NORFOLK, VA – In her few years as a medical scribe, Kacey Agnarsson has observed how health care is getting more specialized with each passing minute. Inspired, Agnarsson has decided to leave her post working alongside ER personnel to pursue a two-year fellowship to subspecialize in the documentation of verbs.
“I love verbs,” said Agnarsson, who wears a shirt that says I Love Verbs. “But take a look at a doctor’s history and physical document and what is mostly? Nouns. Stupid annoying nouns. What are symptoms? Nouns. Signs? More nouns.” She sighs a sigh of frustration. “But the history of present illness and the assessment and plan, that’s where verbs can shine.”
A recent review article in the New England Journal of Scribes noted a dramatic rise in the increase of medical scribes in Western medicine. But to differentiate their skill sets in an increasingly competitive field, it was natural for scribes to subspecialize. “I view scribes as the internists of word documentation,” Agnarsson explains. “I want to be the cardiologist of word documentation; that’s Verbs.”
“Two years ago, I could rely on one scribe to help document a patient encounter,” said Taryn Evans, an emergency medicine physician who has worked with Agnarsson. “But last week to document a history, I had to consult a Noun specialist, Verbs, and Prepositions. I had to call the Pronoun specialist when Nouns didn’t feel comfortable writing a patient’s name. Then I called Adjectives who said that was an Adverbs question. And forget the Adverbs consultant; he never calls back. Of course, none wanted to be primary, so I called the General Scribe to transcribe.”
Scribes like Agnarsson envisions a world of transcription that parallels the current state of American medicine and that day might be closer than we think. “I look forward to the day when I work with other subspecialists and over the period of days and weeks put together a really solid sentence, maybe even a paragraph. Sure, I may not understand what the sentence as a whole says, but what does that matter?”