Kettering University scribe program helped graduate, now in medical school, find her passion

Kettering University scribe program helped graduate, now in medical school, find her passion

Aug 14, 2014

“Hurley and the Scribe Program helped me solidify my passion for medicine and direct my specialty.”

Members of Kettering University's scribe program with Dr. Michael Roebuck from Hurley Medical Center.

Alexandria (Petit) Holzworth '12 began her post-secondary education at Michigan State University and that’s also where she is currently completing it. But in between, she had a transformational experience at Kettering University that has directed her medical education and career.

Alex Holzworth '12

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Holzworth began her undergraduate education in East Lansing, Michigan, as a freshman at MSU but that didn’t last long.  

“I just didn’t feel at home in the large class sizes and I started looking for a smaller school to go to where I could have close relationships with my professors,” Holzworth said.

Holzworth had a friend from Royal Oak High School whom she consulted with and from there started pursuing transferring to Kettering University.

“I wanted to be around other like-minded, driven people,” Holzworth said. “I met Dr. (Stacy) Seeley and a few students. I went home and told my mom that I didn’t think I could go anywhere else. It seemed like Kettering had everything I was looking for.”

The personal interaction with faculty and the investment that they make in the education of each student at Kettering is what attracted Holzworth to the school and it’s also what inspired her throughout her undergraduate education in Biochemistry and in the pre-med program.

“After about three weeks, I knew that I made the right decision,” Holzworth said. “The classes were high quality and I really enjoyed the environment. I liked how involved the students were at the University. The faculty and staff at Kettering really listened to us and that’s something that I always thought was important.”

The Scribe Program at Hurley Medical Center

Kettering is unique because of the co-op and experiential education model in which students rotate between education and work terms in order to complement the theoretical in the classroom with the practical in a professional setting. This works optimally for engineering and business students who can take advantage of decades of Kettering history with Fortune 500 companies, but for the budding life science program, co-op opportunities are still developing. Holzworth embraced this opportunity to help build a new program and completed her co-op in the Hurley Medical Center Scribe Program in 2012-13.

“The scribe program evolved from an uncertain place,” Holzworth said. “When we started, besides the training, we had no idea what they wanted us to do. It gave us the opportunity to shape the program as it grew.”

Medical scribes provide technical support and training for medical professionals using the Electronic Media Records (EMR) system. Their role is to enter the details of the patient encounter into the hospital’s records system, freeing up the physician’s time to focus on the patient. Their work is done on bedside computers and portable computers. The program is part of a government mandate that is requesting that all hospitals go digital with their records.

Before the scribe program launched in January 2012, Holzworth and her co-op team from Kettering committed themselves to learning the processes and systems at Hurley.

“For two months, all we did was shadow doctors and go to training sessions for the EMR,” Holzworth said. “By the time that we went live in March, we knew most of the physicians, how they did their jobs and how the hospital worked. I felt like we helped a lot during the process of going live because we knew the workflows of so many different areas in the hospital.”

On the day the program launched, Holzworth arrived at the hospital at 4 a.m. and put in a 70-hour week to manage the digital transition and the troubleshooting issues that arise with the addition of technology to the ER.

“Some of the doctors weren’t so happy sometimes. I think you have to look and see how much their lives were changing,” Holzworth said. “There were physicians that were practicing for 40 years and then they had to change how they do their job. They were just as nervous as we were.”

Holzworth and the hospital staff adjusted and adapted to the EMR and now the department is able to collect, aggregate and analyze data on patients for the purposes of treatment and research. The digital system provides a holistic and searchable perspective which is enhancing the diagnosis process at Hurley.

“It was a really unique opportunity because I really got to shape the future of the program,” Holzworth said. “It was awesome. It was great to be a part of the experience.”

Transitioning to Medical School

In the summer of 2012, Holzworth was sitting in class at Kettering when the dream she worked so hard to achieve finally came true – she got into medical school.

“That was the best feeling,” Holzworth said. “I was in class and I started crying when I got the email of my official acceptance into MSU.”

Holzworth completed her Biochemistry degree at Kettering in December 2012 and went back to Hurley to work full-time for the next seven months before starting medical school at Michigan State in August 2013. Even though it was her second stint in East Lansing, she was still intimidated by the size of the institution.

“When I went to Michigan State in the fall, it was pretty scary,” Holzworth said. “At Kettering we had 11 people in our classes, at MSU there were 100. I think the biggest shock was when we had to check into our exams with our student IDs. That’s not how it was at Kettering.”

Despite the new environment, Holzworth is confident in her abilities. Her co-op has provided her more practical experience than many of her colleagues in medical school and the vision to pursue ER medicine as a specialty. 

“It’s [medical school] intimidating because it is hard,” Holzworth said, “I didn’t know what to expect and it took a little bit to figure it out. The first two months were challenging, to say the least.”

Her co-op experience and the independence and the maturity that resulted from it also helped Holzworth get accepted into the Rural Community Health Program which will place her in Midland, Michigan, for the last two years of medical school to help her gain experience at community hospitals, like Hurley, that are involved and invested in small cities. At Hurley, Holzworth became fascinated by the dynamic and relationships of hospitals and their surrounding communities and that’s the area where she hopes to dedicate the rest of her professional life.

“I knew if I could come to Hurley every day and still love it, then I will enjoy medicine for the rest of my life,” Holzworth said. “Hurley and the Scribe Program helped me solidify my passion for medicine and direct my specialty.” 


Written By Pardeep Toor | Contact: Patrick Hayes - phayes@kettering.edu - (810) 762-9639