Jerry McCall has training as a medical assistant and a LPN. He is covering the phones for the receptionist that went out for lunch that day. A patient calls to refill their prescription of Valium, saying that Dr. Williams is a personal friend. He also mentioned that Dr. Williams always gives him a small supply when he travels. In this paper, the role of an LPN and a medical assistant will be expressed as well as the consequences of the healthcare professional if anything was to happen to the patient. Different scenarios will be explained to gain further understanding of this case study to draw up a susceptible conclusion.
At first, an understanding of an LPN and a Medical Assistant must be made in order to draw up a factual conclusion regarding this case study. An LPN is an acronym for Licensed Practical Nurse. The purpose of this role is to be of assistance to the RN. An LPN job is very limited compared to a RN and the responsibilities they have vary by state. Only medical doctors and nurse practitioners can prescribe medication. Jerry could call in the prescription only if Dr. Williams signed off on the prescription itself, authorizing the refill.
Then Jerry could call the prescription in as per doctors orders. Dr. Williams may suggest that the patient come in for a quick examination to make sure that the patient isn’t addicted to the substance. A small refill could be approved to last the length of the trip and then a more thorough examination could be considered. A medical assistant has a similar job role but it is more on the administrative side. According to Buppert, (2008) “a person who may be unlicensed, who performs basic administrative, clerical and technical supportive services in compliance with this section… or a licensed physician and surgeon or a licensed podiatrist, or group thereof, for a medical or podiatry corporation, for a physician assistant, a nurse practitioner, or a nurse-midwife… or for a health care services plan, who is at least 18 years of age, and who has had at least the minimum amount of hours of appropriate training pursuant to standards established by the Division of Licensing. ”(pp. 327-329). A medical assistant can also perform simple procedures such as taking EKGs and checking blood pressure.
Medical assistants can call in prescriptions only if the prescription is authorized by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physicians assistant. Now that there is a better understanding of the training that Jerry has received, one can now determine what Jerry should do. Due to the information provided, it is safe to conclude that Jerry should not call in the prescription for Valium. Even though it is displayed that Jerry has a lot of training, it still doesn’t make him qualified to handle a decision like that. If Jerry was to make an executive decision and call in the prescription he would put the practice at risk of a lawsuit.
Let’s supposed something was to happen to the patient, the practice is now held liable, and what can occur is exceeding scope of practice and liability of malpractice. Scope of practice is a terminology used to express what is permitted from the licensed individual. It is important for the licensed professional to stay within their scope of practice. According to Fremgen (2009), “Healthcare workers have a duty to be assertive and question those orders that they believe are erroneous or appear to be harmful to the patient. They also have a duty to refuse to carry out orders that violate their own practice acts” (p. 0). He could potentially cause a mal practice lawsuit on the practice. Healthcare is a wonderful industry to work for but one must be very careful and meticulous at all times. One must know the role that they play at their place of employment and avoid overstepping their boundaries. When involved in healthcare, it motivates one to be a helping hand at any costs. Decisions must be made professionally, regardless of how simple the request maybe. Know the specific scope of practice that you are in so that you can become an effective healthcare professional.
Buppert, C. (2008, August). Understanding medical assistant practice liability issues. Dermatology Nursing, 20(4), 3
Fremgen, B. F. (2009). Medical law and ethics (3rd ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database
Holzman, P. (2008). Hospitals shifting from LPNs to RNs. Central Penn Business Journal, 24(51),1.