You should be able to find several indispensable facts in this article about the usefulness of learning Spanish for the Health Care professions. If there’s at least one fact you didn’t know before, imagine the difference it might make.
If you are a nurse, doctor, paramedic or any type of health care professional, I’m sure you are aware of the number of people requiring health care who speak languages other than English. Depending on your geographical location, many of the people you will provide for are Spanish speakers. It goes without saying that if you are working at a health care clinic in Korea town, you probably will find very few Spanish speaking patients. But for the most part, almost everywhere you practice health care, you will find Spanish speaking patients.
Being able to communicate in Spanish can be very advantageous. Numerous studies have shown that language barriers hinder access to health care, lessen the quality of care and increase the risk of negative health outcomes. In fact, it is very important to your practice of health care. For instance you may find it difficult to determine what level of pain your patient has if you can’t ask in Spanish. The family members might not be available to translate, if they speak English. Knowing how to understand someone who is trying to describe his chest pains could be a matter of life or death.
In southern California, there are six different species of rattlesnakes. A program on Animal Planet called “Venom ER” highlights Dr. Bush and his treatment of snakebite victims brought to Loma Linda University Hospital.
Imagine you work at the Emergency Room at Loma Linda University Hospital. The paramedics have just brought in a snakebite victim who only speaks Spanish. He is trying to describe the snake that bit him. As the health care provider on duty, wouldn’t it be helpful if you could communicate directly with your patient, instead having to find an interpreter?
Is everything making sense so far? Knowing how to ask basic questions can greatly lend to the successful treatment of your patients. Not knowing how could result in a negative outcome.
On the monetary side of things, most insurers will not pay for language translation. Funding language services falls mainly on the shoulders of the hospitals. Eighty-two percent of hospitals that were surveyed indicated their dependence on bilingual clinical staff. Seventy-nine percent of those hospitals that responded to surveys indicated that training on how to respond to patients and family members who do not speak English would be helpful.
While hospitals and other health care institutions may not offer language pay, learning Spanish is definitely recommended. Finding the time is another story. Between long shifts, in-training, and family or social life, finding time to go to school is difficult to say the least.
Learning Spanish on line, or from a course purchased on line, should definitely be considered. It has many advantages. You can study at your own pace, when you have time. You can use interactive programs on your computer or listen to Cds in your car, or download lessons to your MP3 player.
However you decide to do it, it will benefit you and your patients.