A doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to your heart beat. Getty Images

A doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to your heart beat. Getty Images

There are many people in the community who look after our health and help us stay healthy.

Doctors and nurses

Doctors and nurses are an important part of a healthy community.  Doctors and nurses are people who are trained to look after sick or injured people, help prevent disease and keep us all in good health.  Both men and women can be doctors and nurses. They train at university and in hospitals. They have to study for many years and learn about many different areas of medicine. They learn to operate machines that help find out what is making someone ill, and some machines that help treat the illness.

A doctor writes a prescription for medicine. Getty Images

A doctor writes a prescription for medicine. Getty Images

When you are sick you visit a doctor in a clinic or private office. The doctor writes a prescription for medicines that will make you feel better. A prescription is an order for medicine, and is given to a pharmacist, also called achemist, who gives you the correct medicine and makes sure you know the right dose and when to take it. There are some medicines that you can get without a prescription. A chemist is an expert on medicines, and gives people advice about what medicines they can take. There are men and women who are chemists.

Doctors and nurses can work in special areas of medicine. Some look after patients who have cancer, or who have broken bones, or who have suffered burns. Some only look after children, or look after people with heart problems, or kidney problems. Some doctors are surgeons, which means they operate on patients. Some nurses only work in operating theatres helping surgeons. Some doctors work in research, trying to find better ways of treating illnesses.  Some nurses work in health centres checking on the health of babies and toddlers whose parents bring them to the centre. They weigh the babies and measure them to see that they are growing properly. They help parents by giving advice and helping solve any worries they may have. Sometimes patients are not sick enough to stay in hospital, but need to have bandages changed or special medicine given, and a nurse visits them in their home to do this.

Hospitals

A nurse is feeling a patient's pulse. Getty Images

A nurse is feeling a patient's pulse. Getty Images

A hospital is a place where people are treated for an illness or an injury. The people being cared for at a hospital are called patients.

Doctors and nurses work in a hospital to look after and care for the patients. Hospitals in big cities are usually very large buildings. But there are also smaller hospitals in most cities and in smaller communities. Some hospitals are special, they may be just for children, just for women or just for people who have cancer. Most general hospitals are for everyone. Many babies are born in a hospital.  A room in a hospital is called a ward. Some wards have many beds,  and some have just one or two.

Hospitals also have an emergency section, where people go after an accident or very sudden illness. Often they are taken there by road orhelicopter ambulance. Special teams of doctors and nurses trained to deal with emergencies work in this section. They treat people, send them for tests and x-rays to see the cause of the pain or the size of the injury. They bandage patients, stitch wounds, ease pain. Patients are then often moved to a ward in the hospital to stay, or they may be sent to an operating theatre.

There are doctors and nurses who work in hospitals, looking after patients who are too sick or injured to stay at home, or looking after mothers and newborn babies. Nurses carry out the instructions of the doctors, and keep an eye on their patients. They keep checking temperature and blood pressure, they give medicine and injections, they change bandages. They comfort people who are ill or in pain. There are nurses in each ward to look after the patients.  They are there all the time, and doctors visit the patients to see how they are improving and to say how each patient is to be treated. They write prescriptions for medicine that come from the hospital's chemist or pharmacy.   Doctors and nurses at the hospital know how to work the special machines that help them see inside a patient's body and find out what is wrong with a patient.  

Surgeons cover their clothes, hair and faces when operating on a patient. Getty Images

Surgeons cover their clothes, hair and faces when operating on a patient. Getty Images

Doctors called surgeons

Doctors called surgeons know how to look inside a patient and how to fix things there during an operation. Operations are done in a special room called the operating theatre. The doctors and nurses scrub their hands and arms, put on special clothes, and wear a cap and face mask.  This is because an operating theatre must be germ free.

Before a patient is operated on, they are given an anaesthetic ( say ann-us-thet-ic)  which puts them into a deep sleep so that they cannot feel anything during the operation.

After the operation, patients rest in the hospital until the doctor says they are ready to go home.

Many other people work at a hospital. They are cleaners, cooks and kitchen workers, and the people who work in the hospital office.

Inside the ambulance, a paramedic keeps watch on the patient until they reach the hospital. Getty Images

Inside the ambulance, a paramedic keeps watch on the patient until they reach the hospital. Getty Images

Ambulances and paramedics

Ambulances are used to take people to hospital.  Helicopters called air ambulances are also used to take sick and injured people to hospital.  The men and women who come with the ambulance or air ambulance are paramedics. They are trained to deal with a wide range of emergencies and injuries. They stop bleeding and pain, get the patient calm and ready to be moved to hospital for further treatment.  Ambulances get to the hospital fast. When their lights are flashing and the siren is going, cars must move out of the ambulance's way.

One paramedic stays with the patient in the ambulance, keeping them calm, making sure they are not getting worse.  When they get the patient to hospital, they tell the doctors in the emergency section what happened, what they have done, and other information the doctors need to know. 

In an emergency, in Australia dial 000.

Tell the operator what the emergency is and he or she will send ambulance, police or fire service, or all of them if needed.

You can find out more about a hospital and the people who work there.

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