Hospital Medicine
What to Expect

What to Expect During Your Hospital Stay

Being admitted to the hospital can be an overwhelming and confusing experience, especially for children and families going through it for the first time. There are new titles of caregivers to know and each has different roles when treating your child. Children also may be afraid while getting care from a room full of strangers.

A common question from parents upon admission is whether their child’s primary care doctor will care for them while they’re in the hospital. At Cincinnati Children’s, specially trained doctors called hospitalists care for children during their hospital stay.

Almost all doctors’ offices in the area use the services of hospitalists for patients in the hospital. They resume direct care once the patient is home. Hospitalists work closely with primary care physicians and the family to make the best medical decisions while your child is in the hospital and ensure a proper transition of care.

Family-Centered Rounds

The caregiver team described below will round in your child’s hospital room each day between 7:30-11:30. A clinical team member will present the story of your child’s illness (on the first day) or updates over the last 24 hours (on the following days) as well as the plan for the day. These presentations are directed to you and your child, and our team values family input and questions at any point during family-centered rounds.

Outside of rounds, the caregiver team will be working on moving the patient care plan ahead. A member of the care team is also always available and can address any questions or concerns throughout the day and night.

Caregivers to Know

While your child is hospitalized, several types of providers might care for them. Here’s a list of who’s who:

  • Attending—the doctor who leads the medical team and works with families to make decisions
  • Fellow—a doctor who has completed pediatrics training and who is pursuing specialized training in hospital medicine. Fellows lead the team with assistance from attendings.
  • Hospitalist—a hospital-based physician who primarily takes care of hospitalized children (usually serves as the attending doctor)
  • Medical student—a student training to be a doctor
  • Nurse—a bedside caregiver who works closely with patients and families to provide medical care, such as giving medication and checking vital signs
  • Advanced practice provider (APP) - They may be a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA)—both people have advanced medical training but have not completed medical school. They work closely with physicians to make advanced medical decisions
  • Primary care physician (PCP)—your child’s usual office-based doctor; also may be known as a primary medical doctor (PMD)
  • Resident—a doctor who is still in training and who works with attending doctors to care for patients; often the primary teacher for medical students

After Your Child’s Hospital Stay

When your child is discharged, your child’s primary care physician will take over direct care from the hospitalist. This collaborative approach is key to ensuring a smooth care transition.