Your Health Care Team

Patient and Family Guide

Your Health Care Team


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Who’s Who

At the American Family Children's Hospital, a team of dedicated professionals is responsible for your child's health and well-being.
American Family Children's Hospital is a teaching hospital. We are the primary pediatric teaching facility of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. This enables us to attract some of the best and brightest physicians, nurses and various support staff in the country.
It also means that many people are looking out for your child's health. Please feel free to approach any of these providers with questions or concerns regarding your child's care or security.
The following are some of the professionals you may encounter on a daily basis:
Health Care Team
Faculty Physician (MD)
The faculty physician (MD) - sometimes called staff physician or attending physician - heads your child's health care team and is the leader of your child's overall care.
Along with his or her residents, the attending physician examines your child, monitors daily progress, oversees treatment and directs care. Depending on your child's condition, the attending physician may call on one or more specialists with expertise in additional selected specialty areas - such as allergy, gastroenterology or cardiology - to help care for your child.
Respiratory Therapists (RT)
Respiratory therapists will help take care of your child's lungs by assessing your child to determine what therapy will be best for him or her. Respiratory therapists will also provide education and training on equipment and therapy needed in the home.
Occupational Therapists (OT)
Occupational therapists assess children’s motor, sensory, cognitive, perceptual and psychosocial development, with the goal of obtaining the maximum degree of independence in terms of daily care, play and school activities.
Physical Therapists (PT)
Physical therapists evaluate patients’ developmental and functional skills; treat physical, developmental and neurological problems; and teach exercises to help children learn to use their bodies and muscles.
Health Psychologists
Health psychologists provide services such as psychological assessment of mood, intelligence and behavior. Health psychologists provide therapy and consultation regarding patient and family coping with the stress of illness or injury, pain management, lifestyle and body image changes, grief, adherence to medical regimen, post traumatic stress symptoms and more.
Speech-Language Pathologists
Speech-language pathologists focus on speech and language development and related disorders, including feeding and swallowing problems. They evaluate a disorder and recommend therapy or other treatments to correct or lessen the problem.
Pediatric audiologists are trained to evaluate hearing in children of all ages. They provide services for identification, management and rehabilitation of all children with hearing disorders.
School Reintegration Specialist
The school reintegration specialist assists with return to school (or jobs in some cases) and managing the child's education in the face of illness and impairment.
Registered Dietitians (RD)
Registered dietitians are interested in your child's growth, weight changes and any difficulties with eating. The dietitian may help you adjust your child's diet to provide the best nutrition and can teach you and your child about special diets and nutritional supplements.
Phlebotomists are trained to draw blood from the arm, finger or heel of infants and children. Phlebotomists match the amount of blood collected from your child to the laboratory tests requested by your child's physician.
Residents (MD)
Residents are physicians who are receiving additional training after obtaining their doctor of medicine degrees. Residents, supervised by attending physicians, are in the hospital 24 hours a day and have close contact with patients and families.
Students - medical, nursing, pharmacy and many others - work under close supervision of fully-trained team members. Students are active and helpful in patient care, but they do not make any independent decisions about your child's care.
Clinical Nurse Managers (CNM, RN)
Clinical nurse managers are responsible for the nursing staff, the care your child receives and the overall leadership of a unit. They are also a resource for parents and patients in resolving problems.
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and Nurse Practitioners (NP)
Clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners have advanced education and expertise in a specialty area, such as pediatric pulmonary medicine. They can provide specific health information about an illness and its care. They work closely with nursing staff in coordinating patient care.
Registered Nurses (RN) and Nursing Assistants (NA)

A registered nurse and nursing assistant will be assigned to your child each shift. In case you do not know who your child's nurse is, staff at the nurse's station will know. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns with your nurse. Your child's nurse can help you plan your child's daily care. He or she can also provide helpful information, direct you to resources and give comfort.
Pharmacists advise doctors and other health care team members about proper medication selection, dosage and administration. They also monitor drug therapy to ensure patients receive the most effective treatment. Pharmacists also counsel patients on safe medication use.
Health Care Support
Hospital School Teachers
Hospital School teachers are employed by the Madison Metropolitan School District. They teach patients in kindergarten through 12th grade in one of two classrooms or at the bedside, if needed.
Social Workers
Social workers help families with emotional, physical and economic concerns related to a child's illness, treatment, hospitalization, discharge and return to school. They can refer families to financial and social service resources, and help coordinate with community and educational agencies near the child's home.
Child Life
Child Life specialists help children and families adjust to and cope with the stress of hospitalization. They provide opportunities for therapeutic and medical play, as well as prepare patients and provide support during medical tests and procedures. They will work with you to help your child maintain normal growth and development throughout the hospital experience.
Parent Liaison

The role of the parent liaison is to support parents in dealing with many of the challenges of caring for their families when a child has been diagnosed with cancer. This includes connecting families with helpful resources in the community and within the hospital. The parent liaison also assists parents and staff with problem solving when complex situations arise.
Case Managers
Case management services are provided to all inpatients, both adult and pediatric. Case management services include the initial assessment by a case manager within 24-48 hours of admission. The case manager assesses the patient, assures that a plan of care and target length of stay are in place, and works with the multidisciplinary team to initiate the discharge planning process.
In addition to coordinating care and monitoring clinical outcomes during hospitalization, case managers assure that an appropriate discharge plan is in place. When a case manager or outcomes manager is unavailable, the care team leader and staff nurses are accountable for assuring that the plan of care and appropriate discharge plan are in place. Referral to a case manager/outcomes manager for follow-up is required if there are any concerns or questions following discharge.
Unit Clerks/Health Unit Coordinators
Unit clerks/health unit coordinators communicate patient and family requests to other staff members. They assist with patient admission, transfer and discharge processes.
Medical interpreters, TTY/TDD and other adaptive equipment are available at no cost for patients and their families. If you would like to arrange for these services, please inform your child's nurse - or, if it is a non-urgent matter, please contact the Interpreter Services department at (608) 262-9000 or TDD at (608) 265-6763 during normal business hours.
Medical Librarians
Medical librarians can assist you in locating information about your child's condition. The librarian collaborates with the interdisciplinary team to identify appropriate materials as requested by parents, caregivers and family members. Among the services provided are literature searching, reference, circulating collection, document delivery and consultation.
Children's Librarians

Children's librarians offer special library services, such as a weekly story time, crafts and other programs specifically tailored for your child. The children’s librarian can be reached by calling (608) 890-8040.
Image Consultant/Cosmetologist
The image consultant/cosmetologist in the Positive Image Center is a trained professional who provides specialized services to help hospitalized children look and feel their best.
The image consultant/cosmetologist is proficient at presenting and providing both hair and skin care techniques in a compassionate and sensitive way to hospitalized children undergoing medical treatment and/or recovering from an event, both resulting in changes to their overall physical appearance. For more information, please call the department of Patient and Family Services at (608) 890-7888.