Anesthesiologist – a physician trained to provide anesthesia (medicine that makes your child go to sleep) prior to as well as during surgery.
Attending Physician – a more senior, supervising physician whose responsibilities include the care of a particular patient or special group of patients. Within teaching hospitals, the “attending” is typically a faculty member with teaching responsibilities.
Cardiac Intensivist (Pediatric) – an intensive care specialist or cardiologist who works in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. This physician will work closely with other cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons in caring for your child in the CICU after surgery or transplant.
Cardiologist (Pediatric) – a physician trained in the study of the heart. The cardiologist, along with the cardiac surgeon, determines the suitability and need for heart surgery or transplant and manages your child’s care beforehand. The cardiologist is also responsible for coordinating long term follow up with your child’s primary care physician.
Cardiothoracic Surgeon/Heart transplant Surgeon (Pediatric) – the surgeon who will perform your child’s heart surgery or transplant. The surgeon is responsible for your child’s care during and immediately after surgery. The cardiothoracic surgeon will work closely with your child’s cardiologists throughout the surgery and recovery process.
Fellow – a physician who has already completed medical school and specialty training in pediatrics, surgery, anesthesiology, etc. and is eligible for board certification. Physicians are called “fellows” during additional specialty training in, for example, cardiothoracic surgery, pediatric cardiology, etc.
Intensivist (Pediatric) – physicians who have received specialty training in intensive care. They will care for your child in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) or the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU).
Neonatologists – a physician who has completed speciality training in pediatrics as well as additional training (fellowship) in the care of newborns.
Pathologist – a physician who specializes in evaluating tissues, cells and organs. Pathologists work closely with the transplant team in helping diagnose rejection.
Radiologist – physicians who use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment with special pediatric features to evaluate a broad spectrum of conditions. The pediatric radiologist works in conjunction with the cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon in providing care.
Resident – a physician who has chosen to specialize in pediatrics. Residents spend time in a variety of specialty areas, such as cardiology, oncology, etc. in order to learn under the direction of the fellow or attending physician.
Cardiac Operating Room Nurses – nurses who have completed specialty training in pediatric cardiac surgery.
Charge Nurse – the nurse in charge of the nursing staff for that shift.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) – an advanced pediatric nurse who has a master’s degree in nursing and specializes in a particular field. A CNS has special expertise in patient care, family education and staff support.
Heart Transplant Coordinator – a nurse who has had advanced training in pediatric heart transplantation. You may meet a coordinator during the transplant evaluation process. The coordinator may be responsible for educating your family about transplantation and works closely with the surgeon and cardiologist in following your child’s progress.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) – an advanced practice nurse with special training and an advanced degree in nursing. PNP’s may perform examinations, order medications and diagnostic procedures and educate staff and families.
Pediatric Nursing Staff (NICU/PICU/CICU Nurses) – nurses who have specialty training in pediatrics and, in some cases, cardiology. The nurses will assess your child’s progress from hour to hour and will notify the multidisciplinary care team of any changes. After transplant or surgery, the staff nurses will also educate you on caring for your child’s incision, how to give medications, and other issues.
Pulmonary Hypertension Coordinator – an advanced practice nurse with training in the management of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
VAD Coordinator – a nurse with specialty training in the coordination of the children who need ventricular assist systems.
Other Staff Members
Clinical Social Worker – a social worker trained in helping families cope with the complexities surrounding cardiac surgery and heart transplant. The social worker will help guide you to available resources, including housing, meals and transportation assistance.
Echocardiogram Technicians (Echo Techs) – a technician trained in performing echocardiograms. Echos are usually done in the clinic but may be done bedside.
EKG Technician – a technician trained in administering EKG’s. This technician will usually perform your child’s EKG when he or she comes into the clinic.
Exercise Physiologist – a specialist trained in exercise physiology. The transplant cardiologist may ask an exercise physiologist to evaluate your child’s exercise tolerance before transplant. After transplant, the exercise physiologist can be a great help in trying to improve aerobic conditioning and can work with you and your child to develop an exercise plan that will best meet your child’s needs.
Heart Transplant Data Coordinator – a staff member who assists the transplant coordinators with data collection. The data coordinator compiles, tracks and stores data to fulfill reporting requirements of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), managed care organizations and other government agencies.
Nutritionist – a specialist trained in nutrition. The nutritionist will meet you and your child after heart surgery or transplant to evaluate your child’s nutritional status. Good nutrition after cardiac care helps the body heal as quickly as possible.
Pediatric Psychologist/Psychiatrist – a psychologist or psychiatrist specialty trained in working with children. Heart surgery and/or transplant can be hard on both the child and family. There may be issues you or your child may want to discuss before or after surgery.
Perfusionists – a blood circulation specialist who will operate the heart and lung bypass equipment during your child’s surgery.
Respiratory Therapist – a specialist trained in airway maintenance and machinery to maintain breathing. Respiratory Therapists are responsible for the treatment and care of cardiopulmonary issues, including setting up and operating equipment that gives respiratory care to patients.
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist/Child Life – a specialist trained in helping children cope with the hospital setting. The therapeutic recreation specialist can provide play/recreation activities to help your child understand what is happening, express feelings, cope with a potentially long hospitalization, and promote developmental skills. There may be a play area for your child’s use or the specialist can bring things to your child’s room. The specialist is also available to siblings who may be experiencing difficulty with a hospitalized brother or sister.