A Vocabulary Guide in Spanish for Nursing Professionals
Knowing Spanish for nursing is highly beneficial if you’re a nurse, medical professional, interpreter or even a layperson looking to learn some Spanish medical vocabulary. Today, being able to read, write, and speak in Spanish is an increasingly desired skill for medical professionals—and everyone.
Being bilingual makes you a valuable asset to any medical team. This is especially true in the U.S., where the non-English population continues to grow steadily.
In fact, according to the BBC, the United States now has roughly 41 million native Spanish speakers and about 12 million people who speak Spanish as a second language. In fact, it’s the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, even ahead of Spain!
Why Learn Spanish for Nursing?
Learning Spanish for nursing is another wonderful way nurses can serve their patients.
Hospitals and clinics are realizing the value of being a bilingual nurse or healthcare provider. A survey conducted by the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses estimated that bilingual registered nurses earn approximately 7% more in wages. So, Spanish for nursing not only gives you more job opportunities but it may also translate to a pay increase.
As a translator myself who knows basic Spanish for nursing, I can say how rewarding it is to help a diverse population—and how useful knowing these terms has been. If you plan to work abroad in Spain or Latin America, this Spanish for nursing vocabulary is invaluable. A bilingual nurse is in a unique position to improve the quality of care for patients both in the U.S. and abroad.
Please note that this vocabulary guide is not meant to be a medical guide, but rather an educational tool for nurses who are interested in learning basic medical Spanish. Let’s get to it!
Spanish for Nursing Vocabulary
As you can imagine, Spanish for nursing is a broad field, so I’ll cover general, basic medical terminology that you can start using now. These essential Spanish for nursing phrases give you a good idea of the kind of vocabulary you’ll need. If you need to review the body parts, check out this blog post.
Basic Medical Terminology
Blood pressure – La presión sanguínea
Bowel movement – La evacuación
Constipation – El estreñimiento
Doctor – El doctor, la doctora, el médico, la médica
Disease – La enfermedad
Health – La salud
Healthy – Sano/a
Medication – La medicina
Nausea – La náusea
Nurse – El enfermero, la enfermera
Pain – El dolor
Pharmacist – El farmacéutico, la farmacéutica
Pharmacy – La farmacia
Prescription – La receta
Sneeze – El estornudo
Surgery – La cirugía
Urine – La orina
Wound – La herida
Emergency Spanish Phrases
Are you hurt? – ¿Está herido/a?
Are you pregnant? – ¿Está embarazada?
Are you allergic to any medications? – ¿Es alérgico a algún medicamento?
Can you see me? – ¿Puedes verme?
Can you hear me? – ¿Puedes oírme?
Can you talk? – ¿Puedes hablar?
Can you move? – ¿Puede moverse?
Can you breathe well? – ¿Puedes respirar bien?
Where is the injury? – ¿Dónde está el herido/a?
Where is the patient? – ¿Dónde está el paciente?
Where does it hurt? – ¿Dónde te duele?
Did you lose consciousness? – ¿Perdió el conocimiento?
Open your mouth – Abra la boca
Don’t move – No se mueva
We need to do a blood test – Necesitamos hacer una prueba de sangre
I need to see if you’re hurt – Necesito ver si está herido
Take a deep breath – Respire profundo
You must rest – Debe guardar reposo
Here is your prescription – Aquí está la receta médica
Take a pill with meals – Tome una pastilla con cada comida
Additional Spanish for Nursing Vocabulary
Medical history/medical record – El historial médico
X-ray – La radiografía
MRI – La tomografía
Hospital admission – La admisión hospitalaria
Insurance forms – Formularios de Seguro
I don’t understand – No entiendo
I’ll be back in a moment – Regreso en un momento.
Allow me – Permítame
Just relax – Usted relájese
Press this button if you need help – Use el botón si necesita ayuda.
Ask for help before you get up – Llame antes de levantarse
Do you want to use the restroom? – Quiere ir al baño?
Do you want to take a shower? – Quiere bañarse?
I am going to give you an injection – Le voy a poner una inyección
Do you have questions? – Tienes preguntas?
Call us if you have any more questions – Llámenos si tiene preguntas
How to Talk to Your Patient in Spanish
Here are some common questions and answers that are likely to come up when you’re helping someone with health problems.
¿Cuál es el problema? – Me duele la cabeza.
What’s the matter? I have a headache.
¿Cómo te sientes? – Terrible
How do you feel? – Terrible
¿Dónde te duele? – Aquí
Where does it hurt? – Here
¿En qué puedo ayudarle? – Tengo fiebre.
How can I help you? – I have a fever.
¿Qué puedo hacer por usted? – Tengo dolor de cuerpo.
What can I do for you? – My body hurts.
¿Ha estado con gripe? – Sí, desde ayer.
Have you had the flu? – Yes, since yesterday.
¿Tiene dolor de garganta? – Si, no puedo hablar.
Do you have a sore throat? – Yes, I can’t speak.
¿Qué ha comido recientemente? – Comida callejera.
What have you eaten recently? – Street food.
¿Eres alérgico a algo? – Si, soy alérgico al gluten.
Are you allergic? – Yes, I’m allergic to gluten.
Knowing basic medical vocabulary in Spanish has become more crucial than ever. To be able to effectively help a patient or someone in need in Spanish, make sure to review your Spanish for nursing vocabulary regularly. These words and phrases are a great way to be on your way to become a fluent Spanish speaker and assist others in the process. Nurses look out for their patients’ health and wellness, and we’re grateful for the valuable work you do.
While we don’t offer Spanish medical courses at HSA, you can still sign up for a free class to practice Spanish conversation with certified, native Spanish-speaking teachers.
For online medical courses we recommend, check out 9 Excellent Medical Spanish Courses Online for Healthcare Professionals.
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