Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Healthcare staffs perceptions of using interpreters: a qualitative study

  • Emina Hadziabdic (a1), Björn Albin (a1), Kristiina Heikkilä (a1) and Katarina Hjelm (a1)

Abstract

Aim

The aim of this study was to describe how healthcare professionals experience and perceive the use of interpreters in their contacts with patients with whom they do not share a common language.

Background

Language barriers lead to poor-quality care and fewer medical contacts. To avoid language barriers and their consequences, interpreters are recommended. However, communicating through an interpreter can be difficult. To develop effective interpreter service it is important to study healthcare staff’s perceptions of using an interpreter.

Methods

An explorative descriptive study design was used. The study was conducted in different healthcare settings in Sweden and included 24 healthcare staff, of whom 11 were physicians, 9 nurses, 2 physiotherapists and 2 assistant nurses. Data were generated through written descriptions of the use of interpreters in healthcare service and were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Findings

Two main categories emerged from the data: 1) aspects related to the interpreter and 2) organizational aspects. The study showed that having a face-to-face, professional, trained interpreter, with a good knowledge of both languages and of medical terminology, translating literally and objectively, was perceived positively. The organizational aspects that affected the perception were functioning or non-functioning technical equipment, calm in the interpretation environment, documentation of the patients’ language ability, respect for the appointed time, and the level of availability and service provided by the interpreter agency. It is important to develop a well-functioning interpreter organization that offers trained interpreters with a professional attitude to improve and ensure cost-effective and high-quality encounters and care.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Healthcare staffs perceptions of using interpreters: a qualitative study
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Healthcare staffs perceptions of using interpreters: a qualitative study
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Healthcare staffs perceptions of using interpreters: a qualitative study
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Emina Hadziabdic, School of Health and Caring Sciences, Linnaeus University, SE-351 95 Växjö, Sweden. Email: emina.hadziabdic@lnu.se

References

Hide All
Bischoff, A. 2003: Caring for migrant and minority patients in European hospitals. A review of effective interventions. Vienna: Institute for the Sociology of Health and Medicine. Retrieved 20 November 2006 from http://www.mfh-eu.net/public/files/mfh_literature_review.pdf
Edwards, R., Temple, B.Alexander, C. 2005: Users’ experiences of interpreters: the critical role of trust. Interpreting 7, 7795.
Elderkin-Thompson, V., Silver, R.C.Waitzkin, H. 2001: When nurses double as interpreters: a study of Spanish-speaking patients in a US primary care setting. Soc Sci Med 52, 13431358.
Fatahi, N., Hellström, M., Skott, C.Mattsson, B. 2008: General practitioners’ views on consultations with interpreters: a triad situations with complex issues. Scand J Primary Health Care 26, 4045.
Fatahi, N., Nordholm, L., Matsson, B.Hellström, M. 2010: Experiences of Kurdish war-wounded refugees in communication with Swedish authorities through interpreter. Patient Educ Couns 78, 160165.
Gerrish, K., Chau, R., Sobowale, A.Birks, E. 2004: Bridging the language barrier: the use of interpreters in primary care nursing. Health Soc Care Community 12, 407413.
Giger, J.N.Davidhizar, R. 2004: Trans-cultural nursing assessment and intervention, Fourth edition. London: Mosby.
Greenhalgh, T., Voisey, C.Robb, N. 2007: Interpreted consultations as “business as usual”? An analysis of organisational routines in general practices. Sociol Health Illn 6, 931954.
Hadziabdic, E., Heikkilä, K., Albin, B.Hjelm, K. 2009: Migrants’ perceptions of using interpreters in healthcare. Int Nurs Rev 56, 461469.
Kammarkollegiet 2004: God tolksed: Vägledning för auktoriserade tolkar. (good interpreting practice: guidance for authorized interpreters). Stockholm: Kammarkollegiet.
Karliner, L.S., Jacobs, E.A., Chen, A.H.Mutha, S. 2007: Do professional interpreters improve clinical Care for patients with limited English proficiency? A systematic review of the literature. Health Serv Res 42, 727754.
Kaufert, J.M.Putsch, R.W. 1997: Communication through interpreters in healthcare: ethical dilemmas arising from differences in class, culture, language, and power. J Clin Ethics 8, 7187.
Krippendorff, K. 2004: Content analysis: an introduction to its methodology. London: Sage Publications.
Leininger, M.McFarland, M. 2002: Transcultural nursing: concepts, theories, research and practice. New York: McGraw Hill.
MacFarlane, A., Dzebisova, Z., Karapish, D., Kovacevic, B., Ogbebor, F.Okonkowo, E. 2009: Arranging and negotiating the use of informal interpreters in general practice consultations: experiences of refugee and asylum seekers in the west of Ireland. Soc Sci Med 69, 210214.
Ozolins, L.Hjelm, K. 2003: Nurses’ experiences of problematic situations with migrants in emergency care in Sweden. Clin Eff Nurs 7, 8493.
Patton, M.Q. 2002: Qualitative research and evaluation methods. London: Sage Publications.
Rhodes, P.Nocon, A. 2003: A problem of communication? Diabetes care among Bangladeshi people in Bradford. Health Soc Care Community 11, 4554.
Rosenberg, E., Leanza, Y.Seller, R. 2007: Doctor-patient communication in primary care with an interpreter: physician perceptions of professional and family interpreters. Patient Educ Couns 67, 286292.
SFS (1982: 763). Hälso-och sjukvårdslagen (The Swedish Health and Medical Services Act).
SFS (2003: 460). Förordning om etikprövning av forskning som avser människor. Swedish law.
Välimäki, T., Vehviläinen-Julkunen, K.Pietilä, A-M. 2007: Diaries as research data in a study on family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease: methodological issues. J Adv Nurs 59, 6876.
Van Manen, M. 1990: Researching lived experience: human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. Ontario: Althouse Press.
Watzlawick, P., Bavealas, J.B.Jackson, D.D. 1967: Pragmatics of human communication. A Study of interactional patterns, pathologies and paradox. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki 1996: Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects. Retrieved 10 March 2008 from http://www.wma.net/e/policy/b3.htm

Keywords

Healthcare staffs perceptions of using interpreters: a qualitative study

  • Emina Hadziabdic (a1), Björn Albin (a1), Kristiina Heikkilä (a1) and Katarina Hjelm (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.