Interactive Quizlets and Exercises for Medical Spanish  

Medical Spanish Patient-Physician Spanish Dialogues with Quizzes

The resources above provide medical vocabulary as well as dialogues which utilize this vocabulary. This material follows a framework for approaching patient complaints. The patient initiates this process by describing a symptom. The medical professional must take the information provided by the patient and use it as a springboard for additional questioning with the ultimate goal of identifying the cause of the problem. The patient's reason for requesting a consult is generally referred to as the "Chief Complaint."

First, the patient should describe the problem in their own words. The resources above focus on key Spanish vocabulary related to time, frequency, medication, allergies, symptoms, descriptions of pain, use of alcohol and drugs, as well as descriptions of patient activity level.

There is no one best way to question a Spanish speaking patient. Successful interviewing requires that you avoid medical terminology whenever possible and make use of a descriptive language that is familiar to them. Even if you were to dominate Spanish medical terminology, your patient is probably poorly educated and may have never heard the medical terms you might use. There are several broad questions which are applicable to any complaint. These include:

  • Duration: How long has this condition lasted?
  • Uniqueness: Is it similar to a past problem? How does this compare with 6 months ago? What was done at that time?
  • Severity: How bothersome is this problem? Does it interfere with your daily activities? Does it keep you up at night?
  • Pain: If they are describing pain, ask them to rate it from 1 to 10 with 10 being the worse pain of their life. Ask if it's like anything else that they've felt in the past. Knife-like? A sensation of pressure? A toothache?
  • Symptom: Ask them to describe the symptom in terms with which they are already familiar. If it affects their activity level, determine to what degree this occurs. For example, if they complain of shortness of breath with walking, how many blocks can they walk?
  • Associated symptoms: Are there any associated symptoms? Often times the patient notices other things that have popped up around the same time as the dominant problem. These tend to be related.
  • Location: Is the symptom (e.g. pain) located in a specific place? Has this changed over time? If the symptom is not focal, does it radiate to a specific area of the body?
  • Remedies: Have they tried any remedies found on YouTube?: If so, what's made it better (or worse)?
  • Pace of illness: Is the problem getting better, worse, or staying the same? What has been the rate of change?
  • Self-diagnosis: What does the patient think the problem is and/or what are they worried it might be?
  • Why did they come in today?: This is particularly relevant when a patient chooses to make mention of symptoms/complaints that appear to be long standing. Is there something new/different today as opposed to every other day when this problem has been present?

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