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Pediatric Inpatient Services

Your child has been admitted to the WakeMed Pediatric Inpatient Service through the Children’s Hospital. We know that having a child in the hospital is a stressful and often unexpected event, and we want to make your child’s hospital stay as comfortable as possible. It is our job to help you understand your child’s condition, the plan of care, and the likely course of illness. Below you will find a brief description of the staff who will care for your child and what to expect while you are in the hospital.

Who are the members of the medical team?

The team of providers caring for your child will consist of an attending (supervising) doctor and either a nurse practitioner or team of resident doctors.

Attending Doctors

Our attending doctors, also known as pediatric hospitalists or hospital pediatricians, are board-certified pediatricians who specialize in the care of hospitalized and critically ill children. They personally care for the majority of children who are admitted to any part of the Children’s Hospital. The attending doctor is in charge of your child’s care, and works with and supervises the care provided by other staff members, including nurse practitioners, resident doctors, and medical students. One of our attending doctors will see your child on the day of admission and every day thereafter, though your child may have different doctors during your stay.

Nurse Practitioners

Our team includes several nurse practitioners (NPs) who specialize in the comprehensive care of hospitalized children and have many years of pediatric experience.
A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing.
NPs are credentialed by the hospital and certified by a national credentialing board.

Resident Doctors

Resident physicians are doctors in training. They have earned their medical degree and are now completing a residency at UNC-Chapel Hill or Duke University to gain further expertise in pediatrics. Residents may also be accompanied by medical students who participate in the care of your child for their education, but do not have a formal role in any medical decision-making.

Other Team Members

Doctors and NPs from other specialties, such as surgery, neurology, etc. may also be involved with your child’s care. They will offer recommendations and be closely involved in the decision-making process.

How does the admission process work?

The decision to admit your child to the hospital for further care is made either by your primary pediatrician or by an emergency department doctor. After the decision has been made to admit your child, you will most likely first be seen by a resident doctor or a nurse practitioner. This provider will obtain a medical history from you and examine your child. He or she may also order blood work, X-rays, or other tests.

Based on this information, the team caring for your child will make a diagnosis and a plan of care for your child’s hospital stay. The treatment plan is based on your child’s specific needs. The attending doctor will then see your child. He/she will examine your child, review the plan of care, make any additional recommendations, and work with the team to direct your child’s care. We are also there to answer your questions and make sure you understand your child’s diagnosis and care plan.

What is the daily routine in the hospital?

Your child will have pediatric nursing care 24 hours a day. The nurses work 12-hour shifts from 7 am to 7 pm (dayshift) and 7 pm to 7 am (nightshift). Your child’s nurse will provide bedside nursing care, is available to answer your questions, communicates with the team caring for your child, and is your child’s advocate while in the hospital.

If your child is on the pediatric resident service, they will be seen sometime before noon each day by a team of doctors. During these morning rounds, the attending doctor will lead a group discussion with the resident doctors and medical students. After your child’s condition is discussed in detail by the team, they will examine your child, update you on your child’s condition, discuss the plan of care, and answer your questions.

If your child is on the pediatric hospitalist service, a nurse practitioner or resident doctor will see your child in the morning, generally before noon each day. He/she will examine your child, make changes to the plan of care, update you on your child’s status, answer your questions, and then communicate with the attending doctor. The attending physician will then see your child, often later in the day. He or she will have discussed your child with the nurse practitioner or resident doctor and be aware of any changes in your child’s condition. The attending doctor will evaluate your child and continue to direct your child’s care while they are hospitalized.

What about my child’s primary pediatrician?

Excellent communication is the goal of the pediatric inpatient service at WakeMed. Your child’s primary care physician will be notified at the time of admission and at key intervals during the hospital stay. We also provide written and dictated hospitalization summaries after discharge, which detail the clinical course of your child’s hospital stay. This serves as a reference for your primary care physician to continue the plan of care after your child leaves the hospital.

While you are in the hospital, the pediatric hospitalist service or the pediatric resident service provides medical care for your child. Your child’s primary care pediatrician may stop by and check in with you and your child. This can be helpful and comforting to the patient, but is not expected. After your child is released from the hospital, they return to the care of their primary pediatrician.

What are the benefits of the inpatient pediatric service at WakeMed?

  • Hospital-based physicians and practitioners who are available to patients and their families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.
  • Daily communication and information sharing with all the specialists involved in your child’s care.