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Acad Med. 2013 Oct;88(10):1485-92. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182a3479d.

Caring for patients with limited English proficiency: are residents prepared to use medical interpreters?

Author information

  • 1Dr. Thompson is assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Hernandez is assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Cowden is associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Sisson is associate professor, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Moon is assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To evaluate whether educational sessions on interpreter use and experience with interpreters are associated with resident self-efficacy in the use of professional interpreters.

METHOD:

In 2010, the authors surveyed residents from seven pediatric residency programs. Their 29-item survey collected data on training and experience with interpreters and self-efficacy in (1) determining when an interpreter is needed and (2) using a professional interpreter. The authors conducted bivariate and multivariate regression analyses.

RESULTS:

Among the 271 respondents, 82% reported that ≥ 10% of their patients had limited English proficiency (LEP), 53% indicated they had "a lot" of experience with interpreters, and 54% reported never receiving any educational sessions on interpreter use. The majority reported high self-efficacy in knowing when an interpreter is needed (69%) and in using an interpreter (68%). Residents reporting a high experience level with interpreters were more likely to report high self-efficacy in knowing when an interpreter is needed (odds ratio [OR] = 1.85; 95% confidence interval[CI] = 1.03-3.32) and in using an interpreter (OR = 3.97; 95% CI = 1.19-13.31). Formal training on using interpreters was also associated with high self-efficacy in interpreter use(OR = 1.62; 95% CI = 1.22-2.14).

CONCLUSIONS:

Many residents who care for patients with LEP have never received educational sessions on interpreter use. Such training is associated with high self-efficacy and may enhance patient-provider communication. Incorporating this training into residency programs is necessary to equip providers with skills to communicate with patients and families with LEP.

PMID:
23969358
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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