Tips From the Iris Team: Getting to Know Your Care Team

Hospital stays can be an overwhelming experience for many people. Depending on the type of care you are receiving, you may find yourself interacting with many healthcare professionals throughout your stay. Understanding who these medical professionals are and their role in your care can help reduce some of the anxiety regarding your hospital admission.

The Iris Care Team has put together the following tips to help you navigate the different roles in your hospital care:

  • Asking for everyone’s name who enters your hospital room and what their role is on your hospital team is always okay. Record this information in a journal or your phone. Do not hesitate to ask!

  • Have your nurse update your whiteboard with important provider information including name, phone or pager number, and their medical specialty.

  • Remember, it is okay to say “no” to having any hospital staff member you do not feel comfortable with in your room or involved in your care. You can talk with a provider you DO feel comfortable with or ask to speak to a patient advocate to discuss the situation.

  • You can always ask for a “patient’s bill of rights” for your hospital. This is a document that explains your rights as a patient and what kind of quality care your hospital has agreed to provide.

Start by introducing yourself to each new member of your team who enters the room – here are some ways to introduce yourself:

  • Here is how I like to be addressed:

    • Name, nickname

    • Pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/them)

  • Here is something to know about who I am as a person:

    • Hobbies

    • Passions

    • Profession

    • Favorite things to do

  • Here is who might be visiting who is important to me:

    • Names of family members

    • Names of friends

  • Some things that I need to feel safe and comfortable in the hospital are:

    • Respecting my sleep and not waking me up unless it is medically necessary

    • Asking my permission before examining me or touching me

    • Everyone knocking and asking permission before they come into the room

    • Everyone introducing themselves and reminding me of who they are when they come in the room

Next, consider asking your care team members questions so you can understand their role in your care. Asking for a piece of paper to write down each member of your team or having that information available on a note on your phone can be helpful.

Here are some questions to consider asking:

  • What is your role on my team?

  • How do you support me while I am here in the hospital?

  • How do I contact you if I need to reach you?

  • What are your first and last name and credentials?

  • How do you communicate with the other members of my hospital team?

  • Do you make any recommendations about what I will need after I leave the hospital?

For further breakdown of the most common staff members involved in your care as well as specialists please see Hospital Role Quick Guide and Specialty and Support Staff Explained.