Communication Strategies for Nurses Interacting With Patients Who Are Deaf

Christine Chong-hee Lieu, BA; Georgia Robins Sadler, PhD, MBA, BSN; Judith T. Fullerton, PhD, CNM, FACNM; Paulette Deyo Stohlmann, MSN, RN, OCN


Dermatology Nursing. 2007;19(6):541-544; 549-55. 

In This Article

Finding an Interpreter

Staff at health care settings that have a regular clientele drawn from the Deaf community quickly learn how to schedule ASL interpreters. However, deaf patients report that staff in health care settings who only occasionally see deaf patients lack this knowledge. Similarly, staff members often are not aware of the need to arrange for interpreters with the right level of proficiency, particularly with regard to medical terminology. Without knowledge of the varying levels of ability among interpreters, miscommunication en sues and deaf patients may be denied optimal access to health care. Deaf patients will have the best chance of securing optimal interpreting services when nurses know the policies of their health care settings. While hospitals often will have prearranged translation services, private clinical settings may not. In those instances, nurses need to know where to find interpreting services and how to request the appropriate level of interpreting proficiency. Nurses can find ASL interpreting services in their local phone book under "Translator," at (Registry for Interpreters for the Deaf), and at to find the appropriate level of interpreting service for their deaf patient.


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