Your Healthcare Team

All of the healthcare professionals and employees at 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.

Advanced practice providers

Advanced practice providers (APPs), including advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants (PAs), are among the many expert caregivers who meet patients' needs at CHOP.

Advanced practice providers have the experience needed to provide specialized, expert care to all of our different patient populations. Advanced practice providers at Children’s Hospital work in many areas of the healthcare system, such as primary care, specialty care, critical care, the emergency department, fetal diagnosis and treatment, home care and research. They conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventative healthcare, write prescriptions and more.

Advanced practice registered nurses

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are registered nurses (RNs) with additional education, specialized clinical training, certification and licensure in a healthcare area. APRNs include the following roles:

  • Certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNPs) — Nurse practitioners (NPs) are master's-prepared advanced practice registered nurses who have gained academic and clinical experience within a specific patient population and practice in collaboration with attending physicians. Children’s Hospital has nurse practitioners in almost all specialty areas, including the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Emergency Department and primary care.
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) — CRNAs are master's-prepared advanced practice nurses who provide anesthetics to patients in every practice setting and for every type of surgery or procedure. At CHOP, we have certified registered nurse anesthetists in the general and cardiac operating rooms.
  • Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) — CNMs are advanced practice registered nurses in nurse midwifery, the care of women across their lifespan, including pregnancy and the postpartum period, and well woman care and birth control. At Children’s Hospital, certified nurse midwives practice in our Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit and the Center for Fetal Diagnosis & Treatment.
  • Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) — CNSs are master’s-prepared registered nurses whose work is focused on one of three main specialty areas: patients and their families, nurse management and administration. At CHOP, the clinical nurse specialists are population based and work with unit-based staff nurses to optimize patients care.

Physician assistants

Physician assistants are graduates of an accredited PA educational program, and are licensed and certified providers who practice under the direction of a supervising physician. Physician assistants at CHOP work in neonatology, interventional radiology, urology, orthopaedics, ENT, adult congenital cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery.

Since Children’s Hospital is a teaching hospital, you may see advanced practice provider students caring for your child under the supervision of their APP preceptor.

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.
  • The charge nurse is assigned each day to manage the day to day issues, nursing assignments, and any concerns that arise. The charge nurse assures each patient is assigned to a nurse with the appropriate skills, assures patients are admitted when needed, and serves as a resource for nurses, patients and families.

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.