December 04, 2018
Roxana Wallace still remembers the time a Huron Regional Medical Center patient asked for a hug. She had just helped the woman communicate with a physician—and the woman was so grateful. “It was so emotional and it made me feel so good,” she recalled.
Roxana has been providing an essential service to community members in Huron for the past 10 years. She’s part of a team of interpreters helping patients to communicate with staff and physicians, allowing our community’s diverse population of Spanish speakers the opportunity to receive quality health care.
It’s an essential service to people who have come from as far away as Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and El Salvador—many of them working at one of our town’s businesses. “It is critical to have this service in a community as diverse as Huron—it is wonderful that we can offer it.”
The hospital has been an important bridge between community members from other cultures and quality health care for years. And HRMC intends to continue to invest in tools that help immigrants effectively communicate their health and medical needs.
Roxana is on call, oftentimes responding to the emergency room and obstetrics departments. She also works with patients who are scheduled in one of our clinics. Urgent medical situations can be stressful, she said, even if someone is able to speak some English. “When you are in pain, you communicate much better in your own language,” Roxana said.
Sometimes, the best thing she can do is help the patient understand the questions a doctor is asking and help the doctor explain a prognosis more clearly. “I use a lot of body language to communicate. If the doctor is using clinical words, I might ask them to explain what the doctor is saying in different words.”
Roxana not only enjoys the work at the hospital, but also is glad to live in a community where her husband and three boys feel comfortable. Originally from Lima, Peru, Roxana said Huron offers much more than her hometown. “Here, it’s a small town and you can get anywhere in five minutes,” she said. “It’s not noisy. It’s safe.”
One of the best aspects, she added, is working for an organization that genuinely cares about its patients. It is an honor to be able to serve, Roxana added, especially those who may feel vulnerable because of a language barrier. “It is a beautiful gift.”
A gift, in fact, that we plan to continue giving forever—with your help.
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