Erin Ng and Dr. Passloff pose in front of a check-up table.

CCPA Summer Series 2022: The Everett Clinic

By Erin Ng ’24

Funding Source: Primary Care Internship Fund

Hi everyone! My name is Erin Ng, and I am a junior majoring in neuroscience and minoring in psychology. This summer, I worked as a scribe for Dr. Ellen Passloff, a pediatrician in Shoreline, Washington. This opportunity has allowed me to observe primary care firsthand while also helping out a doctor! 

I have had the privilege of shadowing Dr. Passloff before, and I jumped at the opportunity to learn from her in a different form. As someone who is interested in going into primary care, specifically as a pediatrician, being able to learn from someone in the field who is passionate and loves her job has been incredible. Scribing has allowed me to observe primary care in a fun and engaging way while helping Dr. Passloff provide more efficient patient care. It was incredibly exciting to be able to take a step up from shadowing to working and assisting. 

My day began as soon as Dr. Passloff arrived. We began by looking over the schedule for the day while Dr. Passloff explained what each patient was in for, and any interesting anecdote she had of the patient. After that, the day was a nonstop whirl of activity. We typically saw 20 patients a day, allowing me to learn about a variety of visits. Throughout the summer, I was able to observe well child checks, sports physicals, appointments for ear pain, warts, hives, and respiratory infections. I would enter the room with Dr. Passloff for each patient and begin taking the patient history. In well child checks I would learn about the patient’s everyday life, while in appointments for specific problems, I would learn about the history of the chief complaint. In addition to taking the patient’s history, I would document the physical exam. Dr. Passloff would dictate her findings, and as the summer went on, I had a clear understanding of what should be documented, and how to document it. As an appointment wrapped up, I would help enter orders for any medications or referrals needed and would curate patient education materials to send home with the patient and their family. This included directions for curing warts with home remedies or information about what asthma is as a condition and how to manage it. As soon as we wrapped up an appointment, it was off to see another patient.

A key takeaway I observed from this summer is the continuity of primary care. Throughout the summer I began to see patient families multiple times. I was able to see the progression and development of infants and their parents from their two-month checkup to their four-month checkup. I was able to see patients come back for more help if they were still struggling with a cough. It was exciting to see families again and get to know them better, and to start building a relationship. This continuity in care drew me to primary care and is something I know I want to experience in the future. 

Spending the whole summer scribing was incredible because the number of families I saw allowed me to observe differences between them. I was able to see different parenting styles and how Dr. Passloff would adjust to serve each family in the best way possible. Additionally, working with Dr. Passloff for the entire summer allowed me to dive deeper into the work because once I became more familiar with my duties as a scribe I had the opportunity to learn more about different conditions and treatments. One day, I saw three four-year-old well child visits back-to-back, which allowed me to observe developmental differences between them, giving me a unique perspective that I would have missed out on without this internship. My hands-on work as a scribe has taught me many nuances of pediatrics, from the importance of tailoring your care to the connections physicians make with their patients. 

I was also able to see the many different roles in a primary care clinic and how they all intertwined to provide the best care possible. I learned how medical assistants worked primarily with the physicians by setting up the rooms, taking patients’ vitals, and administering shots, all while nurses primarily took patient calls and questions, and sometimes had their own nurse appointments. Medicine is a team effort and requires everyone to work together to care for the patient. I also saw the challenges of the delivery of healthcare. Some families showed up late to their appointments, affecting every appointment after them. I saw the struggles of providing accessible care. For example, some families had trouble with their insurance and were unable to get certain medications or procedures due to cost. 

My experience this summer has fueled my interest in medicine and primary care. I am grateful for the Primary Care Internship fund and to Dr. Passloff for giving me an amazing opportunity to explore the field I am interested in. Seeing how much Dr. Passloff loves her job and cares for her patients makes me excited to pursue medicine. I have learned so much— from medical spelling to how to interact with patient families— and I am excited to take what I’ve learned into my future.