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Characteristics of a Medical Interpreter and Translator

Overview

In the past medical interpretation and translation was performed mostly on an ad hoc basis, calling on whoever was immediately available such as family members or friends, this ran a high risk of inadequate communication as untrained individuals had little understanding of medical concepts or terminology.

In the healthcare sector, miscommunication can cost someone’s life, if a medical professional is unable to understand a patient sufficiently the chances of misdiagnosis and mistreatment increases. A medical interpreter/translator serves as a vital communication bridge between patient and healthcare professional.

Characteristics

The most obvious characteristic a medical interpreter should have is to have a strong medical vocabulary; the interpreter must be able to translate highly specialised terms. Interpreters rely on strong interpersonal and self-management skills in order to facilitate communication while remaining impartial and objective. The health and safety of the patient is directly linked to the interpreter’s ability to communicate.

Another important characteristic is to have complete respect for the privacy of the patient and to remember that such information exchanged between patient and medical professional is completely confidential; this information cannot be disclosed to anyone.

Within the medical profession there are several areas of conflicting ideologies including abortion, contraception, drugs and the right to die; a medical interpreter needs to be very sensitive to these issues and be fully aware of the cultural background of the patient and ensure they do not allow their own views to conflict with the patient.

Responsibilities

Medical interpreters assist during admissions, examinations, consultations and procedures. In addition to interpretation, they will also be involved in translating of written documents. Medical translators are able to translate documents of a medical and pharmaceutical kind such as clinical reports and studies, medical drug trial studies, hospital reports, medical articles, guidelines brochures and software.

Medical Translator vs. Medical Interpreter

Although these words are often used interchangeably there is a specific difference between the two; a medical translator is someone who specialises in translating written documents such as patient records, whereas a medial interpreter is someone who specialises in verbal communication between patient and medical professional.

Importance of using a Trained Interpreter

A variety of medical mistakes can take place because of the errors in interpretation; interpreters that are untrained are far more likely to miscommunicate information that can result in severe implications regarding the treatment outcome. A qualified, experienced and trained interpreter will never miss any vital information; they will convey the exact information without adding their own opinion. An interpreter can increase the quality of care for a patient by decreasing communication errors, increasing patient comprehension and satisfaction and improving clinical outcomes.

What Is Burnout? How Medical Assistants Can Prevent Burnouts

The usual signs of burnout are constant feelings of helplessness, irritability, anxiety attacks, weight loss or weight gain and insomnia. Symptoms of burnout can affect the emotional, mental and physical well being of a person. Burnout is a state of exhaustion. This is typically caused by prolonged and excessive stress. It is experienced when someone feels overwhelmed by the everyday demands of work and that person is unable to meet the demands because of certain reasons.

Burnout is very common to healthcare workers most especially to medical assistants or MAs. Possibly, it can be due to the constant pressure, long hours of work and the demanding workloads that come along with their everyday routine.

Burnout may have a negative effect on the person’s relationships and engagements at home and at work. Prolonged stress can reduce one’s productivity and later. Moreover, burnout can make a person feel cynical, restless, sarcastic and resentful. It can also cause one’s body to be vulnerable to various illnesses such as common colds and flu. Burnout must be managed effectively before it gets worse.

Here are some of the things that a medical assistant should do to manage burnout:

1. Stay Positive And Give Up Unrealistic Expectations

MAs usually deal with patients that are negative, emotional and depressed. One of their tasks is to comfort these patients. It can be taxing to console and to comfort someone who is emotionally stressed. Medical assistants should learn how to brush off these negative emotions because the negative energy and vibes can be absorbed unknowingly.

2. Exercise Regularly

One of the most effective ways to eliminate burnout is to have a regular exercise. Simple exercises that most MAs can do are jogging, walking and or biking. Doing this everyday can help the body release endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for eliminating negative emotions which most MAs absorb in their work.

Exercise can also improve one’s mood. It eliminates irritability, depression, hostility, anger, anxiety and frustrations. Most medical assistants do exercise right after their shift to eliminate those negative emotions and to help them to have a better sleep. Regular exercise also improves restlessness and fatigue. It can also boost one’s energy, thus resulting to positive attitude and vibes.

3. Learn To Separate Work From Personal Life

MAs should learn how to separate work from personal life. From time to time, it is important to get away from work. Watch a relaxing movie at home or have something to do like a hobby. Reading, sketching and playing sports are some of the things that help people unwind. These activities can serve as diversion.

Medical assisting is very fulfilling, rewarding and the same time a very challenging career. Being a medical assistant is not as easy as most people see. Their daunting tasks often lead to stress and burnout. With the tips mentioned above, one can easily fight burnout. MAs are not robot. They too are prone to stress and burnout. They also need to enjoy their life so that they can be productive and effective at work.

Medical Alert Devices

Medical Alert devices are electronic gadgets worn on your body to alert your family, friends and doctor in case of a medical emergency. They are normally meant for senior citizens, but they are equally crucial for all those who suffer from serious and debilitating diseases like cardiovascular conditions, asthma, allergies, neurological problems, epilepsy, fainting, blindness and numerous other medical conditions.

Medical Alert devices come in many shapes and designs. They may be in the form of buttons, necklaces, bracelets, pendants or wristwatches. They may have designer shapes. They may be made of precious metals like silver or gold, or come in practical shapes without any attention to their aesthetic appearance. Image-conscious wearers usually go in for these devices in form of fashionable (medical) jewelry, which is less likely to advertise their medical problems to others.

Since wearing these devices is often a medical necessity, one has to be careful before deciding which device is best suited to their type of disease. The simplest form of these devices are manufactured as jewelry items with the medical history of the patient, along with telephone numbers of his family and doctor, engraved on them. But far more useful than these are the jewelry items fitted with sensors and electronic mechanisms that activate the transmission system installed within, and connect to telephone lines or radio frequencies to contact the patient’s family, friends, and doctor, and also summon medical assistance. These devices contain the medical identity of the patient and the history of his disease so the critical time in diagnosing is not wasted.

Considering the millions of people the world over suffering from different medical problems, the market is awash with fashionable designer medical jewelry meant for these persons. Therefore, one must be cautious before spending money on them. It would be better to seek the advice of one’s doctor before deciding which device suits your medical condition. These devices are sophisticated, and likely to be costly and beyond the reach of ordinary persons. But if a thorough search is made through the Internet, Yellow Pages or other sources, cheaper but equally useful accessories can be bought. Care should also be taken about the reputation of the manufacturing company with regard to the product quality, guarantee of its effectiveness and after-sales service.