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Your Trauma Health Care Team

It is important for family members to be involved in the care of their loved ones. The goal at UPMC Presbyterian is to work with the family as active team players in an effort to bring loved ones a step closer to home.

Staff Roles

Many different health care providers and staff work with patients in the trauma units at UPMC Presbyterian. This is a partial list of the individuals who are most likely to be involved in patient care, and their roles. If someone comes into the room and you do not recognize them, please ask them to introduce themselves and to explain their roles.

Physicians, advanced practice providers, and students

  • Attending physicians direct care and oversee residents and medical students.
  • Fellows and residents have a medical degree, are doing specialized training in the field, and contribute to patient care.
  • Advanced practice providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who work with the attending physician, and may provide direct care to your loved one during their hospital stay.
  • Students from a wide variety of disciplines — medicine, nursing, and physical therapy — are involved in the inpatient units and are learning actively from our staff about their respective areas of study.

Nursing staff

  • The unit director is a nurse who has overall responsibility for daily operation of the unit, and oversees the nursing staff.
  • Primary nurse care coordinators (PNCCs) are registered nurses who oversee your plan of care, round with physicians, and serve as a liaison between patients, families, and the entire medical team.
  • Registered nurses (RNs) plan, direct, and supervise nursing care and are responsible for carrying out the doctors’ instructions.
  • Care managers are registered nurses who assist families in preparing for care needs following hospitalization.

Other health professionals — providers who will work with your loved one, but who are not doctors or nurses

  • Clinical social workers assist patients and their families in coping with the emotional effects brought on by illness and hospitalization, and in planning for discharge or other needs.
  • Pharmacists work with doctors and nurses to develop and monitor medication plans.
  • Physical and occupational therapists help patients regain strength and coordination.
  • Registered dietitians provide recommendations to doctors about special diets.
  • Respiratory therapists provide breathing treatments, exercises, and techniques.

Other staff members

  • Patient care technicians and nurse assistants work with the nursing staff to assist patients with daily needs.
  • Health unit coordinators serve as the patient unit receptionists, and answer telephones and update patient charts.
  • Patient relations representatives are laypeople employed by the hospital who can assist patients and families with any need that comes about during a hospital stay. Some of these needs might include discounted parking and meal vouchers for prolonged hospital stays, acting as a patient and family advocate if difficult situations arise, or just being a familiar face throughout a patient’s hospitalization.


Rounding is the daily way that members of the trauma team see patients in the many locations at UPMC Presbyterian. The team typically begins at one end of the unit, and works though each unit that has trauma patients.

In a large teaching institution such as UPMC Presbyterian that has many trauma patients, the team approach works well in providing the best medical care for patients. It encourages collaboration in patient care, and provides education for the next generation of physicians, nurses, and other health care providers.

The trauma team at UPMC Presbyterian is the primary care team that coordinates care of patients who have multiple traumatic injuries. This team consists of attending physicians, fellows and residents, medical students, nurses, case workers, and other professionals. Other divisions, such as orthopaedics, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, and rehabilitation medicine also may be involved in patient care.

Rounding by the trauma team usually happens in the mornings, although the time is somewhat unpredictable, as the trauma team also takes care of newly injured patients, attends to other surgical emergencies, and performs multiple surgical procedures each day. Please ask your loved one’s nurse about what general time rounding may happen that day.

Early in the morning, the patients are examined and information is collected by medical students, residents, and nurses, who then present this information to the senior members of the team.

During rounds, the patients are examined by the team, and treatment and testing decisions are made and communicated to the patient and family members. Plans for eventual hospital discharge also are coordinated with the assistance of nursing, case managers and in discussion with the patient and family.