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Your Child's Healthcare Team

While at Niswonger Children's Hospital your child’s treatment plan includes many people. Your child’s healthcare team may include many of the following:

Physician Team – In most cases, your child’s healthcare treatment is developed and directed by more than one physician. Physicians at the hospital are on medical staff, but are not employed by the hospital. All physicians are required to wear identification.

Attending Physician/Admitting Physician/Hospitalist – For many reasons, your child’s regular physician may not be able to directly oversee your child’s treatment while in the hospital. In this case, your child will be admitted to the hospital by an attending physician. You may also hear this physician referred to as an admitting physician or hospitalist. This physician is responsible for directing your child’s treatment plan, monitoring your child’s progress and communicating your child’s information to your child’s regular physician.

Specialist– If your child is seriously ill, his or her healthcare treatment may need to be reviewed by a pediatric specialist. The specialist may be the attending or admitting physician for your child, or may be asked by the attending physician or hospitalist to consult on your child’s healthcare treatment plan.

Like most children’s hospitals, Niswonger Children’s Hospital is a teaching facility. This arrangement allows our patients access to pediatric specialists and services that are not available in other local hospitals. You may see a group of physicians and medical students in the hallway or even in your child’s patient room. All physicians and medical students are required to wear identification.

Medical Student – A medical student is in medical school and is studying to become a physician. A medical student may ask you questions about your child’s condition and may ask to examine your child. Medical students will be under the direction of a supervising physician with the College of Medicine.

Resident  – A resident has a medical degree and is a physician who is completing a course of study to specialize in a certain field of medicine. Residents in the pediatric units work under the supervision of a neonatologist, pediatrician or pediatric specialist.

Nurse Practitioners (NP) – Nurse practitioners are registered nurses (RNs) who have received additional specialized training and are capable of providing more intensive services. Nurse practitioners work under the supervision of a pediatric specialist.

Registered Nurse (RN) –Your child will have an RN assigned during his or her stay in the hospital. RNs are responsible for assessing your child’s healthcare needs and progress while in the hospital. RNs provide care as directed by your child’s physician, including administering medication, changing wound dressings, obtaining samples for lab tests and administering intravenous (IV) therapy. RNs oversee other healthcare Team Members who may also be involved in your child’s treatment.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) – LPNs work with your child’s RN to collect data to provide care as directed by your physician, including administering medication, changing wound dressings, obtaining samples for lab tests and intravenous (IV) therapy.

Patient Care Partner (PCP) – PCPs assist the nursing team with your child’s daily needs. PCPs obtain information regarding your child’s height and weight, monitor blood pressure and temperature, and obtain samples for lab tests.

Clerical Associate – Each nursing unit has an assigned clerical associate who is responsible for answering the phone at the nurses’ station, greeting patients and visitors at the nurses’ station, as well as entering patient orders into the computer.

Respiratory Therapist (RT) – Respiratory therapists are responsible for administering breathing treatments, chest physiotherapy and other treatments related to the respiratory system, as directed by your child’s physician.

Physical Therapist (PT)/Occupational Therapist (OT) – As directed by your child’s physician, physical therapists work to help infants, children and adolescents with walking and improving mobility, motor function and other activities of daily living. 

Speech Therapist (ST) – As directed by your child’s physician, speech therapists work with infants, children and adolescents to assess and assist with the ability to suck and swallow, as well as promote oral motor development.

Registered Dietitian (RD) – An RD assesses children’s caloric intake, nutritional needs and other dietary requirements. RDs provide nutrition education and work with families to help maintain a healthy diet. RDs also consult with physicians to choose appropriate supplements for children who may have dietary restrictions due to illness or a weakened immune system.

Social Worker – A social worker works with the physician team and nursing team to coordinate services for your child while in the hospital and to help plan for services that may be necessary after your child is discharged.

Case Manager– A case manager works with your child’s healthcare team to assess your child’s healthcare needs and also works with your insurance company to determine an effective plan for your child’s care. Your child’s case manager can help you with financial aid during your stay and after discharge.

Child Life Specialist – A child life specialist is a certified professional who works with children in a hospital setting to prepare them for procedures, help them express fear or anxiety related to their hospital experience, as well as provide opportunities for normal growth and development through play.

Child Life Volunteers – Child life volunteers have been trained to work with children in the hospital setting. These volunteers work under the direction of child life specialists to make your child’s stay at the hospital as comfortable as possible.

Cuddler – Cuddlers are volunteers who have been trained to provide hands-on care for your infant when you may not be available to do so. Cuddlers typically provide services in the NICU, as well as for some infants in pediatric units.

Chaplain - Chaplains trained to work in the hospital are available 24 hours a day. Our chaplains understand that your child may be in the hospital for a long time, or that you may be far from home and need someone who can help you with your spiritual needs. Chaplains of nearly all faith traditions are available to provide emotional and spiritual support in a variety of situations: for a visit before a procedure; for a sacrament or blessing; for companionship while waiting for test results; or for assistance coping with loss or grief. Please do not hesitate to call our chaplains with a request for a visit.  The 24-hour on-call pager number is 610-5050.

Lactation Consultant – A lactation consultant is a certified professional who is specialized in helping breastfeeding mothers. She provides assistance in latching baby to the breast and offers assistance in expressing milk. She’s available for breastfeeding support whenever needed.