Trauma Care and Recovery Guide

Your health-care team

Many hospital staff will look after you while you are in the hospital. Different patients will need different types of care, depending on their medical needs. Here is a list of the health-care workers you may meet or hear about:

Staff Doctor: "Most Responsible Physician" (MRP)

Depending on your injuries and your hospital unit, your staff doctor may be an intensivist, a general surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, a neurosurgeon or a plastic surgeon. The staff doctor manages a team of residents who look after your day-to-day medical care. You will see the residents most often.

Residents and Fellows: "Team Doctors"

Licensed doctors who are training in a chosen specialty. They provide all the routine medical care and keep the staff doctor (MRP) updated daily about each patient’s progress.

Bedside Nurse

Directs nursing care to the patient and gives medication and most other treatments ordered by the doctors. For families, the bedside nurse is the main point of contact for updates on your loved one’s care and will help you reach out to the other members of the health-care team.

Unit Nursing Team Leader

Deals with daily needs of the unit, including nurse assignments and patient transfers in and out of the unit. He or she is a resource for all bedside nurses, helping with problem solving and support. The team leader is usually around during the days from Monday to Friday, and rotates on other shifts. The team leader usually sits in the nursing station.

Social Worker (SW)

Helps the patient and family cope with the stress that may result from a traumatic injury. The social worker provides counselling support, information, practical help, and resources throughout the health-care journey. The social worker also helps you and your family plan where you will go after you leave the hospital (called “discharge”).

Occupational Therapist (OT)

Works with the team to assess your level of function in basic personal care tasks such as feeding yourself, going to the washroom, getting dressed, and moving around safely. The OT has the knowledge and experience to look at safety, thinking skills (called “cognition”), and behaviour in order to plan for the next steps of care including discharge from the hospital. The goal is to help patients become independent and return to their level of functioning from before the injury.

Physiotherapist (PT)

Looks at your physical injuries and how they affect your movement, balance, ability to walk safely, and independence in daily activities. The PT also helps the team with planning for the next steps in care and discharge from the hospital.


Provides professional advice about nutrition for patients who require a special diet for their medical condition. The dietitian is involved in the care of all patients receiving tube feeding or IV nutrition, and for some patients who eat by mouth. A nutrition technician works with the dietitian to help patients who eat by mouth with special nutrition requirements and food preferences.

Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)

Looks at and treats problems with swallowing (which can affect a patient’s eating and drinking) and communication.


Reviews the patients’ medications, helping to make sure that all the medications are necessary and that each medication is effective and safe.

Spiritual Care Provider (Chaplain)

Provides spiritual and emotional care, offering support to patients, families, loved ones, and staff. Chaplains are here to listen and offer compassionate care to those of all faiths and religions and those who do not follow a faith or religion at all.

Respiratory Therapist (RT)

Looks at the patient’s breathing status when breathing assistance is needed (by using a ventilator or tracheostomy) and develops the breathing care plan.

Patient-Care Coordinator (PCC) on C5 ward only

Responsible for coordinating the overall medical care of the trauma patient, helping to make sure that there is clear communication between all the medical team members and the patient and family. The PCC will also help with your discharge plan (getting you out of the hospital).

Students and Interns

Sunnybrook is a teaching hospital. This means learners are key members of our care teams. We welcome more than 4,000 students in 38 health-care specialties each year. So, you will meet a variety of students during your hospital stay. Faculty instructors and/or Sunnybrook health professional staff supervise all students with the level of supervision geared to the students level of training.

Other unit staff

Patient-Care Manager (PCM)

Responsible for the overall operations of the unit, including quality care, patient safety, staffing, budget, and making sure policies are followed.

Advanced-Practice Nurse (APN)

Responsible for supporting the professional development, training and education of the bedside nurses.

Patient-Administrative Associate (PAA)

Provides office support for the unit and to all members of the team. The PAA sits at the nursing station, answer calls in the nursing station and helps make sure the unit runs smoothly.

Environmental-Service Provider (ESP)

Responsible for the cleaning and housekeeping of the unit, as well as disinfection procedures according to infection control policies.

Patient-Service Provider (PSP)

Helps the patients with some parts of personal care, delivers meal trays, gets supplies and keeps equipment in good shape.


Promotes safety by providing constant supervision and some hands on care to patients who may be restless or agitated.

Consulting services

Many other specialists are often consulted to help with patient care. Here are some examples:

Anesthesia and Pain-Management Specialists (APS)

Doctors and nurses who are experts in managing acute pain.

Thromboembolism Team (TE)

Team of doctors, nurses and pharmacists who work to prevent and manage blood clots in the body – a common risk after a trauma.

Geriatrics Team

Specialists in managing the unique care needs of patients over the age of 70.

Medical-Consults Service

Specialists in internal medicine who review and help manage medical issues such as heart, lung and kidney problems.

Psychiatry Team

Helps to assess and treat mental illness that may affect patients’ coping and recovery.


A rehabilitation (rehab) medicine doctor who specializes in treatment plans for pain, joint, and muscle issues.