Our cancer care team is comprised of a team of pediatric specialists who are experts in all aspects of treating childhood cancers. They will guide patient and family through treatment plans, emergency care, side effects, preventive medicine, and more. They can also offer support and education to you and your family. Members of your care team include:

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Physicians

 

Attending Physicians- Hematologist, Oncologist, Transplanter

Your child’s doctor is called an attending physician. The attending physician is an experienced specialist in both medicine for children (pediatrics), hematology (blood), and cancer (oncology). A doctor who specializes in treatment for cancer is called an oncologist. The attending physician is the head of your child’s care team. There are several attending doctors in the service line that may be involved in your child’s care.

Fellow

A fellow is a licensed pediatric doctor who has completed medical school and residency and is now completing specialty training. The fellows that will work with your child are getting specialty training in the care of children with cancer (oncology) or blood disorders (hematology). Fellows train in these specialty areas for three additional years after completing a pediatric residency. The attending doctor teaches the fellows and oversees all of the care that is provided.

Resident

A resident has completed medical school and earned the title of doctor. Residents from the University of Utah School of Medicine work in teams to provide care for children at Primary Children’s Hospital. They are learning to care for children as part of their training as pediatricians. Residents work under the direction of the fellows and attending doctors.

Primary Care Physician

our primary care physician or the doctor who recommended that your child be seen by cancer specialists will be contacted once a definite diagnosis is made. A letter that outlines your child’s needs and treatment plan will be sent to your doctor. Then we will continue to send regular updates. Generally, a letter is sent after each inpatient admission or every three months when your child is seen in the clinic. When your child completes therapy, a final letter will be sent to your doctor. For these reasons, it is important for you to let us know if you change family doctors. Your child’s doctor may assist with administration of some chemotherapy to your child if he has staff that is qualified to give these treatments. Your child’s doctor will continue to see your child for runny noses, sore throats, skin rashes, etc., unless the illness is related to cancer treatment. If you live a great distance from Primary Children’s Hospital, your child’s doctor becomes our eyes and ears for your child’s care. It is difficult to tell if you should be concerned about a change in your child’s health when we communicate over the telephone. We will often ask your child’s doctor to see your child and call us if there is any concern.

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Advanced Practice Providers

 

Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a nurse with an advanced degree in nursing. These nurses are trained to do physical exams and procedures, write prescriptions, oversee daily care of patients in clinic or in the hospital, and coordinate care for each patient. The NP’s that you will meet are trained specifically to care for oncology patients. Nurse practitioners work under the direction of the attending doctor.

Physician Assistant

A physician assistant (PA) is a person with a bachelor’s degree who has done two years of training to be a physician extender. The PA is trained to do physical exams and procedures, oversee daily care of patients in clinic or hospital, and coordinate care for each patient and works under the license of the attending doctor.

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Nurses, Techs and Care Coordinators

 

Registered Nurses (RN)

A registered nurse has graduated with an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and has passed a licensing examination. The nurses in the Hematology/Oncology/ Transplant service line at PCMC are also specially trained to work with children who have cancer or blood disorders. All nurses who administer chemotherapy have taken a class and passed a test from the national Association of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurses (APHON) to assure that they are trained to safely give chemotherapy to children and adolescents.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)/Patient Care Tech (PCT)

A CNA or Tech has completed a certificate program and has passed a licensing exam to be a nurse extender. CNAs/PCTs can take vital signs, help with bath and linen changes, transport patients, stock supplies, and perform other duties to assist the nurse with patient care. Everything a CNA/PCT does is under the direction of the RN.

Case Manager/ Discharge Planner

A discharge planner is a nurse who coordinates and communicates with members of the complete care team, including you and home care services, to assure that you will have the supplies and support you need to care for your child at home. The service line has a designated Discharge Planner to assist with this process.

Care Coordinators

Care Coordinators are Registered Nurses who help manage the care of a specific group of patients. Examples of Coordinators include Leukemia/Lymphoma Coordinators, Brain Tumor Coordinators, Hemophilia Coordinators, and Bone Marrow Transplant Coordinators. The nurses work with the medical team, family, home care agencies, and other hospital departments to coordinate care. This may include items such as arranging hospital admissions, scheduling procedures or scans, and monitoring the progress of patients when at home.

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Pediatric Psychologist

 

Pediatric Psychologists have doctoral degrees in psychology (PhD or PsyD) and specialize in working with children/families in medical settings.  In pediatric oncology, pediatric psychologists do psychological consultation and psychotherapy to asses and facilitate adjustment to illness and help treat comorbid mental health problems.  Some pediatric psychologists also do neurocognitive/neuropsychological testing to evaluate patients for “late effects” that may impact their functioning following treatment for certain types of cancer (such as brain tumors and leukemia).

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Patient and Family Support

 

Social Worker

The social workers on your child’s care team have earned an advanced degree in social work and are experts in the psychological and social effects of cancer on the family. They can help you through a crisis or day-to-day problems with family, school, or work. Social workers can also point you to additional community resources. The goal of these team members is to help your family cope with financial, social, or psychological problems. The social worker can also assist you to meet with a financial counselor from Primary Children’s Hospital.

Child Life Specialists

Child life specialists are skilled professionals with a bachelor’s degree or higher and have earned a certificate in the care of hospitalized children. Child life specialists meet the developmental needs of patients and families in healthcare settings. Through age-appropriate activities and interactions, children are encouraged to express their fears, angers, and concerns. Child life specialists also prepare patients and families for procedures and help them cope with their healthcare experiences.

Parent Support Coordinator

The parent support coordinator is a parent of a child who has had cancer. The Parent Support Coordinator can meet you and provide support. The coordinator also can get you in contact with other families of children with cancer. It can be helpful to talk with other parents who have had similar experiences.

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Registered Dietitian

 

A dietitian has a college degree and is an expert in nutrition for children with illness. The dietitian watches your child’s weight, height, and other growth measures during treatment and can talk with you about improving your child’s nutrition. The dietitian is available on most regular clinic days and every day in the inpatient area.

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Pharmacist

 

The pediatric pharmacists have completed doctoral or professional training related to the safe use of medications.  They counsel team members and families on medication dosages, treatments, side effects, and safety. They have additional training in chemotherapies and other medications specific to the treatment of patients with cancer, transplants, or bleeding disorders.

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