Health-care professionals who treat and observe patients, such as doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, are often called clinicians. Clinicians are expected to act ethically, legally and morally for the benefit of their patients. All clinicians have a responsibility to perform complete physical assessments; order appropriate laboratory or other diagnostic work; and document their findings and plan of care. Clinicians are expected to follow the accepted medical standard of care, a clinical benchmark that indicates what a reasonable and prudent person would do in a particular situation to provide quality medical care. The acceptable standard of care was once limited to community medical practice but now typically applied on a national basis.
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