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4. Evaluating Medical and Basic Spanish Knowledge of EMS providers in Brown County


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Almost 2% of the Brown County population is Spanish speaking with Low English Proficiency (LEP). This population may be experiencing significant linguistic barriers to healthcare in addition to numerous cultural and socioeconomic barriers. In order to decrease language barriers, improve the quality of care, and decrease adverse outcomes for this group of patients, the healthcare system in Brown County needs to respond by increasing the number of healthcare providers who are competent in fundamental and medical Spanish language skills.  In this study, EMS providers from all four departments across Brown County were asked to take a Qualtrics survey assessing demographic data and their knowledge in both basic and medical Spanish. They were also asked to provide feedback on an EMS Spanish Cheat Sheet and state whether this would be useful to them.  Overall, EMS providers scored poorly on the assessment as I had predicted, with the average score of around 40% on both the Basic and Medical Spanish components of the assessment. Additionally, most EMS providers affirmed that the Spanish cheat sheet that I proposed would be useful. EMS providers overall lack Spanish language knowledge but are receptive to the implementation of some form of Spanish learning. I believe that implementing a sustainable form of Spanish language education in healthcare systems in Brown County will aid in improving linguistic understanding and cultural competence among providers and thus improve provider/patient interactions and health outcomes.

Sean O'Neil -
Medical College of Wisconsin - Green Bay


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