Effective communication is essential in medicine. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals must be able to communicate effectively with colleagues, staff, patients, and family members. Medical professionals whose first languages are Spanish and Portuguese often face many of the same challenges with Medical English. Therefore, we have designed a course specifically for Spanish and Portuguese-speaking medical professionals to address these challenges. Our Medical English for Spanish and Portuguese Speakers course provides a strong focus on vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and public speaking.

A lot of the vocabulary we focus on is outside of medical fields since most medical professionals already know this esoteric vocabulary. We focus on more general, communicative vocabulary used in professional settings and also on very common idioms.

We then look at the pronunciation of both medical-related vocabulary and communicative vocabulary. We show students how to correctly create sounds that Spanish and Portuguese speakers often struggle with to improve communicative ability with both colleagues and the general public. For example, most Portuguese and Spanish speakers have a very tough time with “th” pronunciation. We show students how to correctly create this sound in English to improve communicative ability so that people understand them more. With very important words like “mouth” and “teeth,” it is essential that medical professionals have proper “th” pronunciation. We also work on commonly-confused pronunciations, such as the difference between the “sh” in “sheet” and the “ch” in “chart.”

We also focus on grammar mistakes and teach students how to recognize and improve the things they are doing wrong. Our approach is actually similar to medicine: we diagnose what is wrong and then map out a plan to fix those issues. As with pronunciation, most Spanish and Portuguese speakers make the same grammar mistakes in English, so we have a course for grammar that focuses on those specific issues. For example, in Spanish and Portuguese you would say that a patient “has 25 years,” but in English you would say that he or she “is 25 years old.” Another example is subject pronouns, which can often be omitted in Spanish and Portuguese but must always be included in English.

In addition to the areas above, we also look at public speaking. All medical professionals need to be prepared for presentations, speeches, and greeting and taking care of their patients.  We teach medical professionals the best approach for public speaking, the things they should avoid, and also the common issues Spanish and Portuguese speakers have in English.

This immersion course is very intensive and provides Spanish and Portuguese speakers the skills and confidence they need to improve their level of medical professionalism in English. Graduates will be able to converse more-effectively in English with their fellow medical professionals. In addition, graduates will be able to more-easily read and analyze case histories and produce clearer written documents. Most importantly, graduates will be able to communicate more clearly with their patients, resulting in more accurate diagnoses and improved relationships with patients.

Please let us know if you have any questions.  We are happy to help.

The Language Island