A trained person who conducts a usually rather narrow range of specific specialized tasks in a physician's office or hospital, with or without supervision by a licensed physician. These tasks include medical history taking using a prepared questionnaire; measuring and recording blood pressure, visual acuity, or results of other clinical tests; and specialized procedures, such as setting up and monitoring intravenous fluid infusions. In public health, a comparable level of training equips field workers for many tasks, especially in low-income nations, e.g., the feldshers of Eastern Europe and the barefoot doctors of China, now mostly superseded. Physician assistant training and prior background vary considerably. One important category in some jurisdictions is the nurse practitioner, a qualified nurse who has had additional training in diagnostic and treatment methods and procedures, although in other jurisdictions nurse practitioners are autonomous, independent health professionals.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.