Why should healthcare professionals learn Spanish?
In Arizona a sizeable portion of our population has Limited English Proficiency (LEP). The Arizona Health Futures Report in its Policy Primer: Struggle to Communicate: Medical Interpretation in Arizona cites a critical need for medical professionals to be able to communicate with LEP patients in life-threatening medical situations. The report suggests that the need is for medically and linguistically competent interpreters of Spanish.
Trained medical interpreters, however, can expect to make from only $11.00 to $15.00 an hour according to the Report, which is not much of an incentive to pay for adequate training. The real need is for medical professionals themselves to be able to communicate directly with their patients and that is what this series of courses provides.
Furthermore, a Spanish speaking patient needs to be able to put trust in the provider and hear the provider directly not via an interpretation service via telephone or via an ad hoc interpreter who may be a medically unsophisticated family member. The Report even cites a situation in which not even an ad hoc interpreter was present to communicate with a patient who had appendicitis. The patient died because of the delay in diagnosis. There is no reason for this to ever be repeated in our state.
These courses in Healthcare Spanish will provide what Arizona really needs via the íSALUD! program which teaches not only enough Spanish to properly communicate with patients, but also provides understanding of the differences in Latin American culture which impact how those patients need to be approached in medical treatment.