Friday, January 29, 2010

Arabic or English?

Being able to communicate in many languages is a plus for future multicultural and language hospital. Furthermore, with your upstanding and ability will surely give you a chance to give more that you could imagine. In addition to that, you surely will get a faster and fatter promotion than your colleagues.

Malaysia being a developing country that received thousands of tourist and expatriates every year will soon be needing doctors who able to converse multiple language. Given then chance to study in a non-English speaking country as Jordan is a bliss. We should take all the chances given. We should use the most of our time to learn and speak Arabic for us to be able converse it fluently. It is a shame as to myself that up to this moment I can hardly converse fluently in Arabic.

So it's not too late for everyone to start. Here is a story where I think almost the same of what we going to encounter in the near future. So enjoy it and give it a thought. Don't stop there when you can start it right away.

"Believe that you were born for greatness and awesomeness."

Yo Hablo Poquito Español

I consider myself very lucky to have completed most of my clinical rotations during med school in one of the most diverse cities in the world, New York City. The neighborhood in which I’ve spent the majority of my time happens to be predominantly Latino.

The first day I spent at the hospital in Brooklyn was quite memorable for many reasons. But one aspect that sticks out in my mind was my complete inability to communicate with many of my patients. I took French in high school, and had never studied any Spanish in my life, nor ever spent more than a few days in a Spanish speaking country. I quickly realized that if I were to succeed at this hospital, I needed to increase my Spanish vocabulary and comprehension.

I’ve spent the past year and a half at the same hospital, and my Spanish language abilities have improved immensely. I purchased a “Spanish For Health care Professionals” book, and have tried to read it in my spare time. I’ve forced myself to pay attention and learn as many words as possible. I’m still dreadfully far from being fluent in Spanish, but I know enough to take a basic history and perform an exam.

Although my Spanish is really a mix of “Spanglish” and hand motions, I’ve found myself being sought out by other med students and physicians for translation services. I always feel incredibly silly trying to translate, since my Spanish is far from perfect, but I still try to help out whenever I can.

The most interesting thing that I’ve found about attempting to communicate with someone who speaks a foreign language is how attempting to meet someone halfway can really bridge the gap. Usually, when someone asks one of our Spanish speaking patients if they speak English, the patient will respond with a short “no.” However, once I enter the room and say “yo hablo porquito Español,” (I speak a little Spanish), and proceed to do my very best to communicate, the floodgates suddenly open. The patient’s eyes generally light up and they will begin using as much English as possible, which is always much more than the “no English,” they originally admitted to speaking.

Between my broken Spanish and hand motions, and their broken English and hand motions, it’s amazing how much we can actually communicate. In theory, the best case scenario when attempting to communicate with a patient who speaks another language is to have a translator. However, I’ve learned that two important facts prevent this “best case scenario” from actually working all the time. Number one, it takes much more time and effort to obtain and use a translator with a patient. And number two, it’s surprising how much more you can connect with a patient, and how much more they will share with you if you attempt to communicate with them in their own language.

The obvious problem is that with my less than perfect Spanish, many things can get lost in translation. So that’s why I will try to hit the books a little harder and continue my rewarding journey towards speaking mucho mas Español.

(Extracted from The Differentials)

No comments:

Post a Comment