Supervision of the Medical Assistant
All doctors and licensed healthcare professionals have an ethical obligation to provide competent patient care.
Whether full-time, or part-time, their practices are actually run as a small business, and medical assistants under
their employ must be properly trained, and responsively supervised at the workplace.
Who is in Charge of the Medical Assistant?
With the absence of licensing and mandatory certification requirements for medical assistants in nearly all
states of the USA (with few exceptions) it is usually the doctor under whose employ the medical assistant
works who is in charge of their job related activities. A medical assistant can also work under the supervision of
other licensed healthcare practitioners, such as a podiatrist, ophthalmologist, licensed nurse practitioner, or a
physicians assistant (PA).
Proper Training and Supervision of Medical Assistants
Medical assistants must be asked to practice only methods and procedures that are commonly accepted in their
profession and in which they were instructed, trained and diligently supervised. When a registered nurse (RN),
employed by a doctor, delegates a task to a medical assistant then the nurse becomes the supervisor of that task,
while the doctor is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the medical assistant's actions. With so much at
stake the vast majority of doctors seek experienced medical assistants when they hire staff for their practice,
which is ultimately their livelihood. It comes at no surprise that in addition they often prefer an individual that
is certified by a nationally recognized certification body, as this gives them some sort of quality assurance and
peace of mind.
Higher Standards for Medical Assistants with Special Training
Medical assistants who are certified usually have undergone in-depth training in specialized fields,
or in highly technical procedures and therefore, are expected to perform at a higher standard of care
than those without such special knowledge and training. Medical assistants who disregard established
professional standards and attempt to perform procedures or tasks beyond their training, capabilities, or lawful
scope of practice are in danger of exposing themselves, the patients, their supervisors and employers to serious
consequences and liability issues.
More on Medical Assistant's Scope of Practice.