Session 2

Spanish for the Health Professions

Increase Your Cultural and Linguistic Knowledge

This course will improve your speaking and comprehension skills in Spanish while developing the cultural knowledge that is critical to becoming a better healthcare provider to your future patients. Adequate care means understanding the language and culture of the Latinx patient. The course is designed to prepare health professionals across disciplines (speech and language pathology, HESP, social work, physician assistant, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, dentistry, etc.) to effectively communicate with Spanish-speaking patients in hospitals and clinics.

In this class, we will apply the Spanish language and cultural lessons to conversations among the students; we will have invited lectures by specialists in the field, simultaneous translations, skits, and recent news of the health world from Latin American countries. We will also read short stories and watch films from Latin America related to the field of health.

  1. Students will develop their oral and written communication skills in Spanish with an emphasis on the health professions. We will learn important vocabulary related to different health professions.

  2. Students will advance their cultural awareness about Spanish-speaking countries in matters related to health. We will have short readings to talk about developing "confianza" [trust] with patients. We will watch videos related to medical procedures and equipment and how to describe them in Spanish.

  3. Students will understand the grammatical structure, function and use of both spoken and written Spanish through the main ideas, approaches and methodologies of Spanish-language acquisition. We will review important language structures applied to health fields.

Spanish textbook in the foreground; someone teaching in the background
Planned Topics

In this class, we will start with basic conversation skills; for example, how to greet a patient and introduce yourself. We will learn how to ask the patient's name. We will learn about the different professions (neurologist, pediatrician, ENT doctor). In each session we will learn about language structure (agreement of adjectives, for example), then we will read a cultural note (Spanish speakers in the United States, for example) and then we will practice with the vocabulary by doing skits, partner conversations, translations, in accordance to the communicative style of learning a language.

We cover topics such as la farmacia (pharmacy), la nutrición y las dietas (nutrition and diet), el examen físico (physical exam), among others.

*This class includes language about human anatomy and bodily health. Esta clase incluye lenguaje sobre anatomía humana y la salud corporal.

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  • How to greet your patient and introduce yourself in Spanish
  • Ask how your patient is feeling
  • Ask where people and places are located in a hospital
  • Discuss pain and diagnose injuries
  • Tell a patient his or her vital signs
  • Conduct a registration of admissions interview
  • Take a family medical history
  • Ask about medication allergies
  • Explain how to use a pill organizer
  • Educate patients about special diets
  • Clarify the chief complaint
  • Conduct a physical examination
  • Give test results
  • Conduct a pre-surgery interview
  • Ask about current medical conditions
  • Educate a patient about cancer
  • Teach about dental hygiene
  • Conduct a mental status exam
Martin Camps
Faculty Lead
Martín Camps


PhD in Spanish, University of California, Riverside, 2003

Martín Camps' research concentrates in Mexican literature and Latin American cultural production. He is a Professor and published poet and Director of the Latin American Studies program at the University of the Pacific.

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