Your Health Care Team

Your Child's Health Care Providers 

 At the Hospital - Who’s Who?

Attending Physician: A senior doctor, who is on staff at the hospital. The Attending Physician plans and oversees your child’s care while your child is hospitalized.

Resident: A doctor who has completed medical school and is in training under the supervision of an Attending Physician. Residency is a 3-7 year training program, beyond medical school, depending on the specialty. Residents make routine patient care decisions and are directly responsible for the day-to-day care of patients. Attending Physicians oversee the work of Residents. Residents, in turn, oversee the work of Medical Students.

Nurse Practitioner: A Registered Nurse who has completed advanced training in diagnosing and treating illness and performs many of the same functions as physicians. 
Nurse Practitioners prescribe medications, order diagnostic lab work, treat illness and administer physical exams. Nurse Practitioners provide individualized care on a patient-by-patient basis within a particular area of health care. Nurse Practitioners focus on prevention, wellness and patient education. 
In many states in the US, Nurse Practitioners practice independently and in other states they practice under the supervision of physicians.

Consulting Physician:  A doctor with special expertise in a particular medical area. Your child’s Attending Physician may decide to call upon a Consulting Physician to help diagnose or treat your child. The Consulting Physician may or may not be on staff at the hospital where your child is hospitalized.

Medical Student:  A student who is studying to become a physician. During their third and fourth years in medical school, medical students spend several weeks at a time doing clinical rotations – hands-on learning experiences at the hospital. Medical students wear white lab coats and carry stethoscopes, just as the rest of the medical staff. Medical students are responsible for checking the patients’ vital signs, reading their medical chart and talking with the patient about any problems, changes in their symptoms or new complaints.

Primary Nurse:  a Registered Nurse who is responsible for planning and coordinating your child’s care in the Hospital, throughout your child’s stay. Your child’s Primary Nurse ensures your child’s comfort, safety and well being. The duties of the Primary Nurse include: checking your child’s vital signs (e.g., blood pressure, pulse, temperature and breathing), administering medications, answering questions and providing patient and family education.

Patient Care Aide/Nurse’s Aide: The Nurse’s Aide performs routine patient care tasks under the direction of the Primary Nurse.

Fellow: A doctor who has completed medical school and residency and is training to become specialized in a particular area (e.g., Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Neurology).

Physician Assistant:  A  health care professional who is licensed to practice medicine under a physician’s supervision. Physician Assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, and write prescriptions. Physician Assistants with specialized training in surgery can assist surgeons in surgery.

Charge Nurse: The Charge Nurse is a Registered Nurse who oversees all unit activities during a given shift

A Nurse Manager is a Registered Nurse (RN) who oversees the daily management of a nursing unit. The Nurse Manager also serves as a link between staff, families and medical administration.

Dietitian: The Dietitian monitors your child’s appetite and weight and takes care of any special nutrition needs your child may have. Dietitians also provide nutritional counseling and education.