203020 A Short, Intensive Educational Intervention to Improve Spanish Communication Skills of Medical Students Entering the Clinical Years

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Aarti Patil, BS, MSII , School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Sheryl Serbowicz, BA, MSIII , School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Tatyana Kushner, BA, MSIII , School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Rainier Soriano, MD , School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Introduction: Health care delivery is often hindered by communication barriers , such as language differences. We seek to improve medical students' communication skills through a short, intensive educational intervention in medical Spanish.

Methods: Third year medical students were offered an optional 5-hour program during their clinical orientation. The goal of this student-run program was to prepare students for clinical encounters with Spanish-speaking patients by: 1) improving Spanish skills and resource familiarity; 2) encouraging confidence and; 3) increasing self-knowledge of communication ability. The course included instruction from professional medical Spanish teachers; role plays with Spanish-speaking standardized patients and; interpreters' contact information. Participants completed self-assessment surveys of their Spanish communication ability.

Results: Fourteen students completed the course. Pre- and post-course survey results show improvement in self-reported communication ability. Students responded to the statements below using a Likert scale 1-5 (1 = Never, 5 = Always).

“I feel that I understand Spanish-speaking patients.”

“Always” “Never" Mean Score (1-5)*

Before Intervention 0% 9.5% 2.8

After Intervention 15.4% 0% 3.8

“I feel that Spanish-speaking patients understand me.”

“Most of the Time” “Never” Mean Score (1-5)

Before Intervention 19.0% 9.5% 2.8

After Intervention 53.8% 0% 3.5

Conclusion: Course participants report an overall improvement of communication ability in Spanish as a result of a brief, directed intervention. We hope that improved confidence will empower students and make them better communicators when providing care to Spanish-speaking patients. Follow-up data collection is underway to determine the long-term effects of the course.

Learning Objectives:
Design an effective languange intervention for medical students Assess the improvement in student Spanish communication skills Analyze efficacy of a directed intervention for medical students

Keywords: Education, Barriers to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Coordinator of the Medical Spanish program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.