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Medical Assisting
May 2003

Q. Can a physician allow a student of a medical assisting school (not a medical school for doctors) to examine a patient during the student's internship at the physician's clinic? If so, does the physician have to examine the patient again?

A. It is fairly common to find someone who is "in training" working in a medical office or clinic. They are always considered to be under supervision by a doctor or other professional who has agreed to do so. Categories of trainees you may encounter would include medical assistants, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and others.

The supervision aspect usually would be dictated by state laws regarding the particular profession, and is also influenced by the degree of training, education, or experience the trainee has had. For example, a trainee may put a patient in an exam room, take a brief history of the illness, measure blood pressure and temperature which would not require a doctor's presence.

More technical procedures such as drawing blood or giving an injection would likely be directly supervised. You should talk to your doctor regarding any specific concerns in this area.



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