Spanish for Successful Communication in Healthcare Settings


This course is structured in four modules, each one revolving on a topic related to the physician-patient interaction. Each module contains four lessons; on grammar, vocabulary, the dynamics of the spoken interaction, and aspects of sociocultural relevance. The video lessons are unlike regular “lectures” in which you are just listening. Instead, you should think of them as virtual classes where you are supposed to reflect, complete activities, and even get extra practice on your own time. The videos are a roadmap that will provide what you need to complete the activities on the student handout. Each module is followed by a 10-question quiz. It is important that you complete the lessons sequentially, as they build upon each other.

Spanish for Successful Communication in Healthcare Settings implements the teaching principles regularly used at Rice University’s Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication. These include:

Providing the students with as much linguistic input as possible. Our language classes are taught in the target language since the beginning levels, and so are the lesson videos in this course.

Using natural or authentic language samples. Every lesson in the course includes at least one recording from authentic healthcare provider consultations. They will allow you to familiarize yourself with the pace and accent of native speakers of different origins and ages.

Bringing the focus to Interactional and Cross-cultural Competences. For a more effective communication in oral situations, applying grammatical rules and using extensive vocabulary is not enough. Our goal is to bring awareness to our students about the mechanics of conversation and key cultural aspects of it, that are associated with Spanish.

Language analysis and comparison with one’s own first language and cultural background. You don’t need to be a linguist to think about language! In this course, you will be encouraged to link the lessons with your experiences in your own native language. By identifying the similarities and differences between those two languages and cultures, you will remember them easier!


In order to pass this course, you must receive an 80% or higher on all graded items:

Four (4) Module Quizzes worth 20% each (or 80% of total grade)
Final Exam worth 20%

This class is structured as a four (4) module, self-paced course, meaning you can spend 24 straight hours cramming lectures (not recommended) or you can use the recommended deadlines as a guide. The course has the following layout:

Module One – The Doctor-Patient Interview

  • Lesson 1 – Contextualized Grammar
    Topic: Formulating Questions
  • Lesson 2 – Thematic Vocabulary
    Topic: The Human Body
  • Lesson 3 – Interactional Dynamics
    Topic: Active Listenership
  • Lesson 4 – Sociolinguistic Context
    Topic: Addressing the Patient: tú / usted

Module One – Assignments

  • Quiz: Module 1 Quiz

Module Two – The Physical Examination

  • Lesson 5 – Contextualized Grammar
    Topic: Giving Instructions
  • Lesson 6 – Thematic Vocabulary
    Topic: Common Symptoms
  • Lesson 7 – Interactional Dynamics
    Topic: Making a Patient Feel Respected and Comfortable
  • Lesson 8 – Sociolinguistic Context
    Topic: Talking to Children

Module Two – Assignments

  • Quiz: Module 2 Quiz

Module Three– Explaining a Treatment or a Procedure

  • Lesson 9 – Contextualized Grammar
    Topic: Using Adverbials
  • Lesson 10 – Thematic Vocabulary
    Topic: Common Groups of Drugs and Drug Administration
  • Lesson 11 – Interactional Dynamics
    Topic: Collaboration in the Interaction
  • Lesson 12 – Sociolinguistic Context
    Topic: Communicating in the Appropriate Register

 Module Three – Assignments

  • Quiz: Module 3 Quiz

Module Four – Solving Communication Difficulties

  • Lesson 13 – Contextualized Grammar
    Topic: Using Pronouns
  • Lesson 14 – Thematic Vocabulary
    Topic: Diagnostic Tests
  • Lesson 15 – Interactional Dynamics
    Topic: Managing Difficulties in Communication
  • Lesson 16 – Sociolinguistic Context
    Topic: Understanding the Sociolinguistic Context of Interactions

Module Four- Assignments

  • Quiz: Module 4 Quiz

Final Exam


Any questions? Please e-mail