Communication is critical to providing quality health care. Good communication helps ensure an accurate diagnosis, and helps the patient to understand the options that are available to them. At Women’s Health Clinic, Inc., we have committed to ensuring good communication by hiring multilingual staff. We currently have in-house translators fluent in-
To help our bilingual staff members fulfill their role as interpreters, we encourage them to follow these general rules:
- Use the universal form of the language whenever possible. Regional words and meanings may be confusing or misleading to patients, regardless of what language they speak. Many languages have a universal or “high” form of the language that is free of regional words and dialects and can be understood by native speakers from all regions.
- Refrain from assuming the role of interviewer or decision maker. Instead, our staff members encourage and help maintain conversation between the medical staff and patient.
- Let the patient lead the discussion. In general, it is best to let the patient direct the flow of conversation. Our staff members refrain from interrupting the patient, other than asking him or her to slow down or pause for a moment for the interpreting staff member to bring the physician into the conversation.
- Translate everything. Extra conversation between the interpreting staff member and the patient or physician that is not interpreted to the other party can lead to miscommunication and subsequent errors. Our staff members convey everything that was said without additions, deletions or changes to the meaning.
- Be aware of culturally significant issues that affect patient care, and translate in a way that conveys the cultural framework. Our staff members try to translate to the patient and the physician in a way that communicates the cultural context of the conversation.
- Seek continuing education. To improve their interpretation skills, we encourage our staff to participate in educational programs.
There are a very few social situations that are more stressful and frustrating than to not be able to communicate with others. Providing for good communication with our patients is another way Women’s Health Clinic, Inc. provides a therapeutic environment for our patients.