Communication gaps between deaf patients, healthcare providers featured at USC Upstate workshop

Published on Friday, February 24, 2017

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Communication gaps between deaf patients, healthcare providers featured at USC Upstate workshop
A collaboration that could help reduce communication gaps for deaf patients and their healthcare providers is scheduled at USC Upstate.

Students from USC Upstate’s health communications classes and the Mary Black School of Nursing will host a role reversal workshop with members of the deaf community from 12 – 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 1 in the Mary Black School of Nursing, room 2039 in the Health Education Complex.

“Communication between deaf patients and medical professionals poses numerous challenges, not only because of linguistic differences, but also due to differences between deaf and hearing cultures,” said Dr. Warren Bareiss, associate professor of communication and coordinator of the health communication minor.

“As a result healthcare providers are often unaware of specific challenges faced by deaf people in healthcare settings and how to reduce those challenges,” said Tess Ellis, a research assistant in the communications program.

During this event, nursing students will learn basic communication techniques for working with deaf patients. During the exercise, nursing students will work with an interpreter, learn basic medical sign language and how to best communicate with deaf patients in the field.

In this “role reversal” workshop, members of the deaf community will act as nurses, while nursing students will serve as patients. Students will communicate their symptoms and receive instructions on how to take their medications.

“The purpose of the exercise is for nursing students to see what it’s like to be a patient whose language is not readily understood by most healthcare professionals,” Bareiss said.

The workshop also will feature a group discussion where certified interpreters will work with students to learn from the experience and to ask questions of deaf participants.





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