What is a Teaching Hospital?

Teaching Hospitals: At the Forefront of Medicine

Group of Doctors

Teaching hospitals deliver a higher level of care to their patients. Renowned throughout the world for the quality of their programs, America’s teaching hospitals are responsible for training new generations of physicians and are the frontrunners in medical research and technology.

With leading community teaching hospitals, RWJBarnabas Health attracts the state's top physicians who are committed to academic and medical excellence through their role as members of the hospital’s teaching faculty. Keeping abreast of the latest medical developments and the most advanced technology are two benefits of our role as respected teaching hospitals.

What is a Teaching Hospital?

Graduate medical education is the final phase of training for physicians who have successfully completed medical school. Teaching hospitals are the heart of graduate medical education. Attending physicians provide supervised training and guidance for the medical school graduates––also known as resident physicians––in a hospital setting.

Our teaching hospitals prepare medical graduates for practice in many accredited programs, including Anesthesiology, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics-Gynecology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Radiology, Neurological Surgery, and Podiatric Surgery. RWJBarnabas Health is a major teaching affiliate of the Rutgers University-New Jersey Medical School, New York, The New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, and St. Georges University School of Medicine, Grenada. RWJBarnabas Health is also a clinical site for both of New Jersey’s Physician Assistant Training Schools.

Providing ‘Round the Clock Physician Care

Resident physicians function as part of the health care team to deliver the highest quality patient care under the supervision of practicing physician-teachers.

Upon your arrival, your resident, under the guidance of your physician, will review the history of your current illness and past medical history. A physical examination will be performed to substantiate previous findings and evaluate changes. Some of the questions and procedures may seem repetitive, particularly given the anxiety that comes from being hospitalized. Be assured that the resident is acting in your best interest, as an essential member of your health care team.

Your resident will be in close touch with your physician to provide updates on your condition. Frequently, this new information on your progress will speed your recovery. While the resident may not be able to answer all of your questions immediately, he or she will respond as soon as possible. Please remember that laboratory test results and consultations need to be evaluated by your attending physician, who has the ultimate responsibility for your care. When your attending physician cannot be in the hospital, the resident physician will continue to act as his/her eyes and ears 24 hours a day.

Patient Guide

The following information is designed to provide patients with an introduction to some of the health care professionals they may meet during a stay at the Medical Center. We hope patients find this partial list to be helpful and informative.

Attending physician: A doctor who has been educated, trained and licensed to practice the art and science of medicine, and who is responsible for the care of patients. Attending physicians supervise patient care performed by residents.

Resident physician: A physician serving in the hospital as part of his/her graduate medical education. Resident physicians receive supervised clinical training under the direction of an attending physician.

Chief resident physician: A physician in the final year of a residency program or in the year after the residency has finished, playing an important role in guiding new residents. Intern: Not used as often, a term referring to individuals in the first year of residency.

Hospitalists: Licensed attending physicians who spend most of their time serving as the physician for inpatients in the hospital. Hospitalists take over the care of hospitalized patients, returning them to the care of their primary care providers upon discharge.

Nurse Practitioner: A registered nurse with at least a master’s degree in nursing and advanced education in the primary care of a particular group of patients.

Registered Nurse (R.N.): A nurse who has graduated from an accredited nursing program and has been registered and licensed to practice by the state.

Licensed Practical Nurse (L.P.N.): A nurse who has graduated from a school of practical (vocational) nursing and is licensed to practice by the state.

Physicians’ Assistant: A health care professional who is certified by the National Commission on Certification of PA’s in conjunction with the National Board of Medical Examiners. Physicians’ Assistants are licensed to practice certain aspects of medicine care (history taking, physical examination and diagnosis, the treatment of common medical problems) under the supervision of a licensed physician.

Health Care Team: The Medical Center has a variety of allied health care professionals working in a variety of fields. These specialists are trained in areas such as drawing blood, using diagnostic scans, performing laboratory testing and regulating dietary needs.

Students in Health Care Fields: The Medical Center provides a setting for the education of a variety of students who are being trained in a health care field, including medical students, those in nursing, pharmacy, and physician assistant programs. These students continue their medical education by observing practices in the clinical setting.