Your health care team at the University of Chicago Medicine is here to care for you. This information can help you understand what different members of your health care team do.
Your Surgery Team
While at UChicago Medicine, you will be cared for by a team of doctors. A senior doctor will supervise your treatment and decide when you are ready to go home. A senior doctor is a faculty member of UChicago Medicine who is called the "attending physician" or "physician of record."
The team of doctors caring for you will include doctors called "residents" and "fellows." These are licensed doctors getting more training in a medical specialty.
A physician assistant (PA) is a licensed medical professional working under the direction of a doctor and with the health care team. Physician assistants take care of a wide range of tasks, such as:
- Diagnosing and treating illnesses
- Getting patient's medical history
- Performing physical exams
- Ordering and giving test results
- Making treatment plans
- Prescribing medicine
- Assisting in surgery
- Performing surgical procedures in the clinic
An advanced practice nurse (APN) is a nurse with extra training who works with your doctors and treats many medical problems. They can also provide you with information and help plan your care with other members of the health care team.
Medical students at UChicago Medicine help take care of you as part of their training to become doctors. They can be an important resource for you. Students are always supervised by doctors.
Your Anesthesia Team
Anesthesiologists are doctors with special training to give anesthesia and to manage pain. They make sure that you are safe and comfortable during the surgery and recovery from anesthesia. They will work with you before, during and after surgery.
A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is an advanced-practice nurse who works with the anesthesiologist and will also work with you before, during and after surgery.
Your Inpatient Team
Nurses are an important link between you and other people caring for you. They help share your needs with your health care team and explain your treatment to you. Nurses give out medications and intravenous fluids, perform treatments and plan your daily care. They help educate and your family about your condition and how to continue treatment after you leave the hospital.
Nursing assistants check your vital signs including blood pressure, pulse and temperature. They help you maintain your personal hygiene, help with meals and make sure that you are comfortable during your stay. Nurses oversee nursing assistants.
Social workers can help you plan for when you leave the hospital, find financial support, refer you to community resources, give you advice about your illness and arrange for proper care after you leave the hospital.
- Physical therapists help maintain and restore physical function. They help you learn to use your body through exercise.
- Occupational therapists help you rebuild skills needed for daily life. They work to help you be as independent as possible as quickly as possible.
- Respiratory therapists provide care to patients with breathing and heart problems. They help give oxygen and breathing treatments and perform tests that show how well your lungs are working.
- Speech therapists work with patients to prevent, evaluate and manage disorders associated with speech, voice, language, cognitive and swallowing impairments.
Care coordinators are specially trained nurses who help make a plan of care that has you as the key decision maker. The care coordinator is a link between you and your insurance company, and they answer requests for current medical information and seek approval from your insurance company for services you will need after you leave the hospital.
Patient service coordinators are the front desk staff who help check you in for your surgery, provide updates to your family during your surgery and are able to help you and your family with any needs during the course of your stay.