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Benefits of an Academic Medical Center

Why choose an academic medical center for your care?

Top doctors
State-of-the-art facilities
Latest applications of approved clinical research

Washington University Medical Center is home to Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital, Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, the Central Institute for the Deaf and the Goldfarb School of Nursing. Also located on the Medical Center campus are the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, The Rehabilitation Institute of St Louis, Shriner's Hospital for Children, and the pathology laboratories at the Cortex Center.

These units provide world-class patient care (outpatient and inpatient), research (basic and clinical) and teaching (for physicians and other healthcare fields). All have received top national honors in their respective fields.


Who are the doctors?

Attending Physicians - Washington University full-time employed physicians, board-certified in their medical specialty, are responsible for every patient's care. Because they contribute to the medical literature, they are most up-to-date with the latest methods of treatment. You will be seen by at least one attending physician, but may also receive care from the physician team, including:

Fellows - A medical fellow is a licensed physician who has completed medical school and has completed a 3-7 year specialty residency program in an accredited hospital. He or she is now receiving an additional 1-3 years training in an advanced specialty (sometimes called a subspecialty) in fields like anesthesiology, oncology, vascular surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, cardiology.

Residents - A resident is a licensed physician who has completed medical school and is taking additional training to become board-certified in a specialty, (e.g. pediatrics, surgery, gynecology, medicine.) If you are an inpatient, you will see resident physicians on daily rounds, checking your progress. The Barnes-Jewish Center for Outpatient Health, is a resident clinic for several specialties. Low-cost care is provided by residents, always supervised by an attending physician.

Medical Students - identified by their short lab jackets, learn the principles and practices of medicine in simulated labs. They may participate in the team visits to your bedside.

Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants - these are nationally licensed health care providers who are trained at the Master's Degree level in their fields. They are authorized to perform certain treatments and patient education under the direction of the attending physician

Why so many people?

At an academic medical center, you will be seen by at least two physicians, and if you are part of daily hospital rounds, you may be seen by a team of three to seven people. With your cooperation, these discussions actually contribute to your care, as different opinions are discussed, considered, and the best path chosen. It can seem repetitive to explain your situation over and over to different teams, but you can become part of the teaching process by learning to accurately assess and describe your own health status.


Will I be a "guinea pig" in research without my knowledge?

No, you will not. One advantage of coming to an academic medical center is access to clinical trials. These can be life-saving or life-changing alternatives to regular medical treatments. They are procedures or medicines that are in the last phases of approval by the federal government. Today's rules for enrollment in a clinical trial are very, very stringent. You will ALWAYS be asked to give your consent for any experimental procedures only after receiving a full explanation the risks and benefits. Learn more information about clinical trials at Washington University and how to enroll. The National Institutes of Health also provides detailed information at clinicaltrials.gov

Will you join us?

We hope you consider the benefits of receiving your specialty care at Washington University Medical Center.  We focus on each patient with a goal of providing the best medical treatment available.