Your Care Team
Children’s Health℠ is one of the nation's premier pediatric hospitals and it is our care team that makes that happen.
We are the primary pediatric teaching facility for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. This means your child may be seen by more than one doctor, but it also means you are receiving the best care. We are the only academic healthcare facility in North Texas dedicated exclusively to the comprehensive care of children from birth to age 18.
During your visit, many different specialists may be involved in your child’s care. The following descriptions should offer a helpful overview of the experts you might meet:
- Attending physician - the physician in charge of your child's care. Your child will always have an attending physician assigned.
- Consulting physician - a physician with skill in a particular area. She may be asked to offer added advice on your child’s care.
- Fellow - a physician who has advanced from resident physician. A fellow is, at this time, carrying out extra training in a particular medical specialty.
- Medical students - doctors in training. Because Children’s is a teaching hospital, medical students often participate in a patient’s care team to learn from other physicians.
- Resident physician - a physician completing advanced “doctor” training. The resident physician reports to the attending physician, and updates him every day about your child's progress.
Pediatric Nurses/Physician Assistants
The nurses at Children’s all have special training in the care of children. Many are also trained in a specific pediatric specialty. They are an important part of your child’s care team.
- Advanced practice nurses / nurse practitioners and physician assistants - providers with additional education and clinical training in a specific area. These providers:
- Perform physical exams and procedures
- Prescribe medications
- Order lab tests
- Educate families on specifics about your child's care
- Clinical director/nurse manager - the head nurse who supervises the hospital unit or clinic. You can talk about anything from the care you are receiving to hospital services or your child's comfort with a clinical director or nurse manager.
- Care coordinators/care managers - those who, in addition to the nurse assigned to you, help with the care of your child and are available if you have any questions.
- Primary nurse - the nurse assigned to your child. This nurse is responsible for coordinating your child’s care.
- In the hospital:
- A nurse will always be assigned to your child. Nurses work 8 to 10 hour “shifts” each day. When your child’s nurse ends her workday, a new nurse will be assigned to you.
- When a new nurse starts his workday, he will come into your child’s room and introduce himself.
- Nurses in the hospital make sure your child is comfortable, give medications and can help explain “what to expect” while in the hospital and upon being discharged.
Specialty Centers (clinics)
- Nurses who work in the hospital are not the same nurses who work in the clinics. Therefore, your child will have a different nurse when he comes into the clinic for a doctor’s appointment.
- When being seen at one of the clinics, a nurse or team of nurses will be assigned to your child based on the doctor she is seeing.
- Nurses in the clinic help with prescription refills, give shots, take blood, assist the physician and can help explain “what to expect” while at the clinic and what to do when you go home.
Anesthesiologists - the doctors who care for patients when they are “asleep” for surgery. Anesthesia is used so your child will not feel pain or be aware during an operation. Pediatric anesthesiologists have extra training to provide anesthesia for children. Your pediatric anesthesiologist manages your child’s anesthesia so that he will not feel pain or be aware during the operation, and so that she will recover appropriately after the operation. Your pediatric anesthesiologist may have a team taking care of your child that could include
- Anesthesia assistants
- Nurse anesthetists
- Anesthesia residents
- Anesthesia fellows
The pediatric anesthesiologist will meet with you prior to an operation and monitor your child throughout the surgery, managing your child’s anesthesia from the preoperative area through recovery.
Other Members of Your Care Team
- Child Life specialists help children and families cope with the stress of hospitalization, medical procedures or tests during hospitalization.
- Financial counselors can walk you through the steps to get third party coverage for patients whose guardians/guarantors are unable to pay their medical bill at Children’s Medical Center. In addition, financial counselors meet with all transplant patients’ families.
- Concierge personnel provide patients and families with information and directions to get around the hospital and clinics.
- Medical technologists and medical laboratory technicians provide information to the care team by testing blood or other body fluids that help to diagnose a patient’s condition.
- Occupational therapists help teach patients regular day-to-day actions such as getting dressed and taking a bath.
- Pastoral Care chaplains offer spiritual guidance, emotional support, hope and compassion.
- Phlebotomists are specially trained to draw blood from children.
- Physical therapists help raise activity levels, build strength and bring back function as much as possible.
- Radiology technologists perform imaging exams when needed including X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, nuclear scans, etc. Radiology technologists are licensed and certified for the type of imaging they perform.
- Registered Dietitians/dietetic technicians are experts on diet and nutrition. They are sometimes called “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. Dietitians apply their expertise to treat and prevent disease. They work with you and your child to understand the effects various nutrients have on your child’s health.
- Respiratory care practitioners help with breathing problems. Lung problems they will help treat are those caused by ongoing diseases, such as asthma or cystic fibrosis that become serious enough for an emergency room visit or hospital admission. Other lung problems they will help with may be caused by infections or as a result of heart problems, muscle problems or when kids inhale a foreign object and it gets caught in an airway.
- School services helps your child with her educational needs.
- Social workers can help if you are concerned about being able to care for your child due to a lack of time, money or expertise.
- Speech therapists assist with speech or hearing problems. They also treat patients with swallowing disorders.
Pediatric pharmacists are available 24 hours a day to ensure medication is both given and used safely and effectively. The pharmacists work with your child’s care team to determine the best medication and monitoring plan. They are experts on the most up-to-date scientific research. They provide advice on medications to physicians, families and patients.