Who’s Who on your Hospital Team

First and foremost, each patient has a nurse assigned to him or her at all times - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This "primary nurse" works closely with your doctor to oversee and coordinate your care. Even when your nurse is on break, there is a nurse assigned to be responsible for your safe care. The nurse develops a plan for each of his or her patients and leads a team that helps with your care. Below is a list of the other professionals who may help your nurse and doctor care for you based on your individual needs. Any questions about your care should be directed to your primary nurse or to the nurse manager.

KNOW YOUR CARE TEAM MEMBERS

NURSES

Your assigned nurse (primary nurse) will be most involved in your day-to-day care and oversee all aspects of your stay. There are various kinds of nurses, all of whom are licensed professionals with different levels of training and specialization. These include LPNs with nursing diplomas, and RNs with associate degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. Your nurse may call on other staff nurses to help with your care, including evaluations or treatments.

Nurse Manager

The nurse manager oversees all the care on a particular unit. The nurse taking care of you is supported by the nurse manager.

Staff Educator

These nurses serve as educational resources to staff, giving them the latest information about medication, treatments or technology.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Clinical nurse specialists have master's degrees in a specialty and provide teaching and support to patients in their particular area of knowledge.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed additional courses and specialized training. They can diagnose and treat illnesses in their specialty. Some nurse practitioners can prescribe medications. They work under the supervision of a physician.

ADDITIONAL CARE TEAM MEMBERS

Nurses aren't the only professionals caring for you. Here are examples of some of the others who may be part of your care team:

Physician

Your own medical doctor may be taking care of you while you are in the hospital, or may have a hospitalist, a surgeon or a specialist manage your hospital care.

Physician Assistant (PA)

PAs provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services, with supervision from physicians. They should not be confused with medical assistants, who perform routine clinical and clerical tasks.

Hospitalist

Hospitalists are doctors who specialize in caring for hospitalized patients. They can focus all their attention on caring for patients inside the hospital, including coordinating and consulting with your other doctors, and keeping you and your family informed

Intern/Resident

Medical school graduate doctors who are gaining supervised practical or specialized experience in a hospital setting may be part of your care team.

Clinical Pharmacist

A clinical pharmacist participates directly with the healthcare team and influences the quality and safety of medication use in a variety of ways. These may include: making rounds on the patient units, reviewing medication orders for safety, providing recommendations, consulting on patient discharge medications and educating patients.

Intensivist/Neonatologist

These specialized doctors are located in the critical care units to support and direct the care of critically ill adults and newborns.

THERAPISTS

Physical Therapists (PT)

Spend their time focusing on the large motor groups that contribute to walking, reaching, standing and physical activities.

Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)

PTAs work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. They help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain

Occupational Therapists (OT)

Offer skilled treatment to help individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives.

Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA)

COTAs help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients, while occupational therapy aides typically perform support activities. Both assistants and aides work under the direction of occupational therapists.

Speech-Language Pathologists or Speech Therapists (ST)

Speech-Language Pathologists assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in patients. Speech, language, and swallowing disorders result from a variety of causes, such as a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, or emotional problems

Respiratory Therapist (RT)

These individuals perform testing and provide respiratory treatments to diagnose and manage the care of patients with lung and breathing problems. They also monitor and maintain respiratory equipment, and provide patient education.

Intravenous (IV) Therapy Team/Line Access

This team is available to put in IV lines and to troubleshoot IV placement issues.
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Recreation/Milieu Therapist (MT)

Recreation/milieu therapists provide planned activities that support patient care on hospital units--most often in psychiatric settings.

OTHER

Rapid Response Team (RRT)

In some hospitals, Rapid Response Team clinicians provide critical care expertise and respond to a patient's bedside to assist with a serious change in a patient's condition and if appropriate, a change in treatment. All hospitals have some method of rapid response.

Dietitian - Registered (RD)

A registered dietitian (RD) is a food and nutrition expert who provides dietary support, counseling and/or education to patients, family and/or nurses to ensure appropriate nutritional care.

Licensed Social Services / Case Management Workers

This staffs are healthcare professionals who help patients deal with crises, cope with their illness, solve problems, and enhance communication with members of the healthcare team and access hospital and community services.

Patient Transport Team

These staff members take patients and their equipment to and from tests, procedures and appointments within the hospital.

Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP)

Includes nursing assistants, orderlies, patient care technicians / assistants, and graduate nurses not yet licensed who have completed unit orientation

Patient Observer

A patient observer is like a sitter and maintains constant watch over a single patient for safety reasons.