Privileges, Surgical Assistant

As the patient's advocate, when the family physician's patients require surgical care not provided by the family physician, the family physician will exercise his/her best professional judgment in recommending the most appropriate consultant.

The "Program Requirements for Residency Education in Family Practice" mandate that all family medicine residents must receive training in pre- and postoperative care, basic surgical principles, asepsis, handling of tissue and technical skills to assist the surgeon in the operating room. Based on their education, training, and/or experience, family physicians are well qualified to assist at surgery. In addition to providing skilled technical assistance, a family physician assisting at surgery will:

  1. ensure comprehensive and continous care of the individual patient,
  2. provide the important psychological support and safety necessary,
  3. provide clinical correlation with surgical findings at the time of the operation,
  4. provide or assist in provision of pre- and postoperative care, including technical and psychological components,
  5. coordinate and support in communication and rapport between the consultants/surgeons, the patient and the patient's family, and act as the patient's advocate in obtaining appropriate, comprehensive, and coordinated care. Physician assistance at surgery, which is clinically necessary for improved patient outcome, should be fairly compensated by all payers of health care.

As a member of the medical staff and the patient's attending physician, the exercise of a family physician's privilege to assist at surgery shall not be superseded by a surgical residency program's rules or regulations regarding surgical assistance.

When hospital rules require surgical assistance on cases, nonphysician surgical assisting should be acceptable only in individual cases where appropriate family physician or other physician assistance is unavailable. (1988) (2013 COD)