To study a group of immigrants' experiences regarding interactions with primary health care through an interpreter.
Approximately, 230 million people are resettled outside of their own home country. Thus, more than 3% of the world's population are migrants. It is a major challenge for health care providers to satisfy immigrants' needs for individualised health care services.
Focus group interviews were conducted with four groups of immigrants (n = 24) from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo and Somalia. The group interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed, and the text was categorised using the content analysis method.
Participants' expectations of the interpreter-mediated consultations were high, but not always fulfilled. Interpreters being late, lacking professionalism or lacking knowledge in medical terminology and the use of health care professionals or relatives as interpreters were some of the problems raised.
A well-organised, disciplined interpreter service with professional and competent interpreters is needed to overcome problems regarding clinical consultations involving interpreters. A satisfactory language bridge has a significant impact on the quality of communications.
Interpreter services should be well organised, and interpreters should be linguistically, culturally and socially competent, as these factors may have a significant impact on consultation outcomes. Using relatives or staff as interpreters can sometimes be a solution but often results in an unsatisfactory clinical consultation.
OBJECTIVE: To study experiences of war-wounded Kurdish refugees with respect to cross-cultural communication through interpreters. METHOD: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten men, aged 31-42. Content analysis was used for analysis and interpretation of data. RESULT: War-wounded Kurdish refugees experienced a number of difficulties regarding communication through interpreters, mainly related to the insufficient language link to the Swedish authorities, particularly health care personnel. In many instances, interpreters were selected based on the immigrant's citizenship rather than mother tongue, leading to a more complex, tri-lingual interpretation situation. Differences in cultural background, fear, suspicion and lack of confidence in interpreters were addressed as other problems by the participants. CONCLUSION: Interpreter competence and patient confidence in the interpreter are essential for an adequate cross-cultural health communication. Assignment of interpreters should be based on knowledge of the patient's/client's mother tongue, rather than citizenship, and the outcome is improved by a common ethnic and cultural background of interpreter and patient/client. Our study should be considered as a pilot study, and the results should be validated in larger cohorts as well as in other ethnic and language groups. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: In order to minimize communication misunderstandings, complicated tri-lingual interpretation situations should be avoided. Interpreters should ideally be assigned according to patient's/client's mother tongue rather than citizenship. Interpreters' competence and patient's/client's confidence in interpreter may have significant impact on communication outcome.
AIM: This paper is a report of a study exploring nurse radiographers' experiences of examining patients who do not speak the native language. BACKGROUND: The increased number of immigrant patients in Western countries poses a challenge to healthcare staff, as mutual understanding is needed in encounters with patients who do not speak the language of the host country. In particular, little is known about the quality of communication in the setting of radiological examinations, i.e. short encounters with demanding technical and caring components. METHODS: Three focus group interviews with experienced nurse radiographers (n = 11) were carried out in 2007. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. A qualitative content analysis method was applied to analyse the interview texts. FINDINGS: Four main categories emerged in the analysis: modes, needs, quality and improvements of interpreting. The need for an interpreter is strongly associated with the type of examination. For interventional procedures and contrast-enhanced examinations, a professional interpreter is required to inform the patient and to identify and handle side effects and complications. Friends, relatives, particularly children, and staff as interpreters were not considered ideal as an alternative. Shortage of time and lack of specific knowledge about radiological procedures were identified as problems with professional interpreters. Interpreter training and checklists specific for radiology department routines were suggested, as well as improved nurse radiographers' education on intercultural communication. CONCLUSION: The need for an interpreter, and the native tongue of the patient, should be clearly stated on the radiology request form, to allow timely scheduling of an interpreter. Intercultural communication in nurse radiographers' education should be enhanced.