What Types of Doctors Are There in the Hospital?

Kid on mothers hands.When my baby daughter was about to have major emergency surgery, I frantically asked one of the doctors a lot of questions and received only some of the answers I needed. Later I learned that this doctor was NOT my daughter’s actual surgeon. He was a surgery resident who, incidentally, was later fired by the hospital for an unrelated issue.  Had I known whom to talk to, my nerves would have been better calmed by getting answers directly from my daughter’s surgeon.

Now that I have worked in the healthcare industry for more than 30 years, I realize that there are many different people in the hospital called “Doctor.” Knowing who’s who can help you get the answers you need.

Let’s talk about the kinds of doctors you may encounter while in the hospital. 

A resident has graduated from medical school and is starting his or her training in the hospital. They may be brand new–fresh out of school–or they may be a second, third or fourth year resident. Generally, the resident gathers information for the doctor who is actually in charge of your care.

A fellow is someone who has graduated from their residency and has a “fellowship” to specialize in something specific, like “nephrology” or “cardiology.” This doctor may be able to answer some of your questions, particularly in his or her area of specialty.

Attending Physicians
Often this is the doctor who is in charge of your case. He or she has finished their residency and fellowship training. This doctor may also be the “admitting” doctor. This doctor should be able to answer most of your questions. He or she will also be the doctor to approve your discharge from the hospital.

Why is it important to know which doctor you are talking to?  

Because many of the doctors that visit you have limitations on the questions they can answer.

Junior doctors will be able to provide some limited information. The attending physician will ultimately decide what to do about your care.

When you are trying to determine what is going on with your care in a big hospital, it can seem overwhelming.  

If your attending doctor or specialist is either rounding very early in the morning or very late at night so you are not able to speak with them, tell the nurse you have some questions and ask when the doctor would be available to answer them.

If you don’t get the answers you need, ask to talk to a supervisor who can help. Every hospital has a patient advocate or a patient relations office. They should be able to help you get your questions answered.

To learn more about your stay in a hospital, subscribe to MyHealthSpin.com and receive a FREE copy of my ebook Easy Healthcare: Your Hospital Stay.  CLICK HERE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD

With MyHealthspin, You Spin Your Healthcare Your Way!

What Type of Hospital Room Do You Want?

Hospital roomDid you know that there are different types of hospital rooms? Most hospitals have semi-private and private rooms. If you don’t ask, you will likely be assigned a semi-private room.  

Since I was with my dad and my baby daughter during all of their hospital stays, I learned the importance of which type of room we were in. When my baby daughter was in and out of the hospital, I wanted to be careful that she wasn’t exposed to illnesses of other children in the hospital. For my dad, a quiet room was very important to his rest and recovery.  

So, what is the difference between the rooms offered in the hospital?

A semi-private room will likely be a room with two beds and a shared bathroom. There will be a curtain that divides your bed from the other patient in the room. The benefit will be that there will likely be no extra out-of-pocket cost for this room. The downside to this type of room is that you do not know what the other patient will be like, how much they talk (or are on their cell phone), or how often they will have their family in the room.

A private room will likely be a room for only one patient with either a shared bathroom with the neighboring room or a private bathroom. There is often an out-of-pocket charge for a private room unless it is medically necessary. The benefit to a private room is that you will likely get more rest because you will not be disturbed by another patient, or his or her caregivers and family. You also won’t have to be concerned about being near a patient who may have an illness that you don’t want to be around. Additionally, if you have family or friends visiting you, this will likely be easier in a private room since you will not be disturbing another patient.

Of course, all of these factors are dependent upon what your hospital offers, what illness you have and what your insurance covers. Check with the hospital before they assign you to a room. It is often harder to move once you are admitted to a specific room.

Which type of hospital room do you prefer for you or your loved one? I’d love to hear from you!

With MyHealthspin, You Spin Your Healthcare Your Way!

Learn more about what to do when things don’t go as planned with my ebook Easy Healthcare: Your Hospital Stay. You can get it FREE right now by subscribing to our blog.

4 Questions to Ask Your Doctor When You Are In the Hospital

DoctorWhile in the hospital, you may see a number of different doctors, and not all doctors are the same. Understanding who your doctor is may be one of the most important questions you can ask to improve your care.

When I was taking care of my dad in the hospital, I often became confused about which doctor I was talking to.  

I learned that when a doctor walked into my dad’s room that asking who the doctor was is always the best place to start.

I always asked these 4 questions:

  1. What is your name? If you don’t understand them, ask them to spell it or write it down for you.
  2. Who are you? They should tell you whether they are the resident or fellow or the primary doctor.  If they don’t, ask them.
  3. When is the attending doctor going to see me?
  4. Will my primary care doctor be making the decisions or a specialist?  If it’s a specialist, who is it?

These questions helped me be clear about my dad’s care while in the hospital.

Have you ever been confused about the doctors in charge of your care when you were in the hospital? I’d love to hear from you!

With MyHealthspin, You Spin Your Healthcare Your Way!

Learn more about what to do when things don’t go as planned with my ebook Easy Healthcare: Your Hospital Stay. You can get it FREE right now by subscribing to our blog.