Spanish Classes Fill Need at MGH
"Quien tiene el estetoscopio?" asks Spanish instructor Patricio Tapia of
students (from left) Marilyn Lease, float Nurse; Frank Lopez,
coordinator of clinical pharmacy services; and Joan Lussier, float nurse.
Marin General Hospital Progress, April, 1992
Cartoon dialogues and other non-traditional teaching methods plus small class size and a native speaking, Spanish instructor are three reasons why the new conversational Spanish classes are so popular with MGH staff "It's fun to learn," said float nurse Marilyn Lease, who took the class because of the "necessity to understand at least a little Spanish."
With staff's need to communicate with an increasing numlber of Spanish-speaking patients, the Education department began scheduling conversational Spanish language classes at the beginning of the year.
Classes are designed to equip health care workers with conversational skills needed in the medical setting. In the past, MGH has either relied on staff who already speak a second language or has hired a translation service that provides help via telephone. Frank Lopez, coordinator of clinical pharmacy services, is one of those called upon to translate. Although he already speaks Spanish, he enrolled in the class to brush up on some rusty skills. "I felt my command of the language was not adequate to translate in a medical situation," he said.
Foundation Executive Director Andy Eber, also fairly fluent in Spanish, said, "The class is getting me up to speed and I'm learning the clinical terminology." He also noted "a beautiful side effect of getting connected with staff" he would not ordinarily see from other departments.
Instructor Patricio Tapia motivates students by making the class fun as well as informative. A native of Santiago, Chile, Patricio was trained by the Berlitz Language Center in San Francisco. He has been teaching for eight years including adult education classes at Redwood High school.
Staff interest in the MGH classes was so high, said MGH Education Director Marlene Holland, the first four sections filled to capacity in five days. Two additional sections were quickly added. For more information or to enroll in future classes, call Education at 925-7450.