It’s no news that becoming a medical professional requires years of higher education and residency. With eight years of higher education followed by three to seven years of residency training, those sleepless nights start to add up. However, in order to ensure a successful start in a medical profession, you must put in the hours to learn the necessary skills to perform at the hospital. All that effort put forth in medical school and residency seems to have paid off once you start working.
But what happens if you come across a situation where a patient doesn’t speak English? How are you going to communicate crucial information to them during medical procedures?
Well, it turns out that this situation might not be so unlikely in the United States. According to Instituto Cervantes, the United States is the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico! And this number is likely to grow significantly in our lifetime. Of course, medical school prepares doctors to perform surgeries and diagnose patients, but what happens if there is a language barrier between the doctor and the patient in the case of an emergency?
The good news is that there are plenty of Medical Spanish courses out there that will help you learn the required vocabulary to effectively communicate with patients. A visit to the hospital can already be stressful enough in your native language, but imagine how hard it can be for some Spanish-speakers to have to communicate their problems in a second language. By learning key medical terms in Spanish, doctors can minimize some of this stress and get a better idea of their patients’ needs. In this article, we will provide you with a list of courses that will make communication much easier with your Spanish-speaking patients.
Online Medical Spanish Courses
This well-organized website offers courses for NPs, Physicians and PAs, hospital nurses, office nurses, medical assistants, emergency responders, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and medical receptionists. Each course is organized into 25 chapters where you learn keywords that you are likely to use on a daily basis. For each chapter there are six learning activities, which take about five to ten minutes to complete.
The convenient thing about medicalspanish.com is that it is completely online and allows you to go at your own pace, whenever and wherever you want. Prices start at $69, which includes six months of access and a certificate of completion. You also have the option of paying a bit more to get 12 months of access.
This website is a great option for beginner-level medical professionals. The course lasts six weeks with a total of 24 course hours. It begins with the basics (numbers, colors, basic verb conjugations) and then moves on to key vocabulary words and phrases for anatomy, common medical problems, procedures, treatments, medications, and diets. Ed2go also teaches medical professionals how to make appointments, communicate feelings, and assess a patient’s mental status in Spanish.
Ed2go costs $99 to enroll but if you wish to dedicate more time, the website offers a Medical Spanish Series which gives you access to the Medical Spanish II course. This course covers more specific categories such as oncology, mental health, and dentistry.
Lengalia offers medical Spanish courses to professionals who already have an intermediate level of Spanish. Their Medical Spanish course is designed to extend already existing knowledge of medically-related Spanish. Lengalia recommends that you have a B1 level of Spanish to take their course and they offer an online Spanish placement test to evaluate your existing level.
The course contains five lessons which include a dialogue section, specialized texts and various interactive exercises designed to help you practice and enhance your knowledge. Each lesson contains a chapter that covers vocabulary and expressions which will help you to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients in a clear and natural way. Lengalia also provides downloadable audio files that make it easy to learn medical Spanish on the go.
The website offers a free trial lesson; however, if you wish to gain access to more material, you may purchase one of the plans (1 month, 3 months, or 12 months). A live tutor is included with any of the three plans, but the 12-month plan gives you access to 23 medical Spanish courses as well as podcasts and videos.
This is another website that is more suitable for medical professionals who already hold an intermediate level of Spanish and are looking to take their medical Spanish to the next level. However, Live Lingua’s course is different in that it is taught through Skype. Students are provided with materials and activities to improve their vocabulary and speaking skills while being guided by native Spanish-speakers who are experts in teaching medical Spanish.
Live Lingua’s Medical Spanish course is taught through eight 60-minute sessions and students are allowed to access them at any time. The sessions offer intensive training and role play activities to help medical professionals learn to interact and communicate with Spanish-speaking patients. The price of the course is $249; however, students may take a free trial lesson with one of Live Lingua’s tutors to ensure that it is the right course for them.
If you’re looking for something more on the go, you might want to give this application a try. Canopy has teamed up with the National Institutes of Health to develop an online medical Spanish course that prepares medical students and professionals to effectively communicate with Spanish-speaking patients. Students are exposed to common clinical scenarios, concepts, and terminology that enable them to deal with certain medical situations in Spanish.
Canopy uses a good mix of reading, writing, listening and speaking activities to emulate real-life situations with a tutor. But what differentiates this tool from others is that its video lessons have been customized with a Telenovela theme that exposes learners to the most common practitioner-patient interactions, providing users with authentic material that demonstrates how medical Spanish is actually used in real-life situations.
You may give this app a shot for free, however, pricing starts at $195 per level for a 12-month subscription.
Medical Spanish Courses in Spain
If you have more time to spare and are willing to travel, you might want to consider going to the motherland of the Spanish language to learn medical Spanish face-to-face with native teachers. Here are some schools that offer medical Spanish courses in Spain.
Located right in the center of Spain, Tilde Madrid offers the only medical Spanish course that is approved by the Official College of Doctors of Madrid. Their medical Spanish course covers general vocabulary of anatomy, medicine, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, common illnesses, and treatment. Tilde Madrid aims to make students capable of communicating in Spanish in real-life situations encountered at the hospital. Students are also given a firsthand look into the Spanish health system, allowing them to compare it with the system of their own countries.
Escuela Delengua is located in the southern city of Granada, home to the beautiful Alhambra palace. The school offers a Medical Spanish course to medical professionals and also prepares students for the Chamber of Commerce examination to obtain a Certificate of Medical Spanish from the Madrid Chamber of Commerce. The course is divided into two parts: the first being more comprehensive and the second going into further depth with the different specialties and fields of medicine.
Located on the northern coast of Spain in the city of Santander, Delta Language School has a Medical Spanish course that is based on a new interactive focus which provides medical professionals with a variety of activities in the classroom. Their program includes Spanish for different clinical cases, simulations of dealing with patients, an organized visit to a medical center, and a language exchange with Spanish health professionals. Delta offers several options for accommodation for an additional fee if you prefer to avoid the hassle of having to search on your own.
Centro MundoLengua organizes both group and individual medical Spanish courses in the southern cities of Seville and Cadiz. Their Spanish for Medical Professions course focuses on language used in the medical fields and expose students to cultural situations they may experience at the hospital. Students may also complement their classes with visits from local doctors to build new professional relationships while practicing their Spanish.
Centro MundoLengua gives students the opportunity to learn Spanish customs firsthand by living with a host family, which is carefully selected by the school. The program also includes interactive visits and excursions to expose students to the Spanish culture and workplace.
Escuela Montalban is another Spanish school located in Granada. Its Medical Spanish course consists of a Standard Spanish course with two private classes per day that focus more on terminology and phrases that pertain the student’s field or specialty. Escuela Montalban is accredited by the Madrid Chamber of Commerce and will prepare students for the exam to obtain the Chamber’s certificate in Medical Spanish. The school recommends at least four weeks of class in order to prepare for the exam.
With this list of 10 great resources and courses to learn medical Spanish, you will no longer have to stress out when you have to communicate with your Spanish-speaking patients. It will be comforting for them to know that you have put forth the effort to learn their language and it will show that you truly care about them. And you might enjoy it so much that you’ll start to speak Spanish outside of the hospital!