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How Interpreters Play a Role in the Patient Experience

Patient speaking with their medical provider.

Better communication = Better patient experiences. 

When you think of patient experience, generally, providers, nurses, and front desk staff come to mind. However, many roles can impact a patient's experience. Medical interpreters play a major role in creating better outcomes for patients that speak English less than very well.

For the over 25 million limited-English speaking individuals living in the United States, having access to a qualified medical interpreter can limit the risk of adverse events, shorten lengths of stay and significantly reduce hospital readmissions. 

In celebration of Patient Experience Week, we asked our interpreters to tell us what it's like to play a role in the patient experience. Here is what they had to say: 

What Does Being A Part of the Patient Experience Mean to You? 

  • "For me, it's inspiring because I help patients feel heard, understood, and empowered to make informed decisions about their health. Being a part of the patient experience is a humbling and rewarding responsibility that requires empathy, compassion, and dedication to service." - Mayrelis

  • "It makes me feel connected to the world, and it brings me joy in knowing that my services are helping the medical staff, patients, and their families." - Bruno

  • "It means I can be a voice for the ones that feel unheard or unnoticed." - Sandra

  • "It means that I get to help the patient to feel empowered and ask questions about themselves, their health, and overall quality of life. To me, it means that someone had the chance to be heard." - Daphne

  • "To be the best conduit possible; not only of words and meanings but also culture and emotion." - Diogo

  • "It's crucial. I feel very glad to be able to help others express themselves in a way they otherwise could not do if they hadn't had the chance to use an interpreter. We are their voice, we help them be heard and understood." - Marita

  • "It means to be there to support even though we can't actually interact with them. Using a voice tone that makes them feel safe, and also being someone that somehow understands them because we come from the same background. I like to feel like I am their safe place." - Valeria

What was the most impactful interaction you've had as a medical interpreter?

  • "Being able to help those that don't understand medical terms, even in their own language." - Julia

  • "Interpreting for mental health patients is one of the most difficult things for me. We all have our own problems, and you never know what other people are going through. I've learned to be more kind and caring with everyone I interact with." - Génesis

  • "Every encounter has something that stays with you in some way. In my experience when dealing with relatives and life-ending decisions are really heart-breaking calls." - Karina

  • "Interpreting for someone who was instructed to perform CPR while paramedics were on their way." - Serafima

  • "Being part of a call where the patient was reminded what good quality care experience is. Being part of making sure patients understand that they should not let fear keep them away from the quality care they need, deserve, and are entitled to. And to never expect under standard care." - Jessica

  • "Some days you go from life to death experiences, servicing a call for a delivery, and then giving news to the terminally ill. Those are definitely impactful scenarios in which you learn how delicate your job really is and how giving your best means so much to everyone involved." - Ada

  • "Helping all the Ukrainian refugees, I am glad I can help them feel a little bit closer to home and taken care of." - Tatiana

Interpreters aren't just a part of the patient experience, they are the patient experience. We are so thankful for all that GLOBO interpreters do each day to support healthcare professionals and their patients, ensuring everyone has equal access to quality care, no matter what language they speak. 

Want to learn more about becoming a linguist for GLOBO?

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