desperate to learn Spanish

Nurses General Nursing

Published

Hello.

I took over four years worth of Spanish nearly twenty years ago :uhoh21: and I need to know it now more than ever. I can not give decent patient care if I can not communicate with my patients! (sorry, after another day of clinicals, I feel like I am not doing my job or my best for my pt). I can follow conversations that the interpreter is having with a pt...only the general gist though...

Has anyone out there found a program or come up with a good way to get fluent in medical Spanish? I am a first year nursing student, totally overloaded but would really like to at least get started on this.

Any advice or directions would be greatly appreciated. :)

All_Smiles_RN

527 Posts

Specializes in Cardiology.

Take some time off, fly to Spain, and enjoy yourself for a few months while learning the language. Wouldn't that be nice? Now back to reality, lol. Maybe take a conversational spanish class as an elective? Or maybe find someone who speaks Spanish and is willing to have weekly "sessions" with you to try and get you more familair with the language? The more you hear it and use it, the more you'll learn it. Good luck!

...Jennifer...

PJMommy

517 Posts

Local colleges (esp. community colleges) often offer Spanish for Medical Professionals classes. Another option is to pick up some CDs and practice in the car -- again, I think you can get them for both conversational Spanish and Spanish for Med Profs. A couple of colleagues took a local college Spanish for Med Professionals class that met once a week. Neither of them had ever had any Spanish and can now at least communicate with their patients. They certainly are not interpreters but can communicate.

NO1_2NV

90 Posts

Was browsing through the medical secion at a Hastings book store a few weeks back and interestingly enough found a book and tapes for learning medical Spanish. Was thinking about picking it up for summer learning. Perhaps Amazon has a listing of Spanish language medical CD's or tapes?

Post back if you find one that looks promising. It would be great to know if you find one and if it turns out to be helpful.:specs:

James Huffman

473 Posts

I struggle with the language issue, too. North Carolina has had a huge influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants over the last 10 years, and we are also having a lot of south Asian immigrants (speaking Lao and Vietnamese, among others).

I dealt with this in my blog, which I've reprinted. I found the Primsleur program to be very, very good on learning a language.

Jim Huffman, RN

Do you need to learn a language, fast?

It's an old truism that Americans don't learn foreign languages. And by and large, we don't.

But I have always loved language -- both ours, and others -- and I am currently learning Mandarin, one of the several Chinese languages, and the one commonly known as "the common tongue" in mainland China.

I'm writing today to recommend the system I'm using: the Primsleur method, which is done entirely by sound, without textbooks, and is really good. (To give you and idea, I've been working this through for 2 days, and I'm already speaking -- albeit roughly -- whole sentences).

How does apply to you and your career?

First, Spanish is something you simply must learn. Spanish-speaking immigrants are moving into more and more areas of the US, and while they might not ever mistake you for a native speaker, even the most elementary Spanish knowledge will serve you well with your clients.

Secondly, how do you think any language would look on a resume? If your resume lists you as, say, knowledgable in Spanish and Russian, do you not suspect you'd have a leg up on those who don't?

The Primsleur courses are offered on Amazon, as if I needed to tell you. I actually got mind through http://audible.com But whatever you do, get these. Listen to them on the way to work, and you'll have a painless, easy (and probably tax deductible) new language under your belt.

NurseTab

24 Posts

Another option is distance learning. I am looking into a Spanish emersion course to beef up my Nursing School application and came across this: http://www.onlinelearning.washington.edu/ol/intros/span121/default.html

It is a video tape course where you watch a Spanish language soap opera called Destinos. A friend took a Spanish class several years ago with Destinos and LOVED IT! Destinos es muy bueno.

It might not help with the medical part, but it should be FUNNY! :chuckle

Fun2, BSN, RN

5,586 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room.
Another option is distance learning. I am looking into a Spanish emersion course to beef up my Nursing School application and came across this: http://www.onlinelearning.washington.edu/ol/intros/span121/default.html

It is a video tape course where you watch a Spanish language soap opera called Destinos. A friend took a Spanish class several years ago with Destinos and LOVED IT! Destinos es muy bueno.

It might not help with the medical part, but it should be FUNNY! :chuckle

We used the Destinos in my spanish classes I took. If I remember right, it was the 2nd and 3rd classes. (4 total) I can't remember about the 1st class.

I did like it, though.

NurseFirst

614 Posts

We used the Destinos in my spanish classes I took. If I remember right, it was the 2nd and 3rd classes. (4 total) I can't remember about the 1st class.

I did like it, though.

My 2nd quarter spanish instructor recommended going down to Mexico (specifically, I believe, Ensenada in Baja California) for a week or two to really "cement" one's spanish speaking ability--to really take it to the next level. The programs she recommended were like $140 week for the intensive classes and maybe $180 for housing with a local family.

I'm always amazed at the number of spanish-fluent anglo health care pros in my area...!

NurseFirst

alanpe

84 Posts

To learn Spanish one need time and practice, it is not possible to learn a new language in 6-12 months; 12 months is enough to learn the basic concepts, neither is posible to learn spanish in 2 or three months coming to Spain.

Patience, yes, patience is important.

I was born in Spain, and i am 45 years old, even today to understand some words I need a dictionary, though i speak a perfect spanish I have sometime this problem, of course it happen very litle.

Translation:

"Para aprender Espanol se necesita tiempo y práctica, no es posible aprender una nueva lengua en 6-12 meses; 12 meses es suficiente para aprender los conceptos básicos, tampoco es posible aprender Espanol en dos o tres meses viniendo a Espana.

Paciencia, sí paciencia es importante.

Yo nací en Espana, y tengo 45 anos, incluso hoy para entender algunas palabras necesito un diccionario, aunque hablo un perfecto espanol, tengo algunas veces este problema, por supuesto esto ocurre muy poco."

So I can help you, do not think that wasting money you will learn more quickly, take a look to spanish web sites, try some tv programms in spanish, and of course, if you like I will take you a hand.

Do pracice with good people :) and good books:Melody: .

alanpe.

Hello.

I took over four years worth of Spanish nearly twenty years ago :uhoh21: and I need to know it now more than ever. I can not give decent patient care if I can not communicate with my patients! (sorry, after another day of clinicals, I feel like I am not doing my job or my best for my pt). I can follow conversations that the interpreter is having with a pt...only the general gist though...

Has anyone out there found a program or come up with a good way to get fluent in medical Spanish? I am a first year nursing student, totally overloaded but would really like to at least get started on this.

Any advice or directions would be greatly appreciated. :)

James Huffman

473 Posts

The TV suggestion is a good one. There used to be (maybe still is) a very good soap opera from Spain called "Gorda Bella" (or something like that). The story-line was unbelievable, but easy to follow, and the dialogue helped me in trying to deal with actual Spanish conversation.

Another suggestion I have is to not be afraid. In other words, use whatever Spanish (or whatever language you're learning) with any native speakers you meet. Most people will be flattered that you are trying, and eager to help.

Jim Huffman, RN

Jayla

129 Posts

I took two medical Spanish courses in nursing school (beginner and intermediate) and had several years of Spanish about 10 years before, so I had a fairly good background I guess. To bring it back, I listen to music with Spanish lyrics (like Buena Vista Social Club, Lhasa de Sela), watch Spanish language movies and try NOT to read the subtitles, and make medical Spanish vocab flashcards that I try to review as often as possible.

I also particpated in a medical Spanish immersion course in Guatemala last summer. It was relatively inexpensive and a great experience. I learned not only about language but culture as well. I did it through Amerispan (www.amerispan.com).

Now, I work with many Spanish speaking patients, and although I'm by no means fluent, every day it gets easier!

Alicia18

126 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics.

I've taken two years of Spanish (4 different classes, though!) in highschool, and I was pleased to see how much of it had stuck with me when I tried to to decipher your Spanish message without referring to the translation, alanpe! :) Considering how important Spanish is in healthcare (and since people are going to assume I speak Spanish anyway with a last name like Fernandez :chuckle ), I should probably make a special effort to take Spanish in college even if it does mean more classes. Can anyone say adios, electives? :rolleyes: I only get two my whole four years because the nursing program is so intense! :bugeyes:

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