something I did not know. I knew from that very moment I wanted to go into Emergency Medicine.

The hardest thing about scribing was learning different physicians’ personalities and preferences when documenting patient medical records.

SC: What is a lesson you learned as a medical scribe that has been especially, or surprisingly, valuable to you? Is there anything you think about or refer to often?

Teddy Harper:: As a medical scribe, I learned the important lesson of teamwork. I learned that, in the professional world, one must act as a member of a team and not as an individual. There have been numerous situations in medical school where I have had to keep the team’s best interest at heart. Also, surprisingly from my scribing experience, I remember different medications, medical decision making, medical coding, and even EKGs.

SC: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started med school?

Teddy Harper:: If I were to do it again, I would make more time for friends and family and not let med school consume my life. I would have kept a well-balanced lifestyle and continued to do the things that were of interest instead of being so gung-ho about medical school.

SC: What would you tell someone in the application process, or considering whether to apply, re-apply or wait?

Teddy Harper:: Coming from a non-traditional student at the age of 31, I would tell anyone pursuing this journey to never give up. This journey has been one big test of my faith and resiliency. One of the things that I had to push through was the loss of my father one week before medical school. There were many other obstacles as well that I had to persevere through. Therefore, I would tell anyone that this is one long journey – never waiver from your pursuit of happiness.

SC: What do you think are the most important factors in successfully surviving med school?

T: Perseverance: You must never give up. Resiliency: You must not boast too much in receiving good news and you must not bask in pity of your shortcomings. Faith:  Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of the things not seen.

SC: Anything else you want to share with us?

Teddy Harper:: ScribeConnect is one of the most influential experiences I had as a pre-medical student. I am forever grateful for that experience and working with everyone. At the end of working for ScribeConnect, I truly consider everyone family.

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