Teaching Spanish to pediatric emergency physicians: Effects on patient satisfaction

Suzan S. Mazor*, Louis C. Hampers, Vidya T. Chande, Steven E. Krug

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Background: Language barriers are known to negatively affect patient satisfaction. Objective: To determine whether a course of instruction in medical Spanish for pediatric emergency department (ED) physicians is associated with an increase in satisfaction for Spanish-speaking-only families. Design, Setting, Participants, and Intervention: Nine pediatric ED physicians completed a 10-week medical Spanish course. Mock clinical scenarios and testing were used to establish an improvement in each physician's ability to communicate with Spanish-speaking-only families. Before (preintervention period) and after (postintervention period) the course, Spanish-speaking-only families cared for by these physicians completed satisfaction questionnaires. Professional interpreters were equally available during both the preintervention and postintervention periods. Main Outcome Measures: Responses to patient family satisfaction questionnaires. Results: A total of 143 Spanish-speaking-only families completed satisfaction questionnaires. Preintervention (n=85) and postintervention (n= 58) cohorts did not differ significantly in age, vital signs, length of ED visit, discharge diagnosis, or self-reported English proficiency. Physicians used a professional interpreter less often in the postintervention period (odds ratio [OR], 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16-0.71). Postintervention families were significantly more likely to strongly agree that "the physician was concerned about my child" (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.0-4.2), "made me feel comfortable" (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.1-4.4), "was respectful" (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.4-6.5), and "listened to what I said" (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.4-5.9). Conclusions: A 1O-week medical Spanish course for pediatric ED physicians was associated with decreased interpreter use and increased family satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-695
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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