Your Health Care Team
A team of health care professionals will care for you throughout your stay, including doctors, nurses, technicians and aides. You will see some of them daily; others work behind the scenes to contribute to your care.
Physicians and House Staff
Our medical staff includes nearly 1,700 physicians. Board certification (or eligibility) is required for all appointed members of the medical staff. Most of our physicians have academic and/or clinical faculty appointments at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Your doctor—the attending physician—will manage your medical care while you are in the hospital. This physician will prescribe your medications and coordinate your treatment plan with other hospital staff.
Because Rhode Island Hospital is a teaching hospital, your attending physician is assisted by members of the house staff—residents and fellows—who are physicians receiving specialty training beyond medical school. In addition, you might meet medical students who are in clinical training, and physician assistants and nurse practitioners may also participate in your care. Your attending physician always directs your medical care and is responsible for supervising the other members of the health care team.
More than 1,600 registered nurses, 25 licensed practical nurses, nearly 400 nursing assistants and 125 nursing student associates care for patients at Rhode Island Hospital. Affiliations with several colleges and schools of nursing enable us to recruit high-quality staff and promote education and research.
Registered nurses assess, monitor and evaluate your physical and emotional needs. A registered nurse will be in charge of your daily care, monitoring your condition, administering medications and ensuring your comfort and well-being during your stay. Your registered nurse will communicate your plan of care to other members of your health care team and may be assisted by licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, nursing student associates and unit assistants.
A nurse practitioner may assist your attending physician in conducting physical exams and ordering medications and treatments. Nurse practitioners have advanced training and are supervised by physicians.
If you wish to hire a private duty nurse, the nursing office will provide information for you. Private duty nurses are not hospital employees; their scope of responsibility is limited to providing for the patient’s comfort and safety. The department of nursing retains responsibility for your care; therefore, the nursing unit office supervises your private duty nurse. Private duty nurses are not permitted to work in our intensive care units. Because private duty nurses are not employed by the hospital, they are paid directly by the patient. If you would like a list of nursing agencies, please call 401-444-5353.
Other Essential Staff
You will see many other hospital staff members during your stay, including central transport aides, who bring you to scheduled tests and treatments; clinical dietitians and dietetic technicians, who provide nutrition assessments and instructions; technicians, who conduct scheduled tests such as x-rays or blood work; and therapists, who provide treatments. Clinical social workers are available to help you and your family cope with the stress that can accompany hospitalization. Case managers assist you with discharge instructions and planning. Hospital volunteers help with general information needs.
All employees wear Rhode Island Hospital identification badges. If you don't know who someone is, please ask. Everyone at the hospital has an important role in your care and comfort.