In most jobs, the employer or supervisor sets the parameters and provides oversight. This is true for physician assistants, too, but their licensure depends on them following the national and state licensure requirements as well as the duties that their supervising physician assigns them.
If a supervising physician instructs a PA to work outside the scope of the license, it could lead to trouble.
The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that the Pennsylvania State Medical Board must approve a written agreement between the PA and the supervising physician. This document should include the procedures that the PA can perform, so the physician should know not to request that the PA take on unauthorized duties.
If the supervising physician delegates the prescribing to the PA, he or she can prescribe medications, medical devices and controlled substances in Schedules II-V. Prescribing outside of these parameters or without the supervising physician’s authorization, the PA could put his or her license in danger.
Scope of practice
The state regulations, the written agreement and the PA’s skills, training and experience create the determination for the scope of practice.
In a situation where there are more patients or fewer staff members than usual and the clinic or facility is hectic, it might be easy to take on extra duties with the intention of helping the physician manage the workflow. When it comes to protecting someone else’s license over their own, doctors are more likely to pass the blame down the line. PAs fighting for their license may have to reveal unethical behavior by the supervising physician.