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8 Spanish Phrases Every Nurse Should Know

June 30, 2015

When you are working as a nurse, you will encounter patients from a number of different backgrounds. In some cases, your patients may even speak a different language. Although your patients may speak virtually any language other than English, one of the most common languages spoken in the United States is Spanish. To help you provide the best possible care to Spanish-speaking patients, below are 10 Spanish phrases for nurses.

For pronunciation of the following phrases, visit Study Spanish.

Are you in pain?

"tiene dolor?"

One of the most common questions nurses pose to patients is "are you in pain?" Knowing whether a patient is in pain not only aids in the process of assessment and diagnosis, but it also helps the nurse to determine the seriousness of the patient's condition and the efficacy of any treatments that have been administered. In Spanish, the phrase "are you in pain?" translates to "tiene dolor?"

2. Where does it hurt?

"donde le duele?"

Once you have determined that a patient is experiencing pain, you need to find the location of the pain. To ask a patient where he or she feels pain in Spanish, say "donde le duele?"

3. What is your name?

"Cómo se llama?"

Verifying a patient's identity is essential in a clinical setting. Whether you are trying to locate the individual's family or simply make sure you are in the right room, you need to be able to ask a patient for his or her name. In Spanish, you can ask a patient's name with the phrase "Cómo se llama?"

4. Are you hungry?

Asking a patient if he or she would like to eat is another essential component of patient care. In Spanish, you can ask this question with the phrase "tiene hambre?" To ask about thirst, say "tiene sed?"

5. Push the call button for help.

"use el botón para ayuda."

Patients need to know how to contact you if they need assistance. To let patients know that the call button should be used to get your attention, say "use el botón para ayuda."

6. I will be right back.

"Regreso en un momento."

Patients often experience anxiety in the hospital, but a language barrier can make this problem much worse. Let Spanish-speaking patients know you will be returning to them in a moment with the phrase "regreso en un momento."

7. You can go home today.

"Puede ir a casa hoy."

To let a patient know that he or she will be released from the hospital, say "puede ir a casa hoy." This will give the patient a chance to make travel arrangements.

8. Do you have any questions?

To determine if a patient has questions about medication, care instructions, test results or any other issue, simply say "tiene preguntas?"

Caring for patients who don't speak English can be challenging. However, whether you are working in a local hospital or on assignment as a travel nurse, knowing these phrases will improve your effectiveness as a provider of patient care.

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