Many different medical professional will be involved in your child’s care during treatment for retinoblastoma.
Their roles and responsibilities can be confusing, especially in the early days when you are overwhelmed by the diagnosis and information.
Here we summarize the hierarchy of doctors and nurses in most countries. If you require clarification about the level and qualification of staff at your child’s hospital, ask your key nurse to explain this to you.
A Medical Student is a college graduate who is attending medical school. Medical students often wear white coats, but do not have MD after the name on their name tags. They are not doctors. They handle some procedures under close supervision of experienced doctors.
An Intern, Foundation House Officer (FHO or F1) is a graduate of medical school, in the first year of postgraduate training.
A Senior House Officer, Resident or Registrar (SHO, F2, R2 or R3) is medical school graduate in the second or third year of postgraduate training. They typically rotate through different departments every four weeks.
A Fellow is a third or fourth year (or later) postgraduate refining their specialist skills. For example, in paediatric ophthalmology or paediatric oncology. The fellow is a good person to talk with if you have questions about your child’s care.
A Consultant or Attending is an experienced doctor who oversees medical care and training of other doctors. They are often professors on the faculty of the associated medical school or within research departments.
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), healthcare assistant (HCA), clinical support worker, care assistant or nursing assistant has completed a vocational training program and is restricted in the procedures they can do. They help with social and personal care and basic procedures such as taking vital signs, urinalysis, blood glucose monitoring and starting an IV.
A Registered Nurse (RN) or First Level Nurse (FLN) has an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, and passed a licensing exam. RNs insert IVs, give medicines, take vital signs and change dressings. They work in hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices.
A Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist is a registered nurse who has completed a specialist educational program. Nurse practitioners can perform certain procedures such as spinal taps, and write prescriptions.
A Head Nurse, Charge Nurse, Nursing Consultant or Matron manages all nurses on a ward.
The Clinical Nurse Manager overseas all nurses in an entire department, such as oncology or ophthalmology.