Journal of Nursing Education

Educational Innovations 

Developing a Course to Teach Spanish for Health Care Professionals

Melanie Bloom, PhD; Gayle M. Timmerman, PhD, RN; Dolores Sands, PhD, RN, FAAN

Abstract

ABSTRACT

To make the baccalaureate nursing curriculum more responsive to changing U.S. demographics, the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin instituted a required course, titled Spanish for Health Care Professionals. This course, developed in collaboration with the University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, focuses on conversational Spanish using the communicative language teaching approach, rather than grammar and medical terminology instruction. Class activities, along with course materials, are linked to nursing practice. Course assignments are designed to develop authentic communication in reading, writing, listening, speaking, and understanding culture, and students demonstrated oral and written linguistic gains in relation to their fluency and accuracy. Because the Hispanic population is now the largest minority group in the United States, this course will help nurses communicate with Spanish-speaking patients.

AUTHORS

Received: August 5, 2004

Accepted: November 30, 2004

Dr. Bloom is Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Timmerman is Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs, and Dr. Sands is Dean, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.

The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Orlando Kelm and his team of graduate students from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for the initial development of the course and course materials. They also acknowledge Dr. Joy Penticuff from the School of Nursing, who facilitated the curriculum change and course development as the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs during the development and early initiation phase of the course.

Address correspondence to Gayle M. Timmerman, PhD, RN, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, 1700 Red River, Austin, TX 78701; e-mail: gtimmerman@mail.utexas.edu.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

To make the baccalaureate nursing curriculum more responsive to changing U.S. demographics, the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin instituted a required course, titled Spanish for Health Care Professionals. This course, developed in collaboration with the University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, focuses on conversational Spanish using the communicative language teaching approach, rather than grammar and medical terminology instruction. Class activities, along with course materials, are linked to nursing practice. Course assignments are designed to develop authentic communication in reading, writing, listening, speaking, and understanding culture, and students demonstrated oral and written linguistic gains in relation to their fluency and accuracy. Because the Hispanic population is now the largest minority group in the United States, this course will help nurses communicate with Spanish-speaking patients.

AUTHORS

Received: August 5, 2004

Accepted: November 30, 2004

Dr. Bloom is Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Timmerman is Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs, and Dr. Sands is Dean, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.

The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Orlando Kelm and his team of graduate students from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for the initial development of the course and course materials. They also acknowledge Dr. Joy Penticuff from the School of Nursing, who facilitated the curriculum change and course development as the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs during the development and early initiation phase of the course.

Address correspondence to Gayle M. Timmerman, PhD, RN, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, 1700 Red River, Austin, TX 78701; e-mail: gtimmerman@mail.utexas.edu.

ABSTRACT

To make the baccalaureate nursing curriculum more responsive to changing U.S. demographics, the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin instituted a required course, titled Spanish for Health Care Professionals. This course, developed in collaboration with the University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, focuses on conversational Spanish using the communicative language teaching approach, rather than grammar and medical terminology instruction. Class activities, along with course materials, are linked to nursing practice. Course assignments are designed to develop authentic communication in reading, writing, listening, speaking, and understanding culture, and students demonstrated oral and written linguistic gains in relation to their fluency and accuracy. Because the Hispanic population is now the largest minority group in the United States, this course will help nurses communicate with Spanish-speaking patients.

AUTHORS

Received: August 5, 2004

Accepted: November 30, 2004

Dr. Bloom is Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Timmerman is Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs, and Dr. Sands is Dean, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.

The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Orlando Kelm and his team of graduate students from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for the initial development of the course and course materials. They also acknowledge Dr. Joy Penticuff from the School of Nursing, who facilitated the curriculum change and course development as the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs during the development and early initiation phase of the course.

Address correspondence to Gayle M. Timmerman, PhD, RN, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, 1700 Red River, Austin, TX 78701; e-mail: gtimmerman@mail.utexas.edu.

10.3928/01484834-20060701-06

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