A Medical Assistant (MA) is a healthcare worker that doesn’t need a license to work in the healthcare facility.
MA performs technical supportive, clerical, administrative, and non-invasive tasks in an outpatient medical setting.
The supervision of the clinician, such as a licensed physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or nurse-midwife is required.
In healthcare, supervision is understood when there is a licensed clinician available for the unlicensed staff during the procedure.
MA doesn’t have a license, so anyone with an advanced degree and clinical competency can act as a supervising clinician.
Supervision in healthcare settings differs from oversight and task delegation.
The Medical Board of the state takes care of classifying and overseeing the role of the MA.
The Medical Board creates the Medical Practice Act, and the Act strictly defines the training and role of the MA.
According to the California Medical board, there are two ways for MAs to gain training.
One is to work with physician/podiatrist or with other qualified medical staff, but under physician/podiatrist supervision.
The second way is to complete a formal educational program that meets the Board’s defined criteria.
In some states, there isn’t formally recognized Scope of Practice for unlicensed medical staff.
Supervising physician writes and defines job duties and expectations for medical assistant.
It is more scope of employment than practice.
The American Association of Medical Assistants has descriptions of Medical Assistant practices in all states, including major questions and issues.
For example, in Idaho, a medical assistant can get delegated the task of intramuscular injections.
Of course, a medical assistant must be trained and prove its competency, and the physician must verify the patient-specific order, dose, and route to medication administration.
The state’s Board of Nursing and the Nurse Practice Act authorize nurses to delegate tasks and oversee medical assistants.
Nurses are also allowed to evaluate the competency of staff to make sure that unlicensed staff can safely perform any task.
The physician or podiatrists writes permission and they can grant register nurse the ability to delegate technical tasks and simple medical procedures to medical assistants.
Nurses are allowed to delegate and evaluate competency, but they should be familiar with exact terms in which the allowance is provided.
Each state’s Board of Nursing and Medical Board determines specific requirements for delegation to the unlicensed staff.