Helpful Tips for Learning Medical Spanish

Tips to Learn Medical Spanish


Many health professionals feel immediately overwhelmed by just the thought of learning a new language. Spending just a few hours in a clinic or Emergency Department trying to communicate with Spanish speaking patients is a humbling experience, to say the least. There are several reasons to at least try to understand some basics of medical Spanish:

  • Improves communication with your patients: the medical setting can be a complex world, and adding a different language intensifies the existing challenges. Knowing some basic Spanish allows health professionals to more quickly understand chief complaints and coordinate the most appropriate intervention


  • Improves the quality of care: when health care practitioners can understand basic vocabulary, patients are able to be triaged more effectively


  • Improves efficiency in the workflow: the translation services computer is not always available at your fingertips. Being able to communicate a few of the basics with your patients can be immensely helpful during a busy workday


  • Improved quality of the workday: not being able to effectively communicate with your patients is one of the most challenging aspects of working in the medical setting. Being able to use even basic Spanish skills with your patients can enhance your work-life experience, allowing one to feel effective, efficient and compassionate.


  • Improved rapport with your patients: if you have ever stepped foot into another country where you don’t speak the language and come across a local person who has put effort into learning your language, it is likely you will feel immediate rapport and an increased sense of trust and appreciation for that person. Being able to chat with our patients about basic healthcare topics can be a huge relief during a potentially stressful, tragic or challenging time.


Learning Medical Spanish

Of course, the best way to learn medical Spanish is to immerse yourself in a Spanish speaking country for several months and try not to speak a word of your native language while you are there. Many people, especially in the healthcare world, do not have the choice or opportunity for this luxury.

Medical Spanish does not have to be so intimidating.

1-2 weeks of a MedTreks Spanish Bootcamp can jump-start your Spanish skills, then add on a few minutes a day of consistent Medical Spanish practice and within a few months you will likely be able to communicate the basics with your patients and not feel so overwhelmed when a Spanish speaking patient walks through your door.

What are the tips for learning Medical Spanish?

Join a MedTreks Medical Spanish Bootcamp in either Costa Rica or Peru! Spend 7-10 days immersed in a Spanish speaking country practicing and learning Medical Spanish an average of 4-6 hrs a day.


Costa Rica Medical Spanish

Photo: MedTreks Medical Spanish Class in Costa Rica


Find ways to incorporate the language into your daily life: 

  • Listen to Spanish speaking podcasts
  • Watch a Spanish speaking movie or show
  • Listen to Spanish speaking music on Pandora or Spotify
  • Watch short YouTube Videos in Spanish classes while doing house chores or going to the gym
  • Make a cheat sheet of Medical Spanish vocab that you always keep with you at work
  • Translate your most commonly used phrases using Google Translate or DuoLingo


Helpful Medical Spanish Resources

In this day of technology, there are several very helpful Spanish resources out there. Here are some of our favorites:


An incredibly fun and helpful website with several games and practice activities.

Helpful blogs on different tips for learning Spanish

Helpfull free medical content including the top 10 most common medical complaints as well as online packages for purchase.

CommonGround International- Learning Medical Spanish: several YouTube videos on various healthcare topics in Spanish

More Helpful Medical Spanish Resources!


Our Favorite Medical Spanish Book

Helpful Spanish Cheat Sheet


To learn more about our programs, contact us at: 


Pura Vida! 

~ The MedTreks Team


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