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Hospital Admissions (cont.)

The Hospital Team

When the doctor will see you once you are admitted is determined by his or her schedule. The nursing staff or other doctors cannot make them arrive at your bedside at any specific time.

  • You will see your nurse or nurse's aides several times a day.
  • Many private or service (hospitalists) doctors will see you in the emergency department if you are admitted there. They may not see you, however, until you reach the floor or until the following day.
    • Do not be alarmed if your doctor does not see you the day you are admitted. Doctors usually make daily visitation rounds, usually at about the same time of day, and you probably will see the doctor by the second day.
    • Ask your nurse when your doctor normally makes visitation rounds.
    • If you haven't seen a doctor by the second day, ask when your doctor will see you.
  • Make sure family members know when the doctor likely will be doing daily visitation rounds , because it may be the only time they can ask your doctors questions.

The following are some other people you may encounter while you're admitted:

  • Hospitalist, Service, or House doctor: A physician who is employed by the hospital to help manage patients who are admitted (the majority are internists).
  • Residents, house-staff: If you are admitted to a teaching hospital, you may come into contact with medical students, nursing students, interns, or residents. Residents or house-staff usually follow admitted patients in teaching hospitals.
    • Your doctor may request that a resident cares for you (under his or her guidance) while you are admitted.
    • Residents, house-staff, and medical students do not have the experience of your private or service MD but they do work under their guidance.
    • Ask any physician involved in your care his or her name and level of training. If you have any questions regarding the care provided, ask that physician if your private or attending doctor is aware of actions taken.
    • You can request that medical students or residents not take care of you when you are admitted to your personal doctor's care, but as a rule, not when admitted to the care of a hospitalist or specialist doctor if you have no private doctor and are in a teaching hospital.
    • In general, residents and house-staff elevate the level of care you receive because they are often in-house 24 hours a day and work in teaching hospitals.
  • Nurses: While your floor or unit nurse does not write orders, she or he performs countless duties, including the following:
    • Administering your medications
    • Preparing you for surgery or procedures
    • Monitoring your vital signs
    • Starting IV fluids
    • Calling residents, house-staff, or attending physicians when problems arise or your status changes
    • Although not every patient requires the highest level of nursing care, nursing shortages and other financial constraints may affect the level of nursing care you receive.
    • You should ask any nursing personnel caring for you if he or she is a registered nurse (RN - highest level of nursing care), a licensed practical nurse (LPN), or if not a nurse and exactly what level of training she or he has.
  • Physician Assistants (PA's) and Nurse Practitioners (NP's): These individuals have specialized training beyond nursing. They make rounds and help your doctor deliver care by ordering tests and treatments. Depending on state requirements, these individuals may diagnose, treat and prescribe medications for patients while under the supervision of approved doctors.
  • Consultants: Your admitting physician calls these people in for various reasons. They help diagnose and treat difficult or unusual cases and provide care your admitting physician normally does not give. Consultants are doctors trained in a specific medical specialty such as infectious diseases, plastic surgery, or cardiac electrophysiology and many others.
  • Social services: They help with any social problems and will arrange for discharge treatments and follow-up care.
  • Aides and orderlies: These people help in the day-to-day functions of your care and hospital admission.

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