At some point in our lives, some of us will become sick and require hospitalization. During this stay, you will meet so many people your head will spin, and you will likely forget most of them. Nonetheless, each and every person has a role in your care.So let’s meet them.
First, you have your nurse or RN (registered nurse). This person will be your ‘go to’ for a whole range of needs that will pop up. Consider the nurse your right hand man. He or she will check you on a frequent basis, and notify the doctor of any complaints you have, or if you’re not doing well. He or she will administer your medications. And finally, he or she will keep you informed of the daily care plan. Another subset of helpers include “certified nursing assistants”, otherwise known as patient care technicians (PCT), who are the liaison between the nurse and the patient. A pct will help patients with a variety of things such as going to the restroom, bathing, collecting specimen, moving around.
Next, you have your doctor. Your main doctor who oversees everything, should be thought of as the team leader. Now, in most hospitals, this physician has come to be known as the “Hospitalist”. This is an Internal Medicine or Pediatric Medicine trained physician (depending on patient age), who oversees all your medical needs and pulls in specialists as needed. This doctor is also termed as the “attending” of your case which signifies the lead doctor on your case. All other physicians who are brought in to evaluate specialized areas such as a cardiologist or neurologist are deemed as “consultants.”
Then there are pharmacists who oversee all the medications that are administered to you as a patient. They will follow doctor’s orders , and additionally apply their background knowledge , and check if the medication and all it’s aspects ( dosage, frequency, use, side effects) fit the patient’s profile appropriately or not. If there are any red flags, the pharmacist will communicate with doctor immediately and address the issue.
Finally there are care managers and social care workers who address and arrange other associated needs for the patient both during the hospital stay, and more importantly upon discharge. These are the people who help with transitions to home or elsewhere including nursing homes/rehabilitation facilities, and offer information on financial issues, safety needs, and medical equipment.
There are numerous others who also are a part of your team. There are transporters, orderly’s who help transporting you to different parts of the hospital. There are phlebotomists who will draw your blood early in the morning and at all other times of the day and night. There are an array of technicians who are skilled at doing &/ operating different pieces of equipment.
There are many other players that are involved, but the above are your core members that you should get familiar with. Generally speaking nurses change every 8 hours, and doctors change every 12 hours, depending on the type of care you are needing. These are the basics! More details to come.
Until then, take the time to know thy team!