The attending physician is the leader of the team and has responsibility for all decisions made that affect a person’s care, including diagnosis, treatments, and supervision of the remainder of the team.
Based on the problem that brought the person to the hospital, the attending physician may be a hospitalist (a doctor who is trained in internal medicine and works only with people who are hospitalized), a surgeon, or another specialist physician. In smaller communities, the person’s primary care doctor may act as the attending physician.
Some hospitals are designated as teaching hospitals. That is, the hospital team includes medical students who are at various stages of education and who are supervised by the attending physician.
A resident or intern is a fully licensed doctor who is engaged in further training after graduating from medical school.
Although these team members are not attending physicians, they are often active members of the team.