What if you or someone you love were experiencing a medical emergency but were unable to communicate with the people trained to help you? You’d be unable to tell those healthcare professionals what symptoms you were experiencing or what other conditions you might have that they’d need to know before treating you. Nightmare situations like this are a reality every day in the United States and elsewhere. Language barriers may prevent people from getting the medical attention they need in a timely fashion, potentially leading to more serious conditions or death.

In an emergency, effective communication is especially critical at the first touch point, when first responders are involved. It remains important, however, as the patient’s condition is stabilized and during the recovery phase, when healthcare providers may continue to administer medications. If you work as an EMT, paramedic, or in another healthcare role, knowing how to speak another language in an emergency could quite literally save your patient’s life. Interpreters, whether a patient’s bilingual family member or a professional interpreter, can be helpful when you’re assisting a patient, but they may not always be available in an emergency.

The Source of Treatment Errors and Their Unfortunate Outcomes

Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau states that almost 25 million people in our country can be described as having limited English proficiency (LEP). Further, according to data originating with The Joint Commission, errors related to communication were the main contributing factor in nearly 60% of serious adverse events reported at healthcare facilities. You may already have some practical knowledge of a language other than English, but do you know enough of it to avoid those errors and provide effective, even lifesaving healthcare to a person who speaks only that language?

Not knowing how to communicate with a patient due to language barriers can result in many unfortunate outcomes, including:

  • Lifesaving treatment being delayed.
  • A misunderstanding of the patient’s health issue.
  • Wrong type or amount of prescription being administered to the patient.
  • Preventable complications.
  • Additional treatments to address overlooked or inadequately treated issues.
  • Legal action against you and/or your employer, should something go wrong.
  • Reduced patient satisfaction.

Consider Expanding Your Spanish Proficiency

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there are nearly 60.5 million Hispanic people in the United States, a considerable statistic that will only increase with time. In fact, the United States has more Spanish-speaking people than Spain itself does, and we’re expected to surpass Mexico as the country with the most Spanish speakers by 2050, when that number will reach an estimated 132.8 million. With the ubiquity and continuing proliferation of the Spanish language in the U.S., it may be the most important language apart from English that you can broaden your understanding of, from a professional standpoint.

An Online Program Designed Just for You

What if there were a program specifically designed to help first responders and healthcare professionals provide care to Spanish-speaking patients? The University of Texas Permian Basin is leading the way with our online Certificate in Spanish for First Responders. This 9-credit program teaches you how to use common medical terminology when treating a Spanish-speaking patient, so you can explain to them or their loved ones what type of treatment you’re administering. You’ll hone your Spanish skills by engaging in virtual conversations that recreate real-life interactions between first responders and Spanish-speaking patients.

Our program consists of three courses, all taught by the same acclaimed faculty who teach Spanish courses on campus at UT Permian Basin. These experts will guide you through various aspects related to the language, including:

  • Grammar
  • Syntax
  • Culture
  • History
  • Vocabulary

You can earn your Certificate in Spanish for First Responders as a stand-alone education credential or while you’re simultaneously earning a degree through UT Permian Basin.

Learn at Your Own Pace

Between your work and personal responsibilities, you may have a very busy schedule. The asynchronous, 100% online format of our Certificate in Spanish for First Responders program allows you to learn on your own time, around other professional and personal obligations, from just about anywhere in the world. Are nights best for you? Or maybe weekends? Want to make the most of your lunch breaks? You can complete your coursework when and where it’s convenient for you. This flexibility makes our program one of the best ways to gain career-enhancing credentials.

Just three courses stand between you and the ability to provide a better quality of care for Spanish speakers. Apply for our online Certificate in Spanish for First Responders program today!