Over 100 Bilingual Employees at Tucson Medical Center Now Trained in Medical Interpretation

In just three years over 100 TMC English-Spanish bilingual employees have received specialized training in medical interpretation skills through a partnership between the UA National Center for Interpretation (NCI) and Tucson Medical Center (TMC). “We recently completed the 7th Medical Interpretation Training (MIT) Workshop at TMC,” said Monica Frisbie-Garcia, manager of TMC International & Language Services. “The last six have been through NCI. We are very fortunate that they are here locally, as they are well known and respected internationally.”
The NCI and TMC collaborated on an innovative curriculum that is specific to a hospital setting. The 4day MIT workshop focuses on interpretation standards and protocol, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and intensive interpretation practice based on authentic clinical scenarios commonly encountered at TMC. Once employees complete the 32-hour workshop and pass all examinations, they qualify as Spanish Language Assistants and can assist with basic, routine medical interpretations. This frees up the certified staff Medical Interpreters to focus on more complex and detailed interpretation needs throughout the hospital.  
These efforts align with two of TMC’s True North’s mission: Patient Experience and Quality/Safety. Training staff as medical interpreters helps ensure that providers and patients clearly understand each other. When communication with Limited English Proficient patients breaks down, the results can include misdiagnosis, an incorrect treatment plan, or unnecessary hospital readmissions. According to Frisbie Garcia, “increasing the language competency of our bilingual employees reduces the risk of clinical errors due to language barriers. The result is better quality of care, increased patient compliance of treatment plan, and improved patient satisfaction.”

Spanish Language Assistant Trainees and Instructors
Tucson Medical Center