There has been a trend in the United States where medical assistants have developed a habit of encroaching on nurses scope of practice in primary care. Even though the practice is sometimes cost effective, it has led to fewer jobs for nurses despite their extensive training. There are many hospitals that have expanded the scope for medical assistants, and medical assistants are now providing medications and immunizations; tasks that were initially done by nurses (Sharp-Deale, 2016).
There have been arguments that there is a need to redistribute responsibilities in the healthcare sector to cater for the growing demand for primary care (Pedersen et al., 2017). It has been projected that there will not be enough clinicians to meet the increasing demand and that many primary care activities do not require a clinicians expertise. As a result, it has been deemed sensible to redistribute responsibilities to other members of the primary care team such as medical assistants (Bodenheimer et al., 2014). There are arguments that medical assistants can provide effective and flexible care if properly trained and when working under a physicians supervision (JUCM, 2017).
It is argued that professional boundaries within the healthcare sector have become malleable when it comes to service delivery (Flavin, 2015). Medical assistants are widely viewed in the healthcare sector as a potentially competing group given that they can perform a wide range of tasks. Questions have been raised whether it is legal for medical assistants to take up jobs that were originally designed for nurses. There have been suggestions that there is a need for new legislations within the healthcare sector, to create jurisdictional boundaries that would ensure that medical assistants do not encroach on nurses scope of practice (Drennan et al., 2017).
Bodenheimer, T., Willard-Grace, R., & Ghorob, A. (2014). Retrieved on July 12, 2017, from https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:XrupdnH_5AQJ:https://www.familymedicineteams.org/uploads/1/0/2/7/10277276/expanding_the_role_of_
Drennan, V. M., Gabe, J., Halter, M., de, L. S., & Levenson, R. (2017). Physician associates in primary health care in England: A challenge to professional boundaries?. Social Science & Medicine, 181, 16, 9-16.
Flavin, B. (2015). Medical Assistants vs. Licensed Practical Nurses: Diagnosing the Differences. Rasmussen College. Retrieved on July 12, 2017, from http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/health-sciences/blog/medical-assistant-vs-licensed-practical-nurses-telling-the-two-ap/
JUCM. (2017). Cost-Effective Staffing with Medical Assistants. Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. Retrieved on July 12, 2017, from http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zSvVM70SydAJ:www.jucm.com/cost-effective-staffing-medical-assistants/+&cd=26&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
Pedersen, P. V., Hjelmar, U., Hoybye, M. T., & Rod, M. H. (2017). Can inequality be tamed through boundary work? A qualitative study of health promotion aimed at reducing health inequalities. Social Science & Medicine, 185, 1-8.
Sharp-Deale, D. (2016). Duke Family Medicine Center expanding scope of practice of certified medical assistants. Duke Community & Family Medicine. Retrieved on July 12, 2017, from https://sites.duke.edu/blogcfm/2016/05/20/duke-family-medicine-center-expanding-scope-of-practice-of-certified-medical-assistants/
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