Key encounter 4:an education session with a 'new' patient

The potential for effective communication was greatly increased by the participation of an interpreter in this encounter but this potential was not realised for a number of reasons:

  • the opportunities for the interpreter to translate were inconsistant and inadequate(the staff member was not trained to work with interpreters and the patient had no previous experience of 'formal' interpreting in such an encounter)
  • biomedical concepts which were unfamiliar to the interpreter and those which could not could not be directly translated were not adequately explained
  • the encounter focused on the staff member's communication priorities and knowledge and those of the patient were excluded or marginalised
  • the interpreter was a family member and her participation was opportunistic, not planned, and she was not paid for her work
  • although fluent in conversational English and familiar with other medical areas, the interpreter has had no formal training in medical interpreting or specific experience in renal care

Click here to download a more detailed exploration of this encounter.