What Is a University Hospital?
UConn Health is often referred to as an “academic medical center” or “university hospital.” These terms are used to describe hospitals that have missions that extend well beyond patient care.
University hospitals pursue three related enterprises:
- Education: Training medical students and resident physicians.
- Research: Creating new knowledge by conducting basic science and clinical investigation.
- Patient care: Delivering comprehensive health care services through one or more hospitals, physician office practices, and out-patient clinics.
This results in a health care system that provides access to the most up-to-date treatments and encourages the highest standards of quality care and patient safety.
It also fosters an environment where many people are always thinking about the patient’s condition, leading to collaboration across medical specialties and more thorough patient care.
During a visit to UConn Health, you are likely to encounter physicians with different titles. Here’s what they mean:
Attending physician: The attending physician is board-certified in a specialty or sub-specialty (such as gynecologic oncology) and is ultimately responsible for directing the care of the patient. Attending physicians are members of the UConn faculty and are responsible for the training and education of the house staff (or house officers) and medical students, as well as advancing the field of medicine through their research interests.
House staff: Sometimes referred to as house officers. The house staff is a broad term for all physicians who have completed medical school and are continuing their training. They are directly and closely involved in the care of the patient, but report to the attending physician who oversees the complete care of each patient. There are three categories of house staff:
Fellow: A fellow is a physician who is board-certified in
a primary specialty and is completing additional training to become
board-certified in a sub-specialty.
Resident: A resident is a medical doctor who is completing a training program to become board-certified in a specialty field such as internal medicine.
Intern: An intern is a medical school graduate in the first year of a residency training program. Interns are usually the physicians most directly involved in a patient’s care and are supervised by residents, fellows, and attending physicians.
Medical student: Medical students often participate in the care and evaluation of both inpatients and outpatients to gain the experience they need to become a fully trained doctor. They are supervised at all times by a physician such as an intern, resident, fellow, or attending.