Traveling nurses and interpretation experience

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ClariVita recently met with Ms. Kristin Joyce RN-BSN. Ms. Joyce is an ICU trained RN who has worked at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL; Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA; Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA;  and University of California San Diego Medical Center, CA. She knows first hand the important value of working with interpreters and translation companies like ClariVita. As a traveling nurse, Ms. Joyce is exposed to several different situations, locations, and facilities. Her unique perspective made us curious to see what are the value of our services from her point of view.

What is the main value of having a certified medical interpreter?

Working in the Intensive Care Unit we know the value of time, every second matter. Having clear communication with an interpreter that has a Medical background, basic knowledge of terms,  and procedures can be very beneficial when it comes to the urgency of consent and ultimately the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores.

What was your firsthand experience with subcontracted interpreter services?

Having in person live interaction with the patient during interpretation is the most sought after the source. There are a few other avenues such as phone to phone or video interpretation, as these can work in patient assessment type situations.  But with bad connections and disconnections, nothing can replace having someone there in person. Again at the end of the day, it is all about patient education, knowledge of care being provided, and ease of mind.

Can you explain the difference of having a professional medical interpreter in the room?

This goes back to the experience, as there are stress and concern from the family and patient. There is an additional comfort factor that organically happens once their primary language is being spoken.  We can usually see a decrease in anxiety, an increase in ability to focus and listen to the content at hand. Once understanding is achieved via the use of primary language you can immediately see less fidgeting, heart rate decrease, and a sense of calmness occurs once the stress of the unknown is taken away as the patient and family feel aware and part of the medical plan.

What are common instances where you wish you had one present?

More common than not it is during the consent process. At times urgency is of utmost importance and the waiting game can be stressful for both the medical team, patient, and family. Having someone confident and competent walking in to assist the situation is a blessing for both the medical team as well as the patient and family.

Another example would be not divulging all the vital information if a family or friend is interpreting. That lack of important information could be a key hindrance to proper care. A trained interpreter is a neutral party and is aware of HIPPA and Regulations.

What are some of the dangers of not having a trained professional present?

Miscommunication and loss of time are the two that come to mind immediately.  I heard a story of a younger boy that was “interpreting” to his mother and ear-drops needed to be administered, as there was not a professional interpreter present. The drops were given orally instead of directly into the infected ear. With medication administration, the right route is one of the 5 rights of medication administration that can be detrimental to patient safety.  Once the patient leaves our care, it is vital that they have a clear understanding of post hospital and medical care.

At ClariVita, we take pride in our exceptional staff and are consistently seeking feedback and stories to better our language services in both the Medical and Legal fields.  For more information on how to partner with Clarivita and our team please contact us at

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