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December 22, 1978

Independence in Allied Health

Author Affiliations

Assistant Director Department of Allied Health Evaluation

JAMA. 1978;240(26):2876-2877. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290260080009

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Sometimes overt, more often covert, is a feeling of antagonism among some allied health professionals regarding the role of the physician. It is not unusual to note bristling when the physician is described as the "leader" of the health care "team." The idea of a physician-dependent relationship may elicit even sharper response, and the captain-of-the-ship analogy is losing its once popular usage. The reasons for both real and apparent antagonism tend to be peculiar to each allied health profession. Suffice it to say that common threads (themselves genuinely arguable) occur—professional competence is said to ensure judgmental independence, economic independence is said to improve status, and enhanced image is linked to independence.

Social scientists could observe that this phenomenon is not peculiar to the allied health professions (though some allied health personnel seem to take that view); the more numerous and crowded any society becomes, the greater the struggle for sustaining