I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but today was my last day in the hospital! I remember the first day I walked onto the floor at Hospital San Juan de Dios. I remember being so nervous but excited to see how things happened in Spain. I wanted to know all about the similarities and differences. My goal was to able to learn more Spanish, so I could bring that back to the states and eventually speak with my patients at work in my future career. The first few days at the hospital were mentally and physically exhausting. It was so hard at first to think entirely in another language. No one was there to translate for me, and no one spoke my language. I had stepped into an entirely new territory. And this was different, because people’s lives were in my hands. The responsibility of this made the first couple days that much harder. I wanted nothing more than to understand what was going on. I was constantly taking notes of unfamiliar words or medicines, in hopes I could learn them for the next time and be better prepared.
I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this entire experience is how hard it can really be to navigate a hospital without knowing or understanding the hospital. It really put me into the patient’s perspectives. So often, patients come into the hospital in Boston and don’t speak English or maybe have a lower education level. In the beginning parts of my clinical, I feel as though I was in their shoes. I didn’t understand much of what was going on the first few times, no to mention it was all entirely in a foreign language. How hard is this situation for those patients in America? To not have someone there with you, translating at all times, and simply having to trust in what is going on around you? After this experience, I feel like I took a few steps in those patient’s shoes, and saw truly how hard it can be to be in a hospital where others might not understand you.
As I was finishing up for the day at the hospital, I went into one patient’s room. She had been there the entire time, since I’ve started working on the floor, but never understood what I was saying. Every week I would go in to take her blood pressure or check her blood sugar, but she would never hear me correctly. Today, I figured it would be more of the same, but I always let my patients know what exactly I’m about to do. So I say in Spanish, “I’m going to take your blood sugar now!” And surprisingly, this woman actually understood me! She said, “Ok go ahead!” *in Spanish of course haha*. I have never been more proud than in that moment. It was like everything I had been working for, to communicate with my Spanish patients just clicked in that moment. I cannot wait to bring home my new Spanish knowledge and be able to speak to my patients at home.