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Hiring a Medical Student to help with practice ok?

            January 27, 2015
 
Question:

Jennifer,

I would like to hire a medical student for my practice, is that ok?

Thanks, 
Dr. G

Answer:

Yes, of course, depending on what job responsibilities you are tasking the medical student with.  A medical student is an unlicensed person and someone who is not authorized to provide "medical services".  So long as the medical student is limited in their participation, no patient touching, no unauthorized patient interaction, no unauthorized chart access, prescription involvement, etc. their assistance at the practice is ok.  The AMA discusses this issue as well in an Ethics Opinion, mainly discussing patient consent, see below - 

Opinion 8.087 - Medical Student Involvement in Patient Care

(1) Patients and the public benefit from the integrated care that is provided by health care teams that include medical students. Patients should be informed of the identity and training status of individuals involved in their care and all health care professionals share the responsibility for properly identifying themselves. Students and their supervisors should refrain from using terms that may be confusing when describing the training status of students.

(2) Patients are free to choose from whom they receive treatment. When medical students are involved in the care of patients, health care professionals should relate the benefits of medical student participation to patients and should ensure that they are willing to permit such participation. Generally, attending physicians are best suited to fulfill this responsibility.

(3) In instances where the patient will be temporarily incapacitated (eg, anesthetized) and where student involvement is anticipated, involvement should be discussed before the procedure is undertaken whenever possible. Similarly, in instances where a patient may not have the capacity to make decisions, student involvement should be discussed with the surrogate decision-maker involved in the care of the patient whenever possible. (V, VII)

Issued June 2001 based on the report "Medical Student Involvement in Patient Care,"PDF FIle adopted December 2000 (J Clin Ethics. 2001;12:111-15).

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