Working and communicating with patients is already challenging, but with an added language barrier, it can be a stressor for both the doctor and the patient.
Dr. Martin, in his first semester of optometry school, encountered a Spanish speaking patient who was nervous and frustrated about her upcoming exam. The patient was horrified of a growth on her eye (later identified as Pterygium), and the language barrier only made that stress worse.
With this patient, and many like her, in mind Dr. Martin went on to develop a Spanish speaking guide for optometrists for working with Spanish speaking patients that includes key phrases and ways to discuss care.*
It’s important to remember, that using this guide to broach communication with a patient can go a long way. Even if you do not use Spanish to conduct the entire exam, even making the attempt to use key phrases is a great way to make your patient that much more comfortable.
If you are looking to further develop your skills using Spanish in the exam room, the National Eye Institute of Health has a plethora of free pamphlets and downloadables that you can use. Even if you are new to learning Spanish, being able to properly diagnose a patient and give them a resource that they can read in their own language can make a world of difference in the patient experience.
For additional resources, check out:
- Dr. Martin Diaz’s Website which has excellent patient education in Spanish as well as a way to find Spanish-speaking doctors.
- Optranslate: A website / App that is for multiple languages
- National Eye Institute has resources in Spanish as well, many are free to request and download
Additionally, if you need office documents translated you can contact Dr. Martin via email: firstname.lastname@example.org