Your Health Care Team
There are many people who help care for you when you have heart surgery. Each member of your health care team has a special role in your care. The focus of each member of your team is you. Like the picture below, you are the center of attention. Please read on for more information about your team members.
Your surgeon is the doctor who is doing your surgery. Your surgeon directs your care to meet your needs and leads your health care team members.
Your anesthesiologist is the doctor who provides anesthesia and care for you during your surgery.
The midlevel team is made up of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. They work closely with your surgeon and you. The midlevel team works with you from the time of your first work-up visit through your last follow-up visit.
Pharmacists have special training in medicines. There are pharmacists on the cardiac surgery unit who make sure your medicines are correct, safe, and effective.
Technicians or techs (lab, x-ray, EKG) make sure your health care team members have the information they need to care for you. The lab techs (phlebotomists) draw your blood. The x-ray techs take x-rays of you, most often your chest. The EKG techs attach the EKG patches to check your heart rhythm.
A case manager or social worker is a team member who helps you with any special needs you may have as you prepare to go home. These needs may include lab draws, home health, or rehab placement.
Housekeeping and maintenance staff work to keep the hospital and its equipment in good condition. Housekeeping staff work to keep your room and the rest of the hospital clean. Maintenance staff work to keep all equipment at the hospital working properly.
A person from the Cardiac Rehab department works with you after your surgery to help you start your cardiac rehab program. This person talks with you about safe activities you may do after surgery and lifestyle changes. He or she also refers you to a cardiac rehab program near your home so you can continue your rehab after discharge.
Consult services may include physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), or diabetes management. Your surgeon works with the consult services that meet your special needs.
Support staff includes administrative staff (the surgeon’s secretary, the Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit secretary) and management (nurse manager of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit). Your surgeon’s secretary may help you schedule some tests and appointments. He or she may also help you fill out Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) papers or disability paperwork. The unit secretary helps with the daily work on the hospital unit. This includes answering the phones and arranging for any tests you need while in the hospital. The nurse manager of the unit works to keep the unit running smoothly. He or she is another person who can help if you have questions or concerns.
Nurses and nursing assistants are the members of your health care team who help you with your daily care while you are in the hospital. Nurses are the primary team members who provide care for you while you are in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit. They help you with your medicines, provide education for you and your family, and work closely with the other members of your health care team. Nurses also do assessments during the day and night for your safety. They share the information they gather with your other team members. Nursing assistants help you with care such as eating and bathing.
Fellows and residents are the doctors who work in cardiac surgery as part of their training. Fellows are surgeons who have finished their general surgery training. They are doing training in cardiac surgery. Residents are doctors who are doing their general surgery training.
Your family members and friends are very important members of your team. Supporting you and your loved ones is the focus of each of your health care team members. When you think of ideas about how your health care team members can help you or your loved ones, please share those ideas with a member of your health care team.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 07/01/2013
Copyright © 08/15/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7250
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