Communication is essential between a doctor and a patient. Having a good relationship and effective communication with a doctor is important in receiving proper treatment.
If a language barrier is present between a doctor and patient, the entire treatment procedure can lag or fail completely.
In these situations, the patient might need a third person or interpreter to translate.
Whether English is a second language or for someone traveling internationally, an interpreter may be necessary to help a patient understand their care.
Importance of Interpreters
In many cases, patients who fail to communicate with the doctor do not receive effective treatment, regardless of the doctor’s experience. An interpreter can help a patient communicate effectively to their doctor. An interpreter can be requested if the patient does not speak the doctor’s language or if they are uncomfortable speaking in that language. An interpreter can make the conversation clear for both parties.
Frequently, a patient can simply request an interpreter from a nurse, doctor, or hospital management. Many community leaders and local organizations also provide for an interpreter. Someone who is traveling overseas may want to research the availability of interpreters and the best way to reach them.
Bringing a Friend or Family Member
The patient can also bring a friend or a family member who speaks and understands the doctor’s language, as long as the patient is comfortable discussing medical issues in front of them. Many patients might feel uncomfortable to share such intimate details with family members or friends. If that is the case, it may be easier to have a third person as an interpreter. Young children are not recommended as interpreters, as they can fail to comprehend medical terms and may become upset by things they do not understand.
An interpreter’s goal is to make sure the patient and doctor understand each other. It is better that the patient speaks directly to the doctor instead of the interpreter. This provides a connection to the doctor and patient even if they do not understand each other.
The job of the interpreter is only to help the patient and doctor understand each other, never to make suggestions or recommendations.
Even though the interpreter is a third person in the room while discussing medical information, they should be trusted as a professional.
Withholding medical information due to embarrassment or fear that the interpreter will use it maliciously will get in the way of treatment.
The patient should be honest and open about discussing all problems in front of the interpreter.
If a person feels uncomfortable discussing health issues with an interpreter of the opposite sex, they can request another interpreter.
The patient can also ask the interpreter to leave the room while the doctor is performing an examination.
The interpreter can rejoin after the examination to make sure the lines of communications are open concerning the diagnosis.
Many doctors complain that ineffective communication makes it harder to provide effective treatment. Especially in a medical situation, communicating and clarifying diagnosis and treatment information is essential.
Effective communication does not end at explaining the symptoms, it means a patient asking questions, discussing options, and clarifying details to ensure the patient leaves the doctor will the proper knowledge for recovery.