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Friday, July 27, 2012

Many doctors-in-training with shaky Spanish skills are willing to discuss medical care with their patients in Spanish — but that may change after they are tested for fluency, a new study suggests.
Previous studies have shown residents often use their subpar second-language skills to talk with patients, the researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics, sometimes with consequences due to misinterpretations.Researchers surveyed 76 pediatric residents and found 64 percent were willing to use Spanish with their patients. That number fell to 51 percent after they were evaluated on their Spanish skills — a difference due to fewer non-proficient speakers using the language after testing.
"Residents are working hard and are possibly less likely to take the extra time to get a professional interpreter," said Dr. Casey Lion, the new study's lead author and a pediatrician at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Lion told Reuters Health she believes doctors may forego getting an interpreter because they want to build a rapport with their patient.
"That's the thing people don't want to give up. They don't want to have to speak through somebody else," she added.
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