Your Clinics Health Care Team
At UW Health's clinics, a team of dedicated professionals is responsible for your health and well-being. The following are some of the professionals you may encounter when you visit one of our clinics:
Faculty Physician (MD)
Your doctor, sometimes referred to as the "attending physician," is the leader of your overall care. Along with his or her residents, the attending physician examines you, oversees treatment and directs care. If you are seeing a primary care physician in one of our clinics, your doctor may refer you to one or more specialists with expertise in additional specialty areas - such as allergy, gastroenterology or cardiology.
Physician Assistants (PA)
Physician assistants are health care professionals who practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, physician assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery and write prescriptions - all under a physician's supervision.
Nurse Practitioners (NP)
Nurse practitioners have advanced education and expertise in a specialty area. They can provide specific health information about an illness and its care. NPs diagnose and treat a range of health problems, stressing both care and cure.
In addition to clinical care, nurse practitioners focus on health promotion, disease prevention, health education and counseling. With their advanced training, they help patients make wise health and lifestyle choices.
Residents are physicians who are receiving additional training after obtaining their doctor of medicine degrees. Residents have completed medical school and are gaining additional training in a field of specialized medicine, such as pediatrics or surgery. Because of their education and experience, residents can make some decisions regarding patient care and perform minor procedures without direct supervision. They generally are overseen by an attending physician. Residents may stay in a UW Health residency program for three to seven years, depending upon their specialty.
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 care.
Medical students have completed four years of college and are in the process of finishing four years of medical school. They are not yet physicians and do not make decisions regarding patient care. They may be involved with obtaining laboratory tests and X-ray results for their supervising physicians. They may speak with you and convey information to your doctor.