Why Medical Interpreter Education is Key to Professionalization – Essay 7

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By Mutaz Al Mudaris

While Collecting my thoughts on this topic I was thinking of a similar title like: “1000 reasons why medical interpreter education is key to professionalism”. Simply because the benefits are countless. I can write volumes about this, yet because its such a rich topic I had difficulty in where to start from…. Education is offered nowadays in different forms. e.g. Training courses , seminars , webinars, conferences, workshops, academic studies , online resources, publications… etc. All offered by private and public institutions. We are so incredibly lucky to be living in this era where knowledge can easily be brought into our fold. One example of education is training. The “training room” is a unique place where you can make “mistakes” and learn how to correct them in a supportive atmosphere without hurting your own credibility or that of the institution (s) you represent. One would imagine a topic like medical terminology for instance is a dry one. But you’ll be surprised how modern day approaches are packed with interactive, fun and useful exercises. I arrived to the US in 2009. I hold a B.Sc in Agricultural engineering from my home country with a major in plant pathology. I was told with my skills I’d easily find a job. 3 months later, I was working 3 part time jobs 7 days a week. A phone interviewer, a green grocer in produce dept and a Spa receptionist. Alongside, I was a volunteer interpreter at Thomas Jefferson university hospital for the family medicine refugee program. I was instantly captured by how appreciative both the providers and patients were. My first exposure to training in this field was the BTG course in 2011. Before the course was over, I was offered a job with the delivering company and things sky rocketed from there. Prior to taking the course I felt with the experience I posses, I had it all. But afterwards I realized what I was really missing. The course opened my eyes to a load of dreams, thoughts and motivations where the sky is the limit … Yet again, for a while, I felt invincible like Indiana Jones… So why seek education? Education paves the way towards refining your skills. There’s always a new thing to learn, room for improvement, new challenges and opportunities because this profession is so heavenly dynamic. Additionally, other treats come along with the package like networking, meeting new people, sharing experiences, enriching your professional and private life and celebrating success, having the opportunity to Mentor or be mentored. Either way it gives job satisfaction. Simply having pure fun. Education gives you a sense of your capabilities and makes you discover your own talents and perfect them. You would be surprised of what you are capable of doing. Furthering your education also helps gauge the level you have reached. Today, I’m a licensed trainer/medical interpreter in the number 1 children’s hospital nationwide and maybe in the world. I have 13+ years in translation, interpretation and English language tutoring. But guess what? I’m still a student of the game! My advice for those who have passion for this noble profession is, want to make a difference in your life and lives of others? Do it right from the beginning. There’s really no excuse not to. Now back to the title, How many reasons did we count? 5? Just add another 995 and you’ll have “1000 reasons why medical interpreter education is key to professionalism”

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