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Welcome to Spanish for Successful Communication in Healthcare Settings! This course is structured in four modules, each one revolving on a topic related to the physician-patient interaction. Each module contains four lessons; on grammar, vocabulary, the dynamics of the spoken interaction, and aspects of sociocultural relevance. The video lessons are unlike regular “lectures” in which you are just listening. Instead, you should think of them as virtual classes where you are supposed to reflect, complete activities, and even get extra practice on your own time. The videos are a roadmap that will provide what you need to complete the activities on the student handout. Each module is followed by a 10-question quiz. It is important that you complete the lessons sequentially, as they build upon each other.
Welcome to the Course
During this module you will meet the instructors, review course outline, and discuss grading and the course requirements.
The Doctor-Patient Interview
In this module, we will learn general linguistic strategies that are applicable to any exchange of information between a health provider and a patient, by focusing on examples from routine interviews. We will start by learning a few useful grammar tips that will help you formulate questions correctly in Spanish. Then, you will expand your vocabulary with names for basic body parts and important organs, and you will hear some of them used in an authentic context. In the third lesson, we will discuss strategies to display active listenership in Spanish, that is, showing that you are listening attentively and that you care. This is a key aspect in spoken interaction, and you will be able to apply it to countless conversations. We will conclude the module by identifying some key elements that will help you determine which form you should use to address different individuals. Addressing people with the right form in Spanish (“tú” or “usted”) is extremely important for native speakers of Spanish. For example, in the case of adults, the correct form will be interpreted as a sign of respect, while but choosing incorrectly will be perceived as disrespectful, and may hinder the establishment of a good provider-patient relationship.
The Physical Examination
In this module, we will focus on the language that is used in general during a medical exam. We will start by learning a common grammatical structure used to give instructions; the imperative tense. However, by listening to an audio recording, we will learn that, in reality, other structures are used as well achieving the same results. Then, since you will already know basic anatomy in Spanish, you will expand your vocabulary with names for symptoms of common affections, such as a cold and the flu, and you will hear some of them used in an authentic context. In the third lesson, we will discuss a variety of linguistic resources you can use in order to make a patient feel more comfortable and respected during any medical examination. For example, you will hear a health provider use polite expressions and give a heads-up before touching the patient during a routine check-up. We will conclude the module by learning some keys to a common way of speaking to the youngest interlocutors, the children, that will allow you to show affection and warmth. Throughout this module, you will also have plenty of opportunities to apply the abilities learned in the previous lessons.
Explaining a Treatment or Procedure
In this module, we will focus on the way in which procedures and treatments can be described most effectively in Spanish. We will start by learning different expressions that are used to add details when explaining how a certain treatment or procedure should be done. In particular, you will learn different ways to talk about the manner, the time, and the amount or frequency. You will hear some of them used in an authentic context. To end the lesson, we will review adverbial expressions of location, which you will be able to use in many situations. Then, you will expand your vocabulary with basic names for drug groups (e.g. analgesic) and their different presentation (e.g. drops). In the third lesson, we will discuss how collaboration is apparent during consultations where there is a good relationship between the health provider and the patient. Two examples you will hear are overlaps while speaking and shared laughter. In this lesson, you will also learn different conversational resources that encourage trust and help guide the conversation to make shared decisions, as opposed to a paternalistic style. We will conclude the module by learning different strategies you can use to adapt your speech -i.e. your register- to your patient. In fact, being able to change your register to match that of your interlocutor -when necessary and appropriate- will make your communication more effective.
Solving Communication Difficulties
In this module, we will focus on identifying and solving frequent obstacles that arise in conversation. We will start by looking into different uses of pronouns, the words that can replace nouns in a sentence avoiding unnecessary repetition. In particular, we will focus on personal pronouns. As you will see, pronouns are used to refer to something or someone already mentioned elsewhere and, when used correctly, they prevent misunderstandings. Certainly, pronouns make communication both more efficient and effective. In this module, you will expand your vocabulary with names for some frequent diagnostic tests, and you will listen to a very interesting patient consultation. In the third lesson, we will discuss two types of obstacles that you are likely to encounter in any conversation; when you don’t understand your interlocutor completely, and when your interlocutor seems to have a hard time understanding you. Next, you will learn different strategies you can use to remediate both situations. We will conclude the module by noticing cues in conversation that will help you identify the sociocultural and socioeconomic profile of your patient. The goal of this lesson is to make you aware of the role that these variables play in every interaction and to give you tools to react appropriately to the information you are given.
Maria Victoria Abad Rabat