Training through simulation has proven to be effective in many professions to enhance and hone the skills necessary for practice. The UA Little Rock Interpreter Education Program provides interpreter professionals in training a safe, effective, and compassionate environment to better develop their interpreting skills.
The UA Little Rock Interpreter Education Program provides education to prepare professional interpreters in all settings to function as linguistic and cultural mediators between individuals who are hearing and individuals who are Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing.
As an example of the various settings, the UA Little Rock IEP and School of Nursing provides interprofessional simulated experience for both health care professionals, and interpreters who are being trained to bridge the communication barrier between English and American Sign Language. This simulation training also incorporates mental health scenarios bringing in the School of Social Work as well.
The simulated patient training process is done by training Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing individuals to participate as simulated patients with a specific illness. The “patient” is coached to portray certain symptoms and to display specific emotional characteristics. They are also trained to give corrective and supportive feedback to the medical students regarding their communication skills with patients. Interpreting students are educated in the use of medical terminology, cultural mores to consider when negotiating linguistic equivalency and logistics of an interpreter being present. UAMS medical students obtain a medical history of the patient and determine a diagnosis while learning appropriate techniques of communicating with a patient using a different language and having a “third” party involved in the process.
Interprofessional simulations are done on-site with the UA Little Rock IEP students joining the parties from the various settings targeted through the training. Students are evaluated during the simulation and a debriefing immediately following.
This experiential learning opportunity has been very successful for the program. It provides a much-needed exposure to both professionals of various targeted settings and the students in training becoming professional interpreters. Although there are benefits to a theoretical approach, nothing can substitute a living, hands-on experience that is being provided by UA Little Rock.