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Who will care for my child?
You are an important member of your child’s healthcare team. You know your child best. We will work with you to make decisions and treatment plans for your child.
Your child’s healthcare team
Children’s is a teaching hospital. Your child will receive care from a team that may include many doctors and staff members. These are some of the titles and roles of the main people who may care for your child and help your family.
Doctors and medical students
Attending doctor – your child's main doctor during a clinic visit or hospital stay. The attending doctor leads the team in developing your child's treatment plan.
Fellows and residents – licensed doctors who are in training in pediatrics. These doctors will have the most contact with your child. They give daily orders for care and update the attending doctor(s) about your child's progress.
Medical students are studying at the University of Washington to become doctors. They receive instruction in pediatric specialty care at Seattle Children's. Attending doctors supervise medical students. Medical students may be at your child's clinic visit or take part in rounds with residents or the attending doctor when your child stays in the hospital.
Nurse practitioner (NP) – registered nurse with advanced education and training. They practice independently and work closely with doctors. They diagnose, treat and teach patients and families about serious and chronic conditions. They also make referrals.
Clinical nurse specialist (CNS) – registered nurse with advanced education and training. They oversee quality, safety and staff education. They are a clinical expert and consult on patients with complex care needs.
Charge nurse (CN) – registered nurse who plans, coordinates and delivers care for each shift. They can answer your questions or concerns if your nurse cannot.
Registered nurse (RN) – a licensed nurse who provides and coordinates most of your child’s daily care and education. They are your main contact with other members of the healthcare team.
Nurse tech (NT) – student nurse who assists and supports the registered nurse.
Nursing manager/director – registered nurse who runs the patient care unit. They can answer your questions or concerns if your nurse or charge nurse cannot.
Care coordinator – registered nurse responsible for coordinating complex inpatient care. They work with families, the healthcare team and community resources to arrange care at home.
Neonatologists – pediatricians with special training in newborn and premature infant intensive care.
Pediatric surgeons – doctors who have been trained in pediatric surgery. If your child has had surgery, the pediatric surgical team and the intensive care doctors will care for your child.
Occupational therapist (OT) – sees how well your child can do daily activities like dressing, bathing, eating, playing and school activities. Through play and exercise, they will help your child build upper body strength and coordination to complete daily tasks.
Physical therapist (PT) – sees how well your child can sit, stand and move. They will help your child build strength, balance and coordination. If needed, they will also teach your child to use equipment like crutches or a wheelchair.
Respiratory therapist (RT) – evaluates your child’s breathing. They may treat breathing problems with oxygen, medications, techniques to clear the airway, or a ventilator (breathing machine).
Speech and language therapist (SLP) – checks how well your child can speak, understand, read, write and swallow. They will set therapy goals to help your child communicate or swallow better.
Other healthcare and support staff
Chaplain – provides pastoral, spiritual and emotional support to patients and families from diverse faith traditions and cultures. They are available 24 hours a day and can help find group leaders from your faith community.
Child Life specialist – focuses on your child’s emotional and developmental needs. They help reduce the stress of a hospital stay. They also provide information about play, child development and adjustment to illness.
Dietitian – works with you and your child on a plan for nutritional health, growth and development while in the hospital and at home.
Pharmacist – prepares medicine prescribed by doctors. They can also tell you about a medicine’s purpose, effectiveness and side effects.
Social worker – skilled counselor who works with families to provide emotional support and get the resources they need.
Unit coordinator (UC) – at the front desk on your unit. They make appointments, coordinate procedures, request tests, route phone calls and direct families to resources and staff.