What patients and families need to know
Your Child's Care Team
Our team approach to care integrates staff members from a wide range of medical specialties and departments, resulting in the best care for your child. Some of the key care team members who will partner with your family on your child’s health journey include:
Our more than 500 doctors demonstrate commitment and dedication to the highest level of professionalism and expertise in every specialty of children’s health care. Some pediatric specialties also feature subspecialty training and certification. Doctors who will care for your child include:
- Attending physicians. Senior physicians who have completed all of their training and are responsible for the care of the patient. There are attending physicians in each specialty (such as Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology, etc.) that oversee the care of your child. Attending physicians are responsible for the team of clinicians who care for your child.
- Fellows. Physicians who have completed their residency and additional training to become a pediatrician (doctors who only treat children). They are fully credentialed physicians and are in the process of completing training to become a specialist (such as a pediatric cardiologist).
- Residents. Physicians who have completed medical school and are becoming pediatricians. Pediatric residents typically spend three years completing their residency. There are many residents at the hospital, and they are frequently involved in the care of the patient’s day-to-day medical needs.
Through their skillful and compassionate care, our nurses will be with you for every step of your child’s health care journey, with an unwavering commitment to your child and family. Children’s National nurses empower patients and their families and engage in shared decision-making.
Our nursing program has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet®-designated hospital since 2010. As such, we are among only seven percent of hospitals in the United States to have achieved this recognition for excellence in nursing. Magnet®-recognized hospitals have lower patient mortality, fewer medical complications, improved patient and employee safety, and higher patient and staff satisfaction.
Nurses caring for your child may include:
- Advanced practice nurses (APN) or Nurse practitioners (NP). Nurses who have completed advanced training and education to become clinical care providers. They work in collaboration with the doctors on the medical team to manage your child’s care.
- Registered nurses (RN). Registered nurses are involved with the day-to-day care of your child. They assess your child’s needs with the whole team and provide ongoing care.
- Clinical or Shift coordinators (RN). Nurses who oversee all the nursing care on your child’s unit. They also help your child's care team with discharge planning.
- Licensed practical nurses (LPN). Members of your child’s care team who work under the supervision of the team’s registered nurses.
- Unit managers (RN). Unit managers are responsible for the overall operation and management of the unit.
- Case managers (RN). Nurses who help plan for a patient’s discharge from the hospital. They make referrals to home care services and transitional care facilities, arrange home equipment and supplies, work to obtain medications, and set up ambulance transports if needed. They also can answer questions about health insurance plans and benefits.
Child Life Specialists provide psychological preparation for medical procedures, as well as emotional support before, during and after treatment. Our developmentally-appropriate activities and therapeutic play experiences minimize stress and anxiety. Child Life Specialists provide games, toys and small electronics, and help celebrate important milestones such as patient birthdays, end of treatment and discharge.
Some hospitals have anesthesiologists who have general training, but they are not trained in administering anesthesia to children to meet their unique health care needs. At Children’s National, all of our anesthesiologists are certified by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) and the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), which provide combined integrated training in pediatrics and anesthesiology. With this specialized training, they play an essential role in our excellent surgical outcomes.
Our intensive care medical practitioners, or intensivists, provide the special care that your child needs if they are in unstable critical condition, have been seriously injured in an accident, or have complex surgery that requires intensive follow-up monitoring. Our intensive care units are staffed by intensivists who have usually completed four years of medical school, a three-year pediatric care residency, and a two- to three-year pediatric critical care fellowship. In addition, all of our nurses working in intensive care units are specially trained for critical care medicine.
Therapists are clinical professionals who assist your child with a variety of needs. You may encounter the following types of therapists during your stay:
- Physical therapists (PT). Help your child regain or maintain strength and fitness by working with them to get out of bed, walk around the unit and perform exercises.
- Occupational therapists (OT). Help your child become as independent as possible by teaching them how to care for themselves and handle day-to-day activities important to their rehabilitation.
- Respiratory therapists (RT). Focus on care that affects your child’s ability to breathe.
- Speech therapists (SLT). Specialize in the evaluation and treatment of speech, language and swallowing disorders.
Our social workers know that your child’s illness or complex medical needs can be challenging and stressful for all members of your family. Our goal is to provide you and your family with the support, resources and interventions that will strengthen your family’s ability to cope with your child’s illness or medical needs.
- Physician assistants (PA). Licensed medical professionals who typically work with surgeons and other specialists, and assist by following up with patients and families.
- Patient care technicians (PCT). Clinical professionals who assist the unit’s nurses with patient care such as bathing, dressing changes, nutritional needs and taking vital signs.
- Patient services associates (PSA). Members of the care team who support staff, keep the area neat, and provide meal trays, snacks and other services as needed.
- Clinical dietitians. Professionals and members of the care team who monitor your child’s nutritional status and provide specialized education regarding nutritional requirements.