Doctors and You

The most important people in the hospital are patients (YOU) and doctors (who want to help you get better). Doctors (also known as physicians) have studied very hard over many years to learn how to help patients get well. They are the health care professionals who can diagnose and treat your illnesses, while give you advise on ways to prevent health problems in the future. Doctors want you to tell them how you are feeling and what you are thinking so they can do their best to help you.

Doctor on knee

Pediatricians and Specialists

Since doctors have to learn so much information, they "specialize" or focus on particular areas so they can become experts and know more than other doctors. Long words (with many letters) describe the area of focus for each doctor. For example, Pediatricians have received special training to help kids (patients under the age of 18). Some doctors wish to become even greater experts in a particular field, and they are known as Specialists. Specialists typically focus on different parts of functions of the body (like the heart, lungs, skin, etc.) Depending on your illness, you may meet a variety of doctors and specialists.


Medical doctors have many, many years of training, starting with college and medical school. Once they receive their degrees (MD or DO), they are real physicians but are still training and learning how to best take care of patients. While in training, physicians are called "interns" (first year of training) and "residents" (many years of training). Physicians who have completed training are called "Attending Physicians" or "senior physicians." Even when physicians are training, there are many layers of protection and oversight to make sure all care provided is safe.


Surgeons are doctors who like to work with their hands. They partner with Anesthesiologists to do invasive procedures in the Operating Room and help patients in areas where medical therapy alone is not enough. Like other physicians, Surgeons also specialize in fields where they have particular expertise. For example, Orthopedic Surgeons operate on bone related disorders, and Cardiac Surgeons perform surgery on the heart.


Surgeons would not be able to do their job without Anesthesiologists who "put patients to sleep" during surgery. In this way, patients are not awake and feel no pain during surgery. Patients also need alot of observation and protection when they are asleep during surgery, and it is the responsibility of Anesthesiologists to do just that.


Imaging of the inside of the body is a tricky thing. It takes special training to look at images and determine what is going on. Radiologists are the physicians who do this every day. By looking at pictures of your body taken using x-rays, ultrasound, etc., Radiologists are able to make diagnoses and look for changes over time.