This document was created at the request of a Physicians Free Clinic volunteer who wanted help evaluating the visual health of patients who spoke Spanish. I created this document by visiting the Optometry section of the clinic for three weeks. I learned how the optometry section operated and the intake process at the front desk. I also learned how to conduct an eye exam. I listened to volunteers and medical students who were referring patients. During all of these situations I recorded the dialogue and then later translated it. I revised the translations for familiarity to Spanish speakers, not necessarily accuracy of the literal translation from English. After the dialogue had been established I conducted a few examinations using my new dialogue, and then made a final revision based upon the feedback from Spanish speaking patients.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why Speak Spanish With My Patients?

Patients who speak Spanish with limited English proficiency face many challenges living in the United States.  The most recent census tells us that there are 55.5 million Hispanics and Latinos living in the United States.  Accounting for roughly one sixth of the American population, this group represents a sizeable amount of the American population.  This means that special accommodations made by institutions and individuals towards Hispanic individuals have precedent.  These precedents are not only for a patient’s benefit, but also from an institution’s efficiency.  This document’s existence shows that there are Spanish language needs within the Optometry section of the Physicians Free Clinic.  These needs merited the creation of training material for visual health evaluation.  The aim of this blog is to train the optometry staff in evaluating the visual health of Spanish speakers more quickly, effectively, and accurately.    

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