SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Nationwide, students working toward medical careers are realizing that learning Spanish isn't just a good idea--it's an absolute necessity, with the U.S. poised to have the world's highest population of Spanish speakers within 35 years. Today, some proactive students are learning Spanish by immersing themselves in the culture and language of South America through the Ecela Spanish & Medicine program, and they're sharing the top five reasons they're not waiting to become bilingual.
- Equal access to care. Spanish-speaking immigrants frequently lack access to English-learning resources. Even with English classes or tutors, it may still take years to approach fluency--or just to accurately describe symptoms. "I plan on being a physician, and in Texas, many patients are poor immigrants from Mexico. Most speak only rudimentary English, but they still deserve the same access to excellent health care as everyone else. I want to provide that care," stated one Ecela Spanish & Medicine student.
- Accurate care. Medical workers' inability to communicate fluently in Spanish can cause delays in receiving life-saving care and even result in misdiagnoses. "I work at a clinic where so many Spanish speakers come in," said another student. "It's hard for me to translate because sometimes I just don't know the words."
- Trust. Patients often raise privacy concerns when it becomes necessary to speak through an interpreter. "I find that a lot of patients don't feel comfortable communicating with a provider that doesn't speak Spanish, because they don't like to bring an interpreter into the room," explained Dr. Victor Dominguez of Ventura County Family Centers.
- Specialization. U.S. hospitals and medical clinics already report shortages of Spanish-speaking workers. The gap is only projected to widen, with the U.S. expected to have the world's largest percentage of Spanish speakers by 2050. By learning Spanish now, healthcare workers will be prepared to better serve their communities in specialty practices as Spanish-speaking populations explode. "I plan on specializing in endocrinology, and diabetes is a common disease among Hispanics," said an Ecela Spanish & Medicine student. "Speaking Spanish would be crucial to my career."
- Career opportunities. Increasingly, hospitals, medical clinics, and mental health settings are requiring new hires to speak Spanish. Applicants who speak only English are unlikely to be successful in the application process. "I am currently pursuing a career in physical therapy, and Spanish is an extremely valuable asset to bring to the table," explained another student.
Ecela's Spanish & Medicine program puts students at the heart of Spanish-language healthcare. For nine weeks summer 2017--May and June in Chile or July and August in Peru--Ecela Spanish students will earn nine college credits and become fluent in Spanish by living with host families and shadowing doctors, nurses, and other workers in South American medical clinics. Students' schedules will include Spanish-immersion classroom experiences, and they'll even have the opportunity to learn traditional South American medicine that is still in use today.
To learn more about the need for Spanish-speaking medical workers in the U.S. and see Ecela Spanish & Medicine students explaining their reasons for choosing the program, watch Ecela's video, "Importance of Learning Spanish in Medicine," at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBmPY2ygwoc.
Ecela (http://ecelaspanish.com) is a Spanish language-learning program with six sites in Peru, Chile and Argentina. Thousands of students from across the globe have taken advantage of the small classes and affordable tuition to learn Spanish while enjoying everything the local culture has to offer.
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