Knowing your care team: making hospital stays a positive experience

For many people, hospitals aren't the most inviting of places. For one, hospitals often evoke anxious feelings, with a 2019 study even suggesting that 64% of surgical patients felt severe anxiety while hospitalized. Medical jargon, unfamiliar surroundings and people, and health concerns also add to those negative emotions. (1)

But what if you knew the team in charge of caring for you? After all, with more knowledge comes trust, and understanding their roles may create a positive experience and make navigating check-ups and treatments less stressful. This piece will explore the people in your care team and what they do to ensure your good health. Read on!

Get to know your care team

When you visit a hospital for a general check-up or a medical procedure, it's not one person doing all the work. A team works together, and each role serves a purpose.

The core and extended team


At the center are doctors who diagnose your condition, create a treatment plan, and oversee your overall care.


Licensed practical nurses provide daily patient care, administer medications, monitor vitals and act as a link between patients and doctors.

Specialists and support staff

Specialists like cardiologists or physical therapists offer focused medical care. Meanwhile, support staff, such as cleaning and food service personnel, ensure a comfortable environment for everyone in the hospital.

Spotlight on medical interns

In addition to the usual crew in a hospital, you may encounter medical interns. These people are medical school graduates who are now physicians-in-training but could also be part of your care team. Medical interns typically assist the resident doctor with taking your medical history, performing physical exams or updating your chart. Even if they're still getting hands-on experience, you
shouldn't worry when an intern is assigned to you. They're closely supervised by licensed doctors every step of the way. Feel free to interact with them, too. Not only do they practice doctor-patient interactions through the experience, but you'll also gain valuable health-related information from them. They can explain procedures in simpler terms or provide answers to the questions you may have yet to think of asking.

Enhancing your hospital experience through care team interaction

Part of eliminating the fear and anxiety you may feel while in a hospital is through open communication. Effective communication is the backbone of patient care, after all. Unfortunately, only 39% of patients say that their doctors are effective communicators. (2)

Build rapport

To build rapport between you and your care team, consider taking the initiative. Don't hesitate to ask any questions, no matter how minor the problem. The more you understand your health condition and the recommended treatment plans, the calmer you might feel while in the hospital.

Advocate for yourself

If you're in pain or need a listening ear, let your care team members know. Explain everything in detail as much as possible. Also, remember that you have a choice of doctor and hospital. Expressing your needs helps you pick your primary care provider and where you'd like to receive quality care.

Provide positive and constructive feedback

Don't forget to provide feedback on the team's care. Feedback helps the team improve services and interactions with you. Did the intern explain something well? Was the nurse a bit too rough on you? Questions like these are important to ask so your care team can tailor care to fit your preferences.

But remember to share some positives, too. Let them know if they've been excellent communicators. Show your appreciation whenever you can, as positive feedback can encourage the team to perform better.

The mutual benefits of patient and care team interaction

Being cared for by a medical care team may appear one-sided, but the people caring for you also learn a lot from you.

Educational opportunities for interns

As mentioned, medical interns are still in training, and every interaction they have with their patients is a learning opportunity. By sharing your concerns and observations, you can help them hone their communication skills and develop empathy, which builds trust in their future patients. (3)

Personalized care experience for patients

Clear and consistent communication aids your care team in formulating and personalizing your experience as a patient. For example, if you're a patient from a different culture or belief, letting the team know your situation may prompt them to invite a suitable doctor to care for you. One study shows that 32.9% of Hispanic patients deem it important to have a healthcare provider who shares the same culture as them or understands it. (4)

Creating a positive interaction

You also have a part to play in a positive experience in your hospital stays. Follow these tips for better interactions with the care team:
 Be Respectful: Treat all healthcare workers with courtesy and respect.
 Express Appreciation: A simple thank you goes a long way.
 Be Patient: Healthcare professionals are often busy, so practice patience.
Communication is a two-way street. When patients and care team members are comfortable
communicating, there is potential for better health outcomes.

Final thoughts

Hospitals may not be the most comfortable places, but knowing your care team can make a big difference. So, take time to communicate with them openly to reduce the stress and anxiety you feel in a hospital.

Don't be afraid to express your concerns and ask questions. By working together with your care team, you could be on the faster path to recovery.

1. Frequency of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms in Surgical Hospitalized Patients;
2. Did You Choose a Good Doctor?; Source:
3. Patient's views of empathic and compassionate healthcare interactions: A scoping
review; Source:
4. Reported Importance and Access to Health Care Providers Who Understand or Share
Cultural Characteristics With Their Patients Among Adults, by Race and Ethnicity;

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The growth within a laboratory of microbes, organisms too small to be seen with the naked eye. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
An element present in haemoglobin in the red cells. Full medical glossary
Tiny, harmless, hard, white spots that usually occur in clusters around the nose and on the upper cheeks in newborn babies and also in young adults. Full medical glossary
A craving to eat non-food substances such as earth or coal. Full medical glossary
A tube placed inside a tubular structure in the body, to keep it patent, that is, open. Full medical glossary
Relating to injury or concern. Full medical glossary