Nursing Alumna Speaks to Spanish for Health Care Class

Jacqueline Zyck ’87 returned to Holy Family University on Tuesday, April 24 to address prospective nursing students enrolled in the Spanish for Health Care class, led by Sister Angela Cresswell, CSFN.

A native Spanish speaker, Zyck graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Holy Family and earned a Master’s in Nursing Administration from LaSalle University in 1999. She is currently the Director of TRICARE Operations and Provider Network, Americas, for International SOS.

“It was a wonderful feeling coming back to HFU after so many years with wonderful memories relived,” Zyck said. “From high school, to college, to sending my children to Alpha House, I have spent a lot of time on the campus grounds. Visually, the campus has changed so much but the spirit was much the same. I remember vividly my college days and it was a privilege to speak to the prospective nursing students and to bring my life lessons learned to them.”

Her Spanish knowledge and nursing background allowed her the opportunity to evaluate health providers in over 12 Latin American and South American countries since 2000.

“The overall message to the students was tri-fold: college is challenging and a test of endurance and resilience,” Zyck said. “Don’t quit, because anything worth achieving requires hard work. Second, proper and effective communication is the most important skill to master. Finally, a nursing degree can take you many places. When we think of nurses, we immediately think of hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes as their place of employment, but the truth is that nurses can work in many other non-traditional work places. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and explore other options, as was the case with the employment I currently hold.”

In January 2017, Holy Family University introduced a new interdisciplinary way for students to fulfill their language requirement with its latest course addition—Spanish for Health Care. The course provides students a practical way to learn and hone their craft in a classroom setting while focusing on a budding topic. Beginning in Fall 2017, the course teaches students to demonstrate basic proficiency in communicating in Spanish, a non-native language, and the medical vocabulary utilized in routine, health-care settings, to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking patients.

"Students selecting a career in the health field genuinely desire to relieve the physical distress of humanity,” S. Angela said. “In addition to their medical skills, a knowledge of the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures may provide an even greater relief of the psychological and emotional distress that accompanies an inability of patients to communicate adequately in English. The increasing number of Spanish speakers in the United States requires an increasing number of Spanish-speaking service providers. This course endeavors to prepare students to confidently bridge the linguistic and cultural barriers that they will surely encounter in serving this population."