Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group - Clinical Career Ladder for Medical Assistants


Lisel Blash, Susan A. Chapman, Catherine Dower

May 2011

Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group (NMPG) took the unusual step of developing a clinical career ladder for its medical assistants (MAs) in 2003, and, more recently, for its patient services representatives (PSRs). Medical assistants are the largest group of non-licensed employees at NMPG. Turnover and dissatisfaction among MAs led the organization to develop a clinical career ladder for MAs to recognize their achievements, challenge them to excel, and improve retention.

This 2014 summary updates the original 2011 case study with new information on staffing, clinical outcomes, reimbursement, and more. 

Innovative Workforce Models of Health Care is a series of case studies showcasing primary care practices that are expanding the roles of medical assistants and other frontline workers in innovative ways. The organizations selected are implementing practice models that improve organizational viability and quality of care for patients while providing career development opportunities to frontline employees. This research is supported by the The Hitachi Foundation.