Who are all these people in my hospital room?

A new generation of patient and family centered care

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Dr. Kim Eagle and his medical team do their “bedside rounding” where they meet with the patient to discuss her medical plan as well as any concerns or questions.

At a teaching hospital like the University of Michigan, your room is likely to fill up with many new faces when the doctor makes his or her rounds. And you’re probably wondering: Who are all these people in my room??

The answer is simple and complex: They’re all there to care for you, and each has a specific reason for being in your room. Here’s a rundown of some of the people who might be in your room and what they do:

  • The attending physician or senior physician (your doctor) is also the “teacher” physician.
  • A pharmacy student as well as a clinical pharmacist “teacher” monitors your medications.
  •  A social worker is a healthcare professional trained to assist with social needs.
  • A nurse practitioner is a nurse with a graduate level of education who’s trained to diagnose and treat disease.
  • A physician assistant is a medical professional with graduate level education who’s trained to diagnose and treat disease.
  • Medical students are learning your history as part of their education.
  • Residents are physicians who are learning to deliver patient care.

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Know your health history

Create a stronger doctor-patient relationship

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Knowing and writing down your health history can help create a stronger relationship with your doctor and positively affect your care and recovery.

Dr. Kim Eagle, a director of the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, urges patients to know your health history–that is, to take ownership of your medical story and document it in a concise way. This, he says, benefits both healthcare professionals and the patient.

Writing down your personal issues, past surgeries, current medications and other information relevant to your emotional and physical health helps you establish a stronger relationship with your physician, Dr. Eagle says. “The more patients commit to documenting their story and sharing information, the more they help us to be better doctors,” he says, adding that a strong doctor-patient relationship can also affect a patient’s care and recovery.

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