The renal and palliative care teams at Auckland City Hospital had contacted NZSTI Auckland Branch last year to help organise a presentation on issues relating to interpreting in medical consultations. Both teams work with patients who have life-limiting conditions and frequently need to have sensitive discussions with patients and their families.
At the presentation on 28 February 2023, branch members and interpreters Elizabeth Broom and Carolina Cannard talked about some of the challenges involved. It was a well-attended session, with 18 staff in the room and many more joining via Zoom. We received very positive feedback from attendees regarding how useful it was to understand things from the interpreter and patient perspectives.
Elizabeth provided an overview of the interpreter’s role, skills and training, and then detailed some specific challenges of interpreting in a healthcare setting. She concluded her section of the presentation with a breakdown of what clinicians and interpreters can do to achieve better and more efficient communication outcomes.
Carolina shared the perspectives of the participants that she interviewed as part of her PhD research, focusing on the experiences of refugee women and interpreters in New Zealand. She touched on four key issues regarding communication in health settings. She concluded her presentation by inviting the audience to reflect on the pros and cons of the language communication systems in place, and to evaluate if our healthcare interpreting system is serving or failing its purpose.
They then both answered questions from the audience.
The full report is available to download below.
Authors: Elizabeth Broom, Carolina Cannard and Hannah Burdekin
Photo: (left to right) Elizabeth Broom; Dr David Semple, renal services clinical director; Hannah Burdekin, NZSTI Auckland branch president; Carolina Cannard