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Who’s who on the medical team

This section helps you understand who the skilled professionals are that you will meet during your child’s hospitalization and rehabilitation. In the medical world, acronyms are thrown around left, right and centre – this section will let you in on the conversation.

Doctors

  • Anaesthesiologists play a very important role in your child’s operation. They are the doctors at the head of the bed. They administer medications to put your child to sleep, insert breathing tubes, insert lines, help with pain management and assess the overall condition of your child during the operation. You will meet them before your child’s operation in preadmission clinic and you will see them the day of the operation.
  • A fellow is a medical doctor who has completed their specialty residency, such as neurosurgery, and is completing a sub-specialty. For example, a neurosurgical fellow is a neurosurgeon and may be completing one or two extra years of training to specialize in pediatrics.
  • A neurosurgeon is a doctor who specializes in operating on the brain or spinal cord. Their specialty concerns the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the nervous system (brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves).
  • A neurologist specializes in the nervous system and is trained to diagnose and treat medical conditions that impact the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. While a neurosurgeon and neurologist may work together to care for your child, a neurologist and a neurosurgeon are not the same thing. Neurologists do not operate on your child; a neurosurgeon does.
  • A neuro-ophthalmologist has the sub-specialty of both neurology and ophthalmology concerning visual problems that are related to the nervous system, such as vision problems caused by a stroke.
  • A physiatrist is a specialist in movement disorders such as cerebral palsy. If your child requires a physiatrist, they will be seen in the Physical Medicine Clinic at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.
  • Radiologists use a variety of scans (MRI, CT scan), x-rays and technology to aid in the diagnosis or treat diseases in the body. Radiologists are the specialty doctors who will interpret the results of these scans.
  • A resident has received a degree in medicine but is completing hospital training under the supervision of a fully trained doctor. You may hear
    them refer to residents as a R1, R2 and so on; this number refers to the number of years they have been a resident. The higher the number, the
    more years they have completed. Different medical specialties have
    different lengths of training. For example neurosurgical residents have
    six years of training.

Nurses

  • A charge nurse (CN) is the nurse who is responsible for how a unit functions during a specific shift. Charge nurses are usually more experienced senior nurses. Charge nurses are registered nurses.
  • A licensed practical nurse (LPN) provides nursing care after completing a two-year diploma. The scope of practice for LPNs has broadened over recent years to include many new skills such as administration of IV and pain medicines.
  • A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse who has a master’s degree in nursing and clinical experience beyond that required of the registered nurse (RN) role. NPs can diagnose, prescribe and treat various conditions related to their practice. NPs often run follow-up clinics where they will see your child after your child’s surgery. The primary role of the NP is to help you navigate the complicated medical care your child may require.
  • A nursing attendant (NAT) is a person who provides support services for RNs and LPNs.
  • A registered nurse (RN) is a nurse who graduated from a nursing program at a college or university and passed a national exam. Nurses practise in hospitals or communities to help achieve good health and prevent disease. Nurses in specialized areas, such as operating rooms or intensive care, require additional training to practice there.
  • A unit manager is often in the daytime charge nurse role but their duties extend beyond that. The UMs are responsible for the overall running of the unit including scheduling staff and dealing with conflict. If an issue arises during your child’s admission, the UM will help address your concerns.

Other Health Professionals

  • Audiologists are practitioners who treat patients with hearing loss.
  • Occupational therapists (OT) help people of all ages to improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living and working environments. They also help in development, recovery, or to maintain daily living and employment skills. Examples of this include helping people learn how to feed themselves, grooming skills and help with the development of fine motor skills.
  • Physical therapists (PT) help with exercises and other physical treatments. PTs will aid in the development of gross motor skills. PTs and OTs often work together. PTs will help your child get up after surgery and ensure they are safe to go home from a mobility perspective.
  • Respiratory therapists (RT) are breathing specialists. RTs are also advanced practitioners in airway management, establishing and maintaining the airway and monitoring breathing equipment like ventilators. If your child requires a breathing tube after an operation, they will be in the intensive care unit and an RT will be involved to help manage their care.
  • A social worker is available to provide you with assistance for a wide variety of issues. Some of the services they provide include counselling (emotional and financial), intervention to meet short-term needs, education, linking with community resources and discharge planning.
  • The unit clerk is at the front desk and does a wide range of specialized secretarial tasks.
  • Students: The Stollery Children’s Hospital is a teaching institution, and there are students of all professions learning from the treatment of your child, to benefit treatment of other children.

Feel free to ask people who they are and explain what their job description is if you don’t understand.

GOOD TO KNOW: Many people on the medical team wear scrubs.

Specialized Clinics

There are many clinics in the Stollery Children’s Hospital that have focused specialties your child might need. We have included a few that are the most visited by neurosurgical children. In most specialized clinics a referral may be required by a physician or community health nurse. The main hospital switchboard is (780) 407-8822.

  • Pediatric Emergency Seizure Clinic: This clinic sees children who came to the Emergency Department because of new seizures onset, febrile seizures or first time seizures.
  • Pediatric Head Shape Clinic: A full assessment of the child’s head shape
    is done and a treatment plan is created. If required, the child may be
    referred to other services. Room 1-170, Clinical Sciences Building, Pediatric Surgery Clinic.
  • Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Monitoring Clinic: This clinic provides specialized cancer care as a child and their family travels through neurosurgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and follow-up.
  • Pediatric Orthopedics Clinics: This clinic is for children who require surgical or medical management for conditions that impact the musculoskeletal system, like bones, joints, muscles and tendons. There are a variety of reasons your child may be referred to this clinic, including fractures, foot and hand deformities, musculoskeletal issues and unstable hips.
  • Pediatric Neurology Clinics: Pediatric neurology incorporates many different clinics that focus on disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system.

Clinics that fall under pediatric neurology are:

    • General Pediatric Neurology Clinic
    • Comprehensive Epilepsy Clinic
    • Comprehensive Epilepsy Surgery Follow-up Clinic
    • Headache Clinic
    • Neuromuscular Clinic
    • Pediatric Stroke Clinic
    • Movement Disorder Clinic
    • Neuro-Genetic Clinic
    • Neurometabolic and Demyelinating Clinic
    • Neurodevelopmental / Neuromotor Clinic
  • Shunt and Hydrocephalus Clinic: This clinic specializes in assessment, management, education and intervention for children with hydrocephalus and shunts.
  • Pediatric Neurosurgery Clinic: Located in the Clinical Sciences building, room 1-170, this is where you will see your neurosurgeon or nurse practitioner for diagnosis and follow-up. If your child has a brain tumour, they may also be followed in the neuro-oncology clinic. The clinic does not book the appointments. The physician’s office is the point of contact to reschedule your appointment.

Contact:
Vivek Mehta (780)407-8346
Dr. Jeffrey Pugh (780)407-1537
Dr. Keith Aronyk (780)407-6870

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