Addressing the need for Spanish speaking nurses in Los Angeles County: Providing culturally competent care

Tuesday, 19 November 2013: 10:20 AM

Patricia Humbles, RN, PhD
School of nursing, Charles Drew University Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, Los angeles, CA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to increase their oral fluency to communicate and facilitate the interaction with limited English speaking patients.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to deliver healthcare and improve outcomes to Spanish speaking patients using an English/Spanish Quick Health Assessment Reference Translator(ESQHART).

Background: Twenty million adults in the United States have limited English proficiency (LEP) and two-thirds of this LEP population is Hispanic.  About 50% of Hispanic adults in the United States have LEP and experience substantial barriers to primary care. South Los Angeles, California has the highest concentration of racial/ethnic minorities and sixty percent is Hispanic. LEP patients report less satisfaction with medical encounters. Quality of health assessments are lower when using an interpreter and are a barrier to implementation and utilization. They are time-consuming and associated with high labor cost. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess graduate nursing students ability to understand and communicate in Spanish and develop an English-Spanish Quick Health Assessment Reference Translator (ESQHART) to enhance communication. Design: A pre and post survey was developed to identify nursing student’s ability to understand and communicate in Spanish. Participants: Ninety students ages 22-50 participated. Methods: The pre survey included 5 questions addressing ability to speak, understand, and communicate in Spanish. The ESQHART included questions and answers related to health assessments. The ESQHART was reviewed and evaluated by a faculty member and five nursing students fluent in Spanish. The post survey contained one question. Results: The results revealed 43% understood Spanish, but were not fluent, 83% reported difficulty communicating with Spanish speaking clients, 14% were fluent in English and Spanish, 83% would use an interpreter, 7% would use pocket references, 6% would use a Spanish dictionary, and 4% would use smart phone.  Eighty-nine percent reported a Spanish medical terminology pocket reference would be beneficial. Conclusion: Nursing students during patient interactions are faced with clients, who have LEP, are unable to communicate feelings or symptoms, and find an interrupter is not readily available. The ESQHART is a beginning tool to improve communication for healthcare providers and clients.