spanish phrases

20 Spanish phrases native nurses should know

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20 Spanish phrases native nurses should know

Language Translation

It is vital for medical practitioners, especially in the United States, to learn basic Spanish since it helps deliver their services to everyone. They need to study some basic Spanish medical phrases so that they can save more lives. Native nurses need to learn a foreign language to breach the language barrier with the patients.

spanish phrases
spanish phrases

Almost half of the population of the US speaks Spanish. You will encounter patients from different backgrounds, and they expect the same treatment as others when you work as a nurse. Spending time in the hospital can be scary to patients, no matter how comforting your nurse may be. Nurses can ease the pain that the patients feel if they communicate with them properly. There is a need for hospital translators to break the language barrier between patients and medical practitioners.

Unfortunately, hospitals can’t provide translators. This blog will discuss the common Spanish medical phrases that native nurses need to learn to respond appropriately to the needs of their patients.

It’s an emergency!

This is translated to “¡Es una emergencia!”

We have an emergency.

It means, “Tenemos una emergencia.”

Medical terms for travelers and medical professionals


It means “pain.” It refers to either physical or mental pain.


It often acts as an adjective that means “sick.” It also acts as a noun that means a “sick person” or “patient.”


Enfermedad means an illness, sickness or disease.

¿Cuál es el problema?

What is the problem?

Me duele/duelen la/el/las/los…

It is like saying, “My ______ hurt/hurts.” For example, me duele la cabeza means “my head hurts.” Me duelen los pies translate to “my feet hurt.”

Estoy enfermo/enferma.

It translates to “I am sick.” A man would use enfermo while a woman would use enferma, following standard grammar rules.

Siéntese aquí, por favor.

Sit here, please.

¿Tiene seguro médico?

Do you have medical/health insurance?

Necesito ver su…

I need to see your…

Tarjeta de seguro médico

Medical/health insurance card

¿Quién es su contacto de emergencia?

Who is your emergency contact?

Mal apetito/poco apetito

Mal apetito means “bad appetite,” while poco apetito means “poor appetite.”

Análisis de sangre

It means “analysis of blood.” It is called this “blood test” or “blood work.”

Número de seguro social

Social security number

Usted me entiende?

Do you understand?

Puede mostrarme dónde siente dolor?

Can you point to where you are in pain?

En escala del uno al diez, dígame qué tan malo es su dolor?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is the pain?

Usted tiene algún familiar a quien podamos llamar?

Do you have any family that you want us to call?

Quiere usted algo de tomar o tiene hambre?

Are you hungry or thirsty?

Common medical Spanish phrases

The following phrases are typical responses of patients during examinations.

Tengo dolor.

It translates to “I have pain.”

Tengo dolor de cabeza.

I have a headache.

Tengo dolor de estómago.

I have a stomach ache.

Tengo dolor de garganta.

I have a sore throat.

Tengo dolor de oídos.

I have sore ears.

Tengo dolor de muelas.

I have a toothache.

Estoy enfermo.

I’m sick.

No me siento bien.

I’m feeling sick.

Me siento mal.

I feel unwell.

Me siento débil.

I feel weak.

Me duele el brazo.

My arm hurts.

Me duele la pierna.

My leg hurts.

Me duele la cabeza.

My head hurts.

Me duele la rodilla.

My knee hurts.

Me duele el pie.

My foot hurts.

Me duelen los dedos.

My fingers hurt.

Me duele el tobillo

My ankle hurts.

Me duele el ojo.

My eye hurts.

Me duele el hombro.

My shoulder hurts.

Often Used Spanish Medical Phrases

The list below includes the most common questions medical practitioners ask during examinations. It also contains commands that are usually used to assist the patients.

¿Que tipo de síntomas tiene?

What kind of symptoms do you have?

¿Tiene dolor?

Do you have pain?

¿Donde le duele?

Where does it hurt (you)?

¿Tiene fiebre?

Do you have a fever?

Cuántos años tiene usted?

How old are you?



Qué medicines toma?

What medicines do you take?

Dónde le duele? Aqui?

Where does it hurt? Here?

Désde cuándo lo tiene?

How long have you had it?

Sientese por favor.

Sit down, please.

Parese por favor.

Please stand up.

Siéntese, por favor.

Sit up, please.

Llame antes de levantarse.

Ask for help before you get up.

Use el botón para ayuda.

Use the call light if you need help.


Permit me.

Regreso en un momento.

I’ll be back in a moment.

No entiendo.

I don’t understand.

Repita, por favor.

Repeat, please

Hable despacio por favor.

Speak slowly, please.

Tienes preguntas?

Do you have questions?

Le voy a poner una agúja intravenosa en el brazo.

I am going to place an intravenous needle in your arm.

Le voy a poner una inyección.

I am going to give you an injection.\

Quiere bañarse?

Do you want to take a shower?

Quiere ir al baño?

Do you want to use the restroom?

Learning Spanish is faster if you are willing to study the language. We can always use applications to help us through the learning process. Some websites provide support for nurses in their Spanish translations. Your colleagues and friends can also assist you with your translations. It is always better to try all options if you want to learn the dialect.

How do you introduce yourself as a nurse in Spanish?

The most common way to introduce yourself in Spanish is to say “Me llamo” followed by your name.

What are some excellent phrases in Spanish?

Popular Spanish Sayings

  • No hay dos sin tres. Literal: There is no two without three.
  • Nuevo rey, nueva ley. Literal: New king, new law.
  • Más vale maña que fuerza. Literal: Better skill than strength.
  • Más se consigue lamiendo que mordiendo.
  • Favor con favor se paga.
How to say Blood Pressure in Spanish?

la presión arterial is said blood pressure in Spanish.

What are the essential phrases in Spanish?

Important Spanish Phrases to Know:

  • Hola – “Hello”
  • ¿Qué tal? – “How are you?”
  • ¿Qué pasa? – “What’s up?”
  • ¿Cómo te va? – “How’re you doing?”
  • Bien – “Good”
  • Muy bien – “Very good.”
Is Spanish important for nursing?

A basic understanding of Spanish is a talent that can set a nursing job candidate apart and add value to their CV.

Enhancing Spanish Patient Care: Proficiency in Medical Vocabulary

In order to enhance the quality of care for Spanish-speaking patients, it is essential for health care providers to be proficient in medical vocabulary relevant to this demographic. Effective communication between Spanish speakers and health care professionals can significantly improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. By incorporating Spanish vocabulary into their practice, providers can ensure a clearer understanding of medical conditions, treatment plans, and health advice. This linguistic competence fosters trust and facilitates more accurate diagnoses and effective treatments, ultimately bridging the gap in health disparities and promoting a more inclusive health care environment.

Healthcare providers and professionals who are fluent in common medical phrases and terminology have significantly more job opportunities available to them. This linguistic proficiency not only enhances patient care but also ensures that medical care is administered effectively and accurately. Being able to communicate clearly with patients about their conditions, treatment options, and care plans fosters a more trusting and effective healthcare environment. As a result, healthcare professionals who invest in developing their language skills are better equipped to meet the diverse needs of their patients, leading to improved health outcomes and greater career advancement opportunities in the healthcare sector.

Language Proficiency in Patient Care

Providing quality care to patients is significantly enhanced when healthcare professionals can communicate in the patient’s native language. For nurses, learning key phrases in their patients’ native languages can make a substantial difference in understanding and addressing their needs. Online courses designed for medical professionals offer a convenient and effective way to learn these essential phrases. By incorporating training from native speakers, these courses ensure accurate pronunciation and context, empowering nurses to deliver more empathetic and precise care. This linguistic competence not only improves patient satisfaction but also contributes to better health outcomes by ensuring clear and accurate communication.

When writing a blog post aimed at healthcare professionals, it’s crucial to highlight the importance of mastering medical terminology and Spanish grammar, especially for those working with Spanish-speaking patients on a daily basis. Phrases like “¿A qué medicinas tiene usted alergia?” (What medicines are you allergic to?) are vital in medical emergencies where quick, clear communication can save lives. Understanding and using correct Spanish grammar ensures that these crucial questions are understood correctly, reducing the risk of errors. This linguistic skill not only enhances the quality of care but also builds trust between healthcare providers and their patients.

Language Skills in Healthcare

In Latin America, medical assistants and physical therapists play integral roles in the healthcare system, often requiring strong Spanish skills to effectively communicate with patients. From assisting physicians to providing rehabilitative care, these healthcare professionals rely on clear communication to ensure patients receive the best possible treatment. Phrases like “Respire profundamente” (Breathe deeply) are essential in guiding patients through exercises or during medical examinations. Proficiency in Spanish not only allows medical assistants and physical therapists to better understand their patients’ needs but also fosters a sense of trust and comfort in the healthcare setting, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.

In the healthcare field, language skills are increasingly recognized as essential tools for delivering quality care, particularly for health care workers like nurses. Being able to communicate effectively in a foreign language, such as Spanish, is invaluable, especially in regions with diverse patient populations. A bilingual nurse, equipped with fluency in both English and Spanish, for instance, can bridge linguistic barriers and ensure patients receive the attention they need, regardless of their native language. Whether it’s explaining medical procedures, discussing treatment options, or comforting patients during stressful moments, the ability to communicate in multiple languages enhances the level of care provided. In today’s healthcare environment, the role of the bilingual nurse is pivotal in addressing the needs of diverse patient communities and promoting health equity.

Language & Cultural Challenges

Hospital nurses, including travel nurses who work in various healthcare settings, can greatly benefit from native videos covering a variety of medical topics. These videos cater to both basic and advanced speakers, providing valuable insights into different aspects of patient care, from administering medications to handling emergencies. For instance, videos discussing “¿Qué medicinas tomas?” (What medications do you take?) offer practical guidance for nurses inquiring about patients’ medication regimens. By leveraging native videos, nurses can enhance their language skills, gain confidence in their communication abilities, and ultimately improve the quality of care they provide to their patients.

Specialized courses in Spanish terminology are increasingly valuable for emergency responders working in areas with a significant Spanish-speaking population. These courses provide comprehensive vocab lists tailored to the specific needs of emergency responders, covering essential phrases and terminology crucial for effective communication in urgent situations. From assessing injuries to coordinating rescue efforts, mastering Spanish terminology equips responders with the linguistic skills needed to navigate diverse communities and provide timely assistance. Moreover, such proficiency opens up new opportunities in the career field, allowing emergency responders to better serve their communities and advance in their roles with confidence.

Cultural barriers present significant challenges for social workers and medical receptionists in their interactions with diverse patient populations. While a 75-minute nursing phrase cassette may provide valuable language support, it often falls short in addressing the complex cultural nuances that impact communication in healthcare settings. Social workers and receptionists must navigate cultural differences in attitudes toward health, treatment preferences, and communication styles, which can influence patient engagement and outcomes. By recognizing and addressing these barriers, healthcare professionals can foster trust, understanding, and effective communication, ultimately improving the quality of care provided to all patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is it important for nurses to learn Spanish?

    Nurses who learn Spanish can communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients, ensuring accurate assessment, treatment, and patient education. This enhances patient safety, satisfaction, and overall quality of care.

  • What are some common Spanish phrases nurses should know?

    Common Spanish phrases for nurses include greetings (“Hola, ¿cómo está?”), questions about symptoms (“¿Qué síntomas tiene?”), medication inquiries (“¿Qué medicamentos toma?”), and instructions (“Respire profundamente”).

  • How can nurses improve their Spanish language skills?

    Nurses can improve their Spanish language skills through formal courses, language exchange programs, online resources, and practicing with Spanish-speaking colleagues or patients.

  • What challenges might nurses face when communicating in Spanish?

    Challenges may include understanding regional accents, medical terminology variations, idiomatic expressions, and cultural differences. Additionally, nurses may encounter patients with limited Spanish proficiency.

  • How can nurses overcome language barriers when caring for Spanish-speaking patients?

    Nurses can overcome language barriers by using medical interpretation services, utilizing bilingual staff or interpreters, using visual aids, speaking slowly and clearly, and actively listening to patients’ concerns. Additionally, continuously improving Spanish language skills can enhance communication effectiveness.

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