Who’s Who in the Hospital

Anaesthetist

Anaesthetists are specialist doctors who administer anaesthetic drugs at the start of any procedure where you need to be unconscious – e.g. before surgery. The anaesthetist is also responsible for monitoring you during the operation, to check that you are breathing comfortably and remain pain-free.

Dietitian/Nutritionist

A dietitian/nutritionist may give you education and advice on your diet, if required for your particular condition.

Consultant & Medical Team

A consultant is the most senior type of doctor in the hospital. The consultant will lead a team of doctors who will be involved in your medical care, which may also include a senior registrar and/or registrar, senior house officer(s) and Intern(s).

In some hospitals you may also see medical students who are completing their training at the hospital. Medical students may attend ward rounds under the supervision of a consultant. This is a very important aspect of a student’s training; however, you have the right to refuse to take part in a teaching session.

Doctors who are specialised in a particular area may also be referred to under different names. These include:

  • Cardiologist – doctor specialised in treating patients with diseases of the heart and vascular system
  • Geriatrician – doctor specialised in treating diseases and conditions affecting older people
  • Gynaecologist – doctor specialised in treating disorders of the female reproductive system
  • Neurologist – doctor specialised in diagnosing and treating conditions involving the nervous system
  • Obstetrician – doctor specialised in the management of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Oncologist – doctor specialised in treating patients with cancer
  • Ophthalmologist – doctor specialising in conditions affecting the eye
  • Paediatrician – doctors who specialise in the treatment of diseases in children
  • Psychiatrist – doctor specialised in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with mental health conditions
  • Radiologist – doctor who specialises in imaging the body, e.g., with X-rays, ultrasound, CT scanning, etc.
  • Surgeon – doctors who specialise in operating on particular parts of the body, or to treat specific diseases or conditions. You will be seen by a surgeon if you are having an operation.

Midwife

Midwives are responsible for providing ongoing care to mothers and babies throughout pregnancy.

Nurse

During your stay in hospital you will be looked after by a team of nurses, which may also include nursing assistants and ward attendants. The nursing staff will look after your individual needs, and implement care according to instructions from doctors.

Occupational therapist

Occupational therapists help patients to return to their usual daily routine and regain their independence following an injury or illness. This can include various measures, such as providing adaptations to your home.

Pharmacist

Pharmacists are experts in the area of medicines. In the hospital, they are responsible for the dispensing of medicines to all inpatients – and work with medical and nursing staff to ensure that patients are receiving the most appropriate treatment.

Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists use physical means – such as exercise, manipulation, mobilisation and massage – to treat a wide range of disorders. In the hospital, Physiotherapists have a key role in the rehabilitation of patients who may be having physical problems following an injury, surgery or illness – e.g., stroke. They also advise patients or carers about ongoing management of their condition, and how to prevent further injury or trauma.

Radiographer

There are two types of radiographer that you may see in the hospital. Diagnostic radiographers perform x-ray examinations and other types of imaging techniques, in order to produce high-quality images of your body. Your doctor will then use these images to make an accurate diagnosis of your disease/condition. Therapeutic radiographers are mainly involved in the treatment of cancer. They work closely with the patient’s doctor and other members of the oncology team, using radiotherapy to treat the cancer.

Social Worker

Social workers can support you in dealing with the emotional and practical aspects of your illness and admission to hospital. They can help you in planning your future care, in coping with your illness through counselling, by providing information on practical matters and entitlements, and by putting you in touch with community services/support when you have left hospital.

Speech & Language therapists

Speech and language therapists can help you with any communication problems you may be having after an illness or injury, such as speech defects, or with chewing and swallowing.

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