Spanish for Health Professionals

Universidad de Belgrano

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Spanish for Health Professionals

  • Host University

    Universidad de Belgrano

  • Location

    Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Area of Study

    Health Science, Pre-Medicine, Spanish

  • Language Level

    High Intermediate, Advanced

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    Course Information
    Contact hours: 60 (class instruction)
    Contact hours in medical rotation: 15
    Monday to Thursday 2:30 – 4:45 pm

    Course Description
    Specifically designed for medical students and health professionals, this course aims to improve physician-patient interactions with Spanish-speaking patients. This course will lean on the activities students do at the hospital and thus, the clinical rotation will count as 15 contact hours of the Spanish course, recognizing that experience as a "natural approach to language." The course will focus on the grammatical structures, relevant vocabulary, and cultural competency topics needed in a medical interview and physical exam.
    Candidates should already possess a lower intermediate level of Spanish proficiency.

    Course Requirements
    Students are expected to study the material assigned for each class and actively participate in class.

    Classes will begin with an assembly in which students will bring their rotation experience to the class and use that experience as a warm up for the course. Vocabulary and expressions will be elicited from those assemblies.

    To get a better comprehensive view of the healthcare system, the program will include lectures by guest specialists, and students will present a written report afterwards.

    Attendance to class is mandatory. Students can only have TWO unjustified absences.

    Grading Policy

    Participation 10%
    Research Project 20%
    Oral Presentations on Hospital Activities 10%
    Lecture Reports 10%
    Final Presentation 15%
    Final Oral Exam (Clinical Interview) 15%
    Final Written Exam 20%

    Academic Calendar
    Week 1

    • Introduction to the course. Impressions of the orientation at the hospital. Asking and describing health conditions. Relevant phrases and questions for an interview with a patient. Introductory topics, questions and greetings. Grammar: Personal pronouns, formal and informal use. Verbs doler, arder, molestar y picar.
    • Oral presentations: cultural aspects noticed during clinical rotation (aka) “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)”. How to express wishes and emotions. Vocabulary: parts of the body. Grammar: Present Subjunctive and Present Perfect Subjunctive.
    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)”. Describing common symptoms. Qualifying and quantifying pain. Grammar: Ser/estar + adjectives. Tener/estar + nouns. Quantifiers.
    • Sistema de Salud en Argentina, Dr. Mario Schiter. Let´s learn about Latin America beyond the Latin patient stereotype. Grammar: deber (de) + infinitive. Selection of the topic for the research project.

    Week 2

    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)”. Expressing hypothesis or conjectures. Grammar: Future and Conditional Tenses to express hypothesis and probability. Composition: Report about the Argentine Healthcare System.
    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)” Vital signs. Equipment for taking vital signs. Vocabulary: internal organs and the head. Male and female reproductive system. Grammar: interrogative words. Definite, indefinite and neutral articles.
    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)” How to write a clinical story. Talking about illnesses and their symptoms. Medicine and therapeutic action. Grammar: Simple Perfect and Pluperfect Tenses.
    • Historia de la Enfermería y sus especialidades, Matron Verónica Hortis de Smith, Lic. Teresa Gómez y Lic. Carolina Giuffré. Let ́s learn about Argentina: Patient and medical information. Grammar: verbs of change.

    Week 3

    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)” Pediatric controls. Typical objects and actions in childhood. Grammar: Contrast between Perfect and Imperfect Past tenses of Indicative Mode. Composition: report about the History of Nursing.
    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)”. Let ́s learn about Argentina: Medical tourism. Grammar: Simple Conditional Tense as the future of the past. Verb phrases.
    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)”. Giving instructions for a physical and a neurological exam. Indications for treating burns. Grammar: Imperative forms. Tener que, hay que, ser necesario + infinitive. Temporal connectors and clauses.
    • William Osler, padre de la medicina, Dr. Pablo Young Lab tests and diagnostic results: blood test, urine test, sputum test, skin tests and X rays. Expressing the cause and the purpose. Let ́s learn about Argentina: alternative medicine. Grammar: Use of por, porque, para and para que. Use of “se” pronoun. Research project: draft

    Week 4

    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital).” Symptoms and description of abdominal pain. Interview with a patient with abdominal pain. Grammar: Pronominal verbs. Connectors of condition. Conditional sentences. Passive sentences. Composition: report about William Osler.
    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)”. Anticonceptive methods. Sexually transmitted diseases (STD). How to address sexual activity questions. Let ́s learn about Argentina: National Health System and Public Hospitals. Grammar: Present Subjunctive with verbs of influence, and doubt and possibility.
    • Oral presentations: “Dear Diary (at the Hospital)”. Cardiovascular and respiratory systems. A patient with high blood pressure. A patient with bronchitis. Grammar: relative pronouns. Relative clauses.
    • Globalización y Medicina del viajero, Dr. Sergio Verbanaz Types of food, healthy and unhealthy food. The patient with diabetes.Let ́s learn about Argentina: organ donation. Grammar: use of Conditional with poder, deber y tener que. Concessive clauses.

    Week 5

    • Oral presentations: the experience at the hospital. Emergency room: a car accident. Let ́s learn about Argentina: Use of drone for medical emergencies. Grammar: revision of grammar points. Composition: report about Globalization and Travelers ́ Medicine.
    • Final exam review.
    • Final written exam.
    • Final oral exam: a clinical interview. Final presentations: Research project results.

    Required Textbooks and Materials

    Koper, Alejandra; Español para profesionales de la salud. Material de trabajo, Universidad de Belgrano, Buenos Aires, 2017.

    Suggested Course Materials

    AA.VV.; Complete Medical Spanish. Practical Medical Spanish for a Quick and Confident Communication, Estados Unidos, McGraw-Hill Education, 2015 (3a.edición).

    AA.VV.;Gramática básica del estudiante de español, Barcelona, Difusión, 2005. Bongiovanni, G.,Medical Spanish, Estados Unidos, McGraw-Hill Education, 2005 (4a. edición).

    Matte Bon, Gramática comunicativa del español, Madrid, Edelsa, 1995.

    VOX Medical Spanish and English Dictionary, Estados Unidos, Editorial Larousse, 2011.


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies.

Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.