US dermatologists call for more oversight of nurse practitioners and physician assistants

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 20 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5253
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

US dermatologists have called for more oversight and regulation of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, after a study found that they were performing millions of dermatology specialty procedures without physician supervision.1

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants were first envisioned to be mid-level healthcare providers who would typically work under a physician’s oversight. The aim was for these professionals to increase the number of primary care providers and improve access to care, particularly in rural and other underserved areas. But in recent years many states have expanded nurse practitioners’ and physician assistants’ scope of practice and allowed them to practice independently.

In the study Brett Coldiron of the …

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