Advanced Spanish for Health Professionals

Universidad Veritas

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Advanced Spanish for Health Professionals

  • Host University

    Universidad Veritas

  • Location

    San José, Costa Rica

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level


    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

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

    Name of the course: Advanced Spanish for Health Professions
    Course code: SSP 341
    Total number of hours: 60 hours of direct teaching
    Number of hours per week: 20 hours per week
    Number of hours of independent study: 10 hours per week
    Requirement: SSP 241
    Course Description:
    This course is designed for health personnel with a broad knowledge of Spanish and who need to improve their linguistic competence to interact with Spanish-speaking patients and their respective families.
    This course answers the question: How to achieve for the student to be able to communicate in a clear, fluid, structured and logical way, to achieve an effective communication with Spanish-speaking patients and their relatives?
    To answer this question the following topics will be studied:
    • Imperative for usted and ustedes
    • Interrogative pronouns
    • Simple past tense
    • Imperfect past tense
    • Present perfect tense
    • Present subjunctive
    • Imperfect subjunctive
    • Present perfect subjunctive
    • Past perfect subjunctive
    • Conditional sentences
    The following skills will be promoted throughout the course:
    • Ability to spell
    • Ability to check vital signs on a patient
    • Ability to describe the daily routine
    • Ability to describe diets
    • Ability to describe symptoms
    • Ability to describe accidents
    • Ability to ask about family history
    • Ability to give recommendations
    Some of the values and attitudes to be promoted among students are:
    • Teamwork and leadership
    • Systems thinking
    • Logical and communicative intelligence
    • Interest in solving problems
    • Interest in learning to learn
    • How to negotiate knowing how to inspire trust and empathy
    Competences, criteria and evidence
    Competences for Veritas University are thoughtful and comprehensive actions that respond to the professional profile and the context's problems, with suitability and ethical commitment, integrating knowing how to be, how to do, and how to learn, within an improvement perspective.
    Disciplinary and general competences are presented below, linked to their criteria and performance evidence for this course.
    Types of competences Performance criteria
    Performance evidences
    Linguistic competence
    Analyzes the use of language with a high degree of precision, propriety and ease to communicate with a orally and in writing with a Spanish
    speaking patient and his/her relatives.
    Builds clear, fluid and well-structured discourses, with logic and efficiency
    Structures written texts with high degree of correction
    Uses a wide repertoire and lexical richness that allows to communicate in different cultural contexts
    Integrates the meaning or semantic value of words in different contexts
    Directed reading
    Oral presentations
    Simulated patient
    Socio-linguistic competence
    Shares different ideas to convey opinions accurately and with different nuances of meaning to eliminate
    Highlights markers in the formal and informal register.
    Mediates between the speaker of the target language and the
    community of origin, and takes into account cultural differences through popular sayings and proverbs.
    Concept map
    Oral presentations
    Simulated patient
    Pragmatic competence
    Uses a broad discourse competence to communicate coherently
    Orders sentences to produce coherent fragments and of natural sequence according to a specific situation.
    Elaborates brief statements of interaction through exclamatory forms
    Builds texts through functional use of spoken discourse or written text .
    Oral presentations
    Simulated patient
    Integrates the knowledge, skills Learning to learn Directed readings
    Compositions and attitudes needed to learn continuously throughout life considering effective development in the knowledge
    Develops the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to learn how to communicate orally and in writing in the different discipline areas that make up the curriculum.
    Communicate disciplinary thoughts in oral, iconic and written form.
    Directed readings
    Oral presentations
    Simulated patient
    Integrates the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to learn teamwork and leadership techniques.
    Teamwork and leadership Directed reading
    Oral presentations
    Simulated patient
    Integrates the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to learn interpersonal communication techniques.
    Relating well with others
    Manage and resolve conflicts.
    How to negotiate knowing how to inspire trust and empathy
    Speak responsibly
    In depth listening
    Directed reading
    Oral presentations
    Simulated patient
    1. Linguistic Contents
    1.1. Grammatical
    Topic 1:
    a) Imperative for usted
    b) Simple past vs. imperfect past
    c) Present perfect tense
    Topic 2
    a) Present subjunctive
    b) Imperfect subjunctive
    c) Present perfect subjunctive
    d) Past perfect subjunctive
    Topic 3
    a) Conditional sentences
    1.2. Lexical
    Topic 4
    a) Medical vocabulary (el algodón, la ambulancia, la jeringa)
    b) Parts of the body
    c) Vocabulary related to checking vital signs (termómetro, esfigmomanómetro…)
    d) Symptoms of diseases
    Topic 5
    a) Vocabulary related to laboratory exams
    b) Vocabulary related to tests and diagnostic studies (cardiovascular tests and
    respiratory studies)
    c) Types of pain
    d) Symptoms
    Topic 6
    a) Diseases
    b) Allergies
    c) Diet
    d) Physical exercises
    Topic 7
    a) Accident vocabulary
    b) Time expressions
    c) Medicines
    d) Childhood illnesses
    Topic 8
    a) Surgeries
    b) Medical specialties
    1.3. Semantic
    Topic 9
    a) Formal and informal registration (usted / vos)
    b) Expressions of courtesy.
    1.4. Orthographic
    Topic 10
    a) The alphabet
    b) Vowels
    c) Consonants
    d) Punctuation marks
    2. Socio-linguistic contents
    Topic 11
    Formal and informal registration (usted / vos)
    Markers for:
    a) Formal and informal presentations
    b) Formal and informal greetings
    c) Formal and informal farewells and presentations
    d) Popular sayings and expressions
    3. Pragmatic contents
    Topic 12
    3.1. Discursive competition
    a) Recommendations in subjunctive
    b) Connectors
    3.2. Functional competence
    a) Brief statements with infinitive and imperative
    The proposed approach is the one used by the Common European Framework (CEFR), which focuses on action insofar as it considers users and students who learn a language mainly as social agents, that is, they are members of a society that has to carry out tasks under certain circumstances, in a specific environment and within a specific field of action. This approach also takes into account cognitive, emotional and volitional resources, as well as the whole series of specific capacities that an individual applies as a social agent.
    The use of language -which includes learning- includes the actions carried out by people who, as individuals and as social agents, develop a series of competences, both general and linguistic communicative competences, in particular. People use skills that are available to them in different contexts and under different conditions and restrictions, in order to carry out language activities that involve processes to produce and receive texts related to topics in specific areas, putting into play strategies that seem most appropriate to carry out the tasks they have to perform. The control that the participants have over these produces the reinforcement or modification of their competences.
    Learning strategies
    The following learning strategies will be performed:
    1. Four oral presentations:
    a) First oral presentation, 10%. Talk about nutrition and physical exercises to patients with heart disease, type two diabetes, arteriosclerosis, obese children. Must present a food and exercise pyramid.
    b) Second oral presentation, 10%. Childhood illness, there will be a drawing explaining the symptoms, causes and recommendations for the disease to children between four and seven years of age.
    c) Third oral presentation, 10%. Talk about sex education to teenagers.
    d) Fourth oral presentation, 10 %. Talk about systems aimed at children of school age.
    2. Two simulations: This activity will be done in pairs and will have a value of 15% each:
    a. Simulation 1: One student will act as a doctor and another as a patient. There will be a dialog to complete the medical file with the following information:
    o Personal information
    o Weighing
    o Measuring
    o Checking blood pressure
    o Reason for consultation
    o Description of symptoms
    o Inquiry of symptoms
    o Daily routine.
    o Family background
    o Laboratory exams
    o Diagnosis
    o Recommendations
    o Treatment
    b. Simulation 2: Talk and recommendations on how to act in case of emergency in the following cases:
    oElectrical thunderstorm. Protecting oneself from rays
    oPoisoning by accidental or intentional overdose with drugs, analgesics, sedatives, antidepressants, or by contact with cleaning products.
    oAllergic reaction to bee sting, food or medicine
    oTrapped in a burning building
    3. Two short compositions with a value of 5% each.
    a) Composition 1 Instructions on how to wash your hands correctly.
    b) Composition 2 Write 10 tips for patients suffering from a disease such as: type 2 diabetes, arteriosclerosis, anemia, hypertension, hepatitis
    4. Analysis of a film, 5% In order to promote a critical attitude towards diverse issues.
    5. Debate, 5%, is a space dedicated to promoting speaking and research techniques on different topics. The idea is for students to choose and prepare a topic to debate and generate similar or contradictory ideas and points of view.
    6. Simulated patient, 20%: This is the final activity of the course and is where students put into action everything learned in class. The simulated patient is done in pairs, one student acts as a nurse and another as a doctor and they will have to complete the identification card for the medical record of a native patient. They will have to interview the patient to collect the following information that must be written in the medical file:
    o Collection of personal data
    o Checking vital signs (weigh, measurements, blood pressure)
    o Reason for consultation
    o Description of symptoms
    o Daily routine.
    o Diet
    o Recommendations
    o Recommendations on diet and physical exercises
    Teaching resources
    For the good development of the course and to ensure learning, there is a collection of updated bibliographical recommendations, multimedia equipment for the individual presentations, furniture and acrylic slates for the weekly sessions, and readings supplied by the professor that can be a complement for the proposed project activities, as well as the different didactic techniques mentioned that give students a greater possibility of appropriating knowledge. Most lessons will take place in the classroom.
    During independent work hours students will be able to use the institution´s library, the study rooms or the computer laboratories, as well as any other areas in the university campus, since it has free access wireless Internet for all students, professors and staff.
    Students with more than one absence will fail the course, unless they present an official document as justification. Students will get a score of 0 for any task evaluated in class in their absence (presentations, evaluations, field visits, etc). In this case, make up for the assignment will take place immediately after their return. Regarding timeliness, if students add four late arrivals (15 minutes after starting the class) will be counted as an absence.
    Behavior code:
    Professors have the right to expel the student from class in the following cases:
    1) Disruptive behavior in the classroom.
    2) Being under the influence of alcohol.
    3) Behaving in a disrespectful way.
    Electronic devices:
    The use of mobile phones, smart phones and other mobile communication devices is disruptive and is therefore prohibited during class. Please turn off all devices and put them away when the class begins. The devices can be used only when the teacher assigned a specific activity and allows the use of devices for search on the Internet or recording. Those who fail to comply with this rule should leave the classroom for the remainder of the class.


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