While many healthcare professionals assume that working with medical interpreters is highly intuitive, there are nuances to navigate that some don’t expect. As a result, training healthcare staff to ensure effective collaboration with interpreters is often necessary.
Staff education on interpreting processes makes sure that healthcare professionals use appropriate approaches to facilitate proper communication with patients. Additionally, training can improve cultural competence in healthcare, ensuring medical providers use best practices that align with a patient’s needs.
Fortunately, training healthcare staff to work with medical interpreters is relatively straightforward. Here are some tips to get your organization headed in the right direction.
How to Train Healthcare Staff to Work with Medical Interpreters
Cover the Interpretation Technique
Effective interpreter integration can only occur if healthcare professionals understand how the conversations will unfold. Generally, medical interpreters use one of two techniques: simultaneous interpretation or consecutive interpretation.
Simultaneous interpretation is a process where the interpreter begins interpreting while the original speaker is still talking. Essentially, it happens in real time, creating an overlap of two people talking. Consecutive interpretation is different. The interpreter waits until the first party is done speaking before relaying the information to the other person in their preferred language.
Informing healthcare staff regarding which technique the interpreter will use is critical, so it needs to be part of the training. That helps them prepare for the experience effectively, making them more comfortable when it comes time to meet with a patient.
Outline the Best Practices
A healthcare team and language services provider work together far more effectively when medical professionals adopt specific best practices. As a result, it’s worth covering specific strategies when conducting interdisciplinary communication training regarding the use of interpreters.
Viewing medical interpreters as trained healthcare professionals is critical for improving healthcare team dynamics, so make sure that staff members are prepared to act accordingly. Additionally, go over the importance of a pre-meeting before the interpreter is introduced to the patient. Pre-meetings create opportunities to provide the interpreter with a summary of what the healthcare provider plans to share. Then, they can ask questions to clarify any points, if necessary, which can be critical for enhancing care through collaboration.
Similarly, teaching healthcare professionals to speak to the patient – not directly to the interpreter – is critical. That ensures the patient feels respected throughout the conversation, improving their experience. Plus, it allows the provider to pick up on non-verbal communication with greater ease, which can lead to critical insights as the discussion unfolds.
Go Beyond Interpretation
While language access training for staff that covers working with an interpreter is a must, it’s also wise to go beyond that. Offering multicultural healthcare training that helps providers understand cultural differences is also critical. It can prevent medical professionals from making missteps relating to their mannerisms or other parts of non-verbal communication that could harm the patient experience.
Consider Practice Sessions
Hiring an interpreter and conducting practice sessions can familiarize healthcare professionals with the overall process. It allows them to get a similar experience in advance, making them far more comfortable with it before they begin meeting with patients.
If you have bilingual staff members, they may be suitable to act in the place of a patient. However, you can also bring in a second interpreter who can fill that role. Consider that latter strategy if there aren’t bilingual staff members available or only one is bilingual. That way, everyone can take part in the training.
For the practice sessions, it’s wise to prepare the person acting as a patient by giving them basic details of an ailment or diagnosis. Then, they can speak with the provider being trained similarly to a patient with those symptoms or conditions, allowing the conversation to unfold like it typically would.
Do You Need Skilled Medical Interpreters to Support Your Healthcare Organization?
Having experienced medical interpreters available allows your healthcare organization to elevate the patient experience. Plus, it ensures that your on-staff medical professionals can get the information they need, eliminating the impact of language barriers.
At Acutrans, our medical interpretation team members undergo robust training to ensure they’re properly equipped to meet the needs of providers and patients. Our experienced interpretation team covers over 200 languages. Additionally, Acutrans has industry-specific interpretation services for the healthcare industry, and services can be provided on-site, over the phone, or using video remote options.
If your healthcare organization also needs access to high-quality translators, Acutrans offers certified document translations in 24 hours. Along with general transition services, Acutrans has a translation program designed specifically for the medical sector.
By partnering with a top-tier language services provider, you can eliminate language barriers and ensure effective communication with patients, improving both the patient and provider experience. If you’re looking for a dependable, professional solution, contact us for a free quote today.