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Your Healthcare Team

Hamilton Health Sciences is an academic health sciences centre and teaching hospital. In addition to hospital staff members, medical students may also be involved in your care while you are at the hospital. Here is an overview of some of the health care professionals who may contribute to your care during your stay.

Attending physician: the physician in charge of and responsible for your care.

Resident physician: a physician with advanced training in patient care. The resident reports to the attending physician.

Fellow: a physician who has completed residency training and is undertaking additional training in a specialty area.

Consulting physician: a physician with expertise in a particular area. This physician may be called on by the attending physician and asked to assist in diagnosis and treatment.

Medical students: in teaching hospitals like Hamilton Health Sciences, students participate as part of the medical team.

Charge nurse: the charge nurse supervises the unit and is available to discuss nursing care, hospital services or the patient’s needs and comfort.

Registered nurse: registered nurses provide direct care to patients and observe, assess, and record symptoms, reactions, and progress. They also assist physicians during treatments and examinations, administer medications, and assist in convalescence and rehabilitation.

Advanced practice nurses: registered nurses with additional education and clinical training in a specific area of health care. There are several kinds of advanced practice nurses, including clinical nurse specialists who specialize in one area of nursing, and nurse practitioners who perform physical exams, diagnose patient problems, treat illness, educate patients and families and may also participate in research.

Child life specialists: these staff members are child development experts. They manage the social and emotional needs of hospitalized children through age-appropriate activities including play and art. Staff members supervise playrooms, co-ordinate play therapy programs and consult with the school system to tutor school-aged children.

Social workers: these professionals help families adjust to illness, access community resources and plan for post-discharge needs and services.

Chaplains: are available for spiritual support and also administer sacraments. They can also help you reach clergy from other faiths.

Nutritionists: including registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, are nutrition experts who evaluate and modify a patient’s eating patterns. They work with family and medical staff to recommend dietary changes that will promote recovery and prevent complications.

Occupational therapists: build on skills learned in physical therapy. Patients apply these skills accomplish tasks such as dressing, bathing and other age-appropriate activities.

Physiotherapists: help patients move independently by building strength and restoring function to the greatest extent possible.

Research staff: research is integral to both patients and staff at Hamilton Health Sciences and occasionally patients are invited to be part of the research process. Clinical trials or research studies are organized tests of medicines and new treatment options. These studies rely on patient volunteers who try the new or changed treatment under strict medical supervision. You may be approached by a member of one of our research teams about your interest in participating in a clinical trial. Clinical trial participation is always voluntary.