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7.19.2021 – Samie puts her Spanish skills to work

Lurie Children's Hospital entrance

As part of my journey to become a doctor, I’m interning at Lurie Children’s Hospital and it has taught me the importance of Spanish in a clinical setting. It has been very important to me to see how much Spanish can vastly improve how I can serve others as a future doctor. Before all of this, I had started out as a student only wanting to complete UIC’s foreign language requirement, but now I’m minoring in Spanish for the Professions and I hope to encourage other UIC students to continue with Spanish,  as I believe that it can fit into anyone’s career goals. It is a truly rewarding skill to have and it is worth all the work, I promise!

Connecting with patients is extremely important and it is especially necessary when your patient is part of an underserved community that is wary of places like hospitals. As an intern at Lurie, I’ve watched my research coordinator instantly bond with Spanish-speaking patients and their families once they find out that they both share a language. It no longer feels like a sober occasion, but almost as if they’re old friends catching up and I have always felt that the patients are much more willing to hear what we say once that level of comfort is there.

One day, I went with my research coordinator to visit a patient in hopes of getting them to consent  to the research study and it was a mother-daughter duo waiting for us in the patient’s room. The mother was a Spanish speaker and we could see how she became much more open to listening to what we had to say once we greeted her in Spanish. Before starting the consenting process, she told us about how happy she is with how well the hospital has looked after her daughter and how the nurses were always so friendly, but she could never really connect with them as they did not speak Spanish. It saddened me to hear this and it really made me think about how being able to communicate with your patient impacts their trust level with you.

With this entire experience, I have come to realize how important it is to me, as an aspiring doctor, for my patients to feel that they can fully trust me with something as precious as their life or their child’s life and for them to see that I will truly try my hardest to help them in every way possible. It has all made me feel more motivated than ever to continue on with developing my Spanish and I hope to motivate others to do the same.