Pediatric Hospitalist Program
The University of Maryland Hospitalist program provides a unique approach to the care of hospitalized children within an academic setting. It seeks to involve the patient and family, along with the primary nurse, when providing care for the patient. Teaching and rounds occur at the bedside, so that our patients and families participate and understand all aspects of care. Nurses are equal partners.
We have found that patient safety and family satisfaction increase when communication is open, so this approach is not only friendlier, but more efficient and safer. Our hospitalists are board-certified pediatricians who have expertise in the care of sick children requiring hospitalization.
What is a pediatric hospitalist?
When a child gets admitted to the hospital for whatever reason, a hospitalist is a physician with special interest and expertise in addressing the needs of the child and family. (S)he is not only an expert in the care of the medical problem causing the need to be in hospital, but understands the impact of the hospital stay on the family. (S)he works with the housestaff, nursing staff, child life, respiratory therapy, and all those who help the child recover quickly and safely.
When a child is admitted, who will I meet in the hospital and what are their roles?
There is one physician who assumes the responsibility for the child. That is called the attending physician. If your child was admitted by a specialist, often that specialist serves as the attending physician. For a more general problem, the hospitalist assumes that role. The attending physician heads a team of doctors and nurses who round daily on the child and develop a plan along with the parents and the child. Often ancillary staff are a crucial part of the team either right up front or behind the scenes. These may include a respiratory therapist, physical therapist, dietician, ward clerk, housekeeping staff, social worker, pharmacist, and child life specialist.
Are people learning on my child?
As a flagship teaching hospital for the University of Maryland, there is a lot of teaching going on. There are students from all disciplines, but most obvious will be the presence of medical students and residents, and nursing students, It is important for everyone to introduce themselves to parent and child and explain their roles. Being part of a learning environment can be both exciting and frightening for a family with a sick child, so we work hard to make the experience safe, and nurturing while providing good role models of behavior for our trainees.