As nurse or doctor, how do you manage a non English speaking patient? As a physician in the hospital, do you just say nothing because what you're doing doesn't require the patient to speak? Do you call an honest to God breathing human being from an interpreter services every time you need to give the patient a medication or conduct an interview?
Translation services are expensive. In fact, the cost of utilizing a translator in the outpatient clinic is often greater than the fee paid for the medical service being provided. For this reason, many clinics won't accept non English speaking patients because they simply can't afford the cost associated with that care. That's a result of the failure of government to provide for their citizens, not of doctors to care for patients.
In the hospital, obtaining foreign language translation is easy. I pick up one of those three way phones and talk directly to the patient. But there is apparently another much cheaper way to communicate with non English speaking patients. I know this because I have seven years of experience watching bedside Spanish translation in the hospital says so. You only have to do two things.
- Talk slower
- Talk louder
Some how, some way, doing these two things negates the need for a formal translation service No need for these expensive real time translators. This method is free. And it works. I know it works because I see doctors and nurses doing it all the time. Plus, as an added bonus, the patient is always smiling, leading me to believe they are highly satisfied with this form of communication. This original Happy Hospitalist ecard helps to explain:
This post is for entertainment purposes only and likely contains humor only understood by those in a healthcare profession. Read at your own risk.