¡Bienvenidos! If you picked up this phrasebook, chances are that you have come across patients belonging to the fastest growing minority in the United States: Spanish-speakers. Whether you are a doctor, a nurse, or any other health care professional, you have taken an important first step to be able to communicate with your patients.
The next step is to actually use this phrase book and communicate with your patients! Up to now, you may have relied on others to be able to communicate. Family members and support staff are often summoned to translate or interpret for non-English speakers. This compromises confidentiality and increases the risk of receiving distorted information. This phrase book is designed for health care professionals with little or no formal background in Spanish who want to make a difference in these situations. Phrases and vocabulary are organized thematically so they are easily accessible. In most cases, all you have to do is find the phrase you need and read it exactly as it is presented.
In your line of work, efficient communication is key as you deal with health issues and people's lives. In this phrase book you will find phrases and vocabulary clearly listed to communicate in a variety of situations. Have it handy so you can refer to it as needed. Take your time and, if necessary, use the transliterations to make sure you are understood. Questions are designed to elicit simple and clear answers so communication with your patients is not hindered. The goal, of course, is to make sure you get the right symptom and prescribe the appropriate dose.
Keeping all this in mind, don't let it get in the way of your new adventure as a language learner! Communicating in Spanish does not have to be a chore. The key is to have fun. You may initially use this phrase book to look up phrases as you need them. As you continue using it, you will probably find yourself using more and more of the language spontaneously. You may feel warm satisfaction as you say your first Spanish phrase without looking it up. It will be time to take a step further!
Patients will welcome your efforts, and they themselves will be one of the most valuable resources you will have to learn the language. By taking the initiative to communicate in their language, you are showing respect for their culture and experiences as immigrants. Ask them about their countries. Get to know them and their experiences. This phrase book includes sections on how to break and ice and chat with your patients to establish a relationship. These are the types of situations in which you can play with the language and try out new structures and words, which is a key part of the language process. Soon you'll be able to answer with an enthusiastic ¡Sí! when you're asked ¿Habla español?