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NPCs can be valuable members of the clinical team, but physicians should advocate for the time and compensation to appropriately supervise them.

Fam Pract Manag. 2024;31(3):29-33

This content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial relationships.

Many family physicians will supervise a non-physician clinician (NPC) during their career. You may be more familiar with the terms non-physician practitioner, midlevel provider, or advanced practice provider, all of which are used interchangeably. These terms most commonly refer to nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Although physician supervision of NPCs has become commonplace, many family physicians are not trained in how to do this effectively. Physicians should understand the requirements of supervision to optimize the relationship and to prevent poor patient outcomes, malpractice claims, and medical board actions. The physician is ultimately responsible for ensuring that each patient receives quality care and may be held accountable if they fail to provide adequate oversight or if an NPC under their supervision makes errors.1

This article offers 10 tips to help family physicians improve their supervision of NPCs.


  • NPCs are helpful partners in patient care, but the relationship does require physicians' time and effort, which should be acknowledged and compensated.

  • To effectively supervise NPCs, physicians should understand their state's requirements, clarify the responsibilities and expectations, and provide ongoing communication and chart review.

  • Physicians should carefully consider how many NPCs they can safely supervise and should not feel pressured to spend as little time as possible on this important role.

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