News and Views for Healthcare Accreditation Professionals

Question: We have physicians who speak Spanish as their native language, and have received medical education in the country of their birth. 

Would it be acceptable for the physician to provide foreign language education (patient centered communication standards) and translation for patients who speak the same native language?

Would this be acceptable for nurses to do this?

Answer: Thank you for your inquiry. The Joint Commission finds the use of staff for interpreter services acceptable but would require the organization to ensure the competency of the individuals providing these services. The organization would also define the qualifications for these individuals. The organization may also consider including certification, conducting an assessment of language proficiency in both English and the targeted language and promote ongoing training. Please review standards RI.01.01.03 EP 2 and HR.01.02.01 EP1. You may also want to review a resource provided by the Joint Commission which addresses this issue entitled, “Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence and Patient and Family Centered Care A Roadmap for Hospitals” . This manual is available on the Joint Commission website for all accredited organizations. Please review I have entered the link below:

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