Have you ever been confused by the titles of the doctors, nurses and specialists on your care team? Do you wonder what their role is in your care? Here is a helpful guide to some of the healthcare professionals who may be responsible for your care inside and outside of the hospital.
Primary care provider
Your primary care provider is someone you see for the diagnosis and treatment of common medical problems. This person can be a:
- Family medicine physician—a doctor who cares for children and adults of all ages.
- Internist—a doctor who specifically cares for adults.
- Geriatrician—a doctor who cares for older adults with complex medical needs related to aging.
- Obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN)—a doctor who cares for women, particularly those of childbearing age.
- Pediatrician—a doctor who cares for newborns, infants, children, and adolescents.
Physician assistant (PA)
A physician assistant works under the supervision of a doctor and can examine patients, diagnose and treat illnesses, order tests, assist in surgery and write prescriptions.
A variety of nurses may be involved in your care. They include:
- Licensed practical nurse (LPN)—a person who provides for your basic care needs.
- Registered nurse (RN)—a registered nurse gives medication, performs procedures such as drawing blood and closely follows your condition.
- Nurse practitioner (NP)—a nurse practitioner has additional training and often takes your medical history, does your initial physical exam, performs some tests and procedures, writes prescriptions, and treats minor illnesses and injuries.
If you are in the hospital, you may be seen by a hospitalist. This is a doctor who only cares for patients who are in the hospital. A hospitalist stays in contact with your regular doctor and manages your treatment while you’re in the hospital.
Your primary care physician may send you to see a specialist for the diagnosis and treatment of certain conditions. These specialists can include:
- Cardiologist—a doctor who diagnoses and treats heart or blood vessel problems.
- Endocrinologist—a doctor who diagnoses and treats diseases and conditions caused by hormone problems, such as diabetes and growth problems.
- Gastroenterologist—a doctor who treats problems with digestion and diseases of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and intestines.
- Hematologist—a doctor who specializes in blood disorders.
- Nephrologist—a doctor who diagnoses and treats kidney problems.
- Neurologist—a doctor who diagnoses and treats brain and nervous system disorders.
- Oncologist—a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer.
- Otolaryngologist—a doctor who treats ear, nose, throat and neck problems.
- Psychiatrist—a medical doctor who specializes in treating emotional and behavioral problems through psychotherapy, prescribing medications and performing some medical procedures.
- Psychologist—a psychologist is not a medical doctor but has a doctoral degree and treats emotional and behavioral problems through psychological consultation, assessment, testing and therapy.
- Pulmonologist—a doctor who treats lung problems, such as asthma and cystic fibrosis.
- Rheumatologist—a doctor who treats problems with the joints, muscles and bones, as well as conditions such as arthritis and lupus.
Getting the care you need when you need it
When it comes to your healthcare, you want to make sure you are seeing the right doctor, nurse or specialist at the right time. CarePlus is a free concierge healthcare service that helps you navigate the sometimes confusing question of who you need to see and when you need to see them. When you sign up for CarePlus you receive exceptional care from a concierge team ready to:
- find the right doctor for you
- quickly get you the appointments you need
- get you faster access to your medical information—like lab results
- obtain referrals to specialists and pre-authorizations
- work with your insurer to help answer your insurance questions
CarePlus is here to help make everything about seeking healthcare easier for you. To learn more, or to sign up for CarePlus concierge service, please contact our CarePlus team at 201-884-5329 or email us here.