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Strategy Submission

Nursing Students Using Interpreter Tools to Foster Therapeutic Communication with NON-English Speaking Patients in Varied Care Settings


Maria del Carmen Molle



Assistant Professor-Nursing


Professor Heather Heithoff, MN, RN


Raritan Valley Community College


Competency Categories:

Patient-Centered Care, Quality Improvement, Safety, Teamwork and Collaboration

Learner Level(s):

Pre-Licensure ADN/Diploma, Pre-Licensure BSN, RN to BSN

Learner Setting(s):

Clinical Setting

Strategy Type:

General Strategy

Learning Objectives:

The student will: -Describe various interpreter tools and their function. -Recognize non-English or limited English speaking patient populations and assess their communication needs. -Identify potential or actual safety barriers when a translator tool is not used. -Identify potential or actual quality problems when a translator tool is not used. -Provide examples of therapeutic and non-therapeutic communications with supportive rationales. -Evaluate the communication encounter for communication effectiveness. -Provide potential solutions to safety barriers and quality problems.

Strategy Overview:

The nursing student’s understanding of language diversity in our patient care settings and being able to effectively communicate with the diverse patient populations we care for. Effective communication between the patient and their healthcare team enables the patient to receive safe, patient-centered care (NPSG, 2020). The nursing student using available interpreter tools encourages professional behaviors such as communication, patient advocacy, teamwork and collaboration, and management of patient care (Belleza, 2020). The clinical educator has the responsibility to model professional behavior in the clinical setting for nursing students as outlined in the NLN’s The Scope of Practice for Academic Nurse Educators and Academic Clinical Nurse Educators (2020) as well as exposing nursing students to various interpreter tools to provide language congruent nursing care while being a manager of that patient’s care (NCSBN, 2020). Strategy Implementation: This learning activity incorporates the use of an interpreter tool to facilitate therapeutic communication between the nursing student and a non-English or limited English speaking patient in varied care settings such as a clinic, hospital, doctor’s office, or other outpatient settings. This activity can also be adapted to use in lecture, skills lab, or incorporated into a pre-existing simulation exercise for the junior or senior nursing student as an interactive learning activity.

Additional Materials:

QSEN- Intrapersonal Process Recording (IPR) 2020 and IPR Grading Rubric 2020 templates.


Belleza, M. (2020). Therapeutic Communication Nursing Care Management. Nursinglabs.

Christensen, L.S, and Simmons, L.E., (2020). The Scope of Practice for Academic Nurse Educators and Academic Clinical Nurse Educators. Wolters Kluwer.

National Council of State Boards of Nursing (2020). 2019 NCLEX RN test plan.

National Patient Safety Goals (2020).

Squires, A. (2018). Strategies for Overcoming Language Barriers in Healthcare. Nursing Management, April 2018, 49:4.

Evaluation Description:

The nursing student is provided feedback on the learning outcomes by completing an Intrapersonal Process Recording based on the criteria outlined in the IPR Grading Rubric (Pass or Fail vs actual numerical grade). The feedback is provided by the clinical professor and the student has an opportunity to also respond.
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