Holy Family University Introduces New Course: Spanish for Health Care

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 will provide 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 will teach 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.

“We have seen a pattern of students having a hard time making the connection between the courses in General Education and the courses in their major,” said Shelly Robbins, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “Nowhere is that more clear to me than students in health care majors having a good multicultural competence. I spoke with Sister Angela Cresswell about this concern and she came up with the idea of Spanish for Health Care. Students in Nursing, Pre-Med, Pre-PT, Psychology, and many others can take the General Education language course and see a clear link to their career choice.”

This course is designed to provide a solid foundation in the basic skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing for beginning Spanish students whose goal is to enter the health field with some proficiency in serving the growing population of Spanish-speaking patients with limited English. It focuses on real-world language with grammar practice imbedded automatically in context while providing cross-cultural insights significant to patient care.

"Students selecting a career in the health field genuinely desire to relieve the physical distress of humanity,” said Sister Angela Cresswell, CSFN, assistant professor. “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."