Your Healthcare Team

All of the healthcare professionals and employees at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia are dedicated to providing your child and your family with the best care possible. We're also committed to making your experience with us as comfortable as possible. That's why we want you to get to know us!

Your child's healthcare team may include many people. To help you understand the different members who may be a part of your child's team and the role they each play, we've provided the following information. Remember that the people you meet will depend on the type and location of your visit.

Medical staff

A doctor is a licensed medical practitioner, someone who is trained in medicine. A doctor will oversee your child's care. There are many kinds of doctors you might meet:

  • A medical student is a student in medical school who is studying to become a doctor. CHOP is a teaching hospital, which means students participate as part of the medical team under the supervision of senior staff.
  • A resident is a doctor who has completed medical school and is receiving further training in a hospital.
  • A fellow is a doctor who has completed medical school, finished residency and is training to practice in a more specialized branch of medicine.
  • An attending physician is a doctor on staff at the Hospital who has completed all his or her training. Attending physicians are the doctors overseeing all of a patient's care.
  • A consulting physician is a doctor with expertise in a particular area. This physician may be called upon by your attending doctor to help diagnose and treat your child.

Mid-level practitioners

  • A physician assistant (PA) is a healthcare professional who is licensed to practice medicine with a doctor's supervision. PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive healthcare, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. The number of PAs at CHOP is growing and they currently work in neonatology, interventional radiology, urology, orthopedics, ENT, adult congenital cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery.
  • The advanced practice nurse has advanced training and knowledge in specialty areas and can help coordinate your child's care before, during and after hospitalization. Advanced practice nurses are also commonly known as Nurse Practitioners.

Nursing staff

Our nurses have special training in the care of children and may have additional training in a specific pediatric specialty. They work as partners with your child's doctor to provide care.

  • A student nurse is someone who is studying to become a nurse, but is not yet licensed. As a teaching hospital, students participate as part of the medical team under the supervision of senior staff.
  • A senior nurse's aide performs patient care tasks at the direction of a registered nurse.
  • A licensed practical nurse typically works in outpatient settings such as a doctor's office. They are responsible for assisting the doctor in patient care tasks.
  • A primary nurse is a registered nurse and is responsible for planning and coordinating your child's care in the Hospital, throughout your child's stay.
  • The nurse manager oversees the daily management of a nursing unit, including staffing, patient and family concerns, environmental issues and budget administration. The nurse manager serves as a link among staff, families and medical administration.

Support staff

We employ support staff in a variety of disciplines to help make your experience with us go as smoothly as possible. You may meet some or all of the following.

  • Our admissions coordinators verify your insurance, orient you to the Hospital unit where you will be staying and help you with admissions forms.
  • A case manager assists your family in planning for discharge and stays in regular contact with your insurance company.
  • A full-time chaplain is available for pastoral visitation, sacramental ministry and support. He or she is also able to contact a chaplain or clergy from your own faith group.
  • Child life specialists help children, teens and family members cope with the healthcare experience by providing play and developmentally appropriate activities, education, preparation for medical procedures and emotional support for the child and family. They can also answer questions about your child's development, adjustment to hospitalization and coping with illness.
  • A family consultant is a Hospital employee who is also a parent of a child or children who receive care at Children's Hospital. They offer the perspective of the caregiver, and can help you navigate the healthcare experience, suggest the best ways to communicate with the healthcare team and identify helpful resources.
  • A social worker provides information and counseling regarding adjustment to illness, assistance with healthcare planning and ongoing decision-making. They can help you with community referrals and financial resources that can provide your family with support and necessary services whether your child is in the Hospital or at home.
  • Your child's care may require the help of physical, occupational, respiratory and/or speech therapists.
    • Physical therapists work with patients to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability.
    • Occupational therapists work with patients to help them make the best use of their skills and abilities.
    • Respiratory therapists provide treatment, evaluation and management of patients with breathing disorders.
    • Speech therapists help patients with a variety of speech, voice and language disorders.