The language barrier is a big issue

March 21, 2016
IMAGE_GINA_JGina, 2nd year, Bachelor of Science in Nursing

My family is from Korea where there is a huge traditional norm around family relationships. That’s the major reason I chose nursing—I want to be able to look after my parents as they get older. It’s also why I’m interested in gerontology and working with immigrant populations.

The language barrier is a big issue that prevented my parents from effectively communicating in a medical setting—they need someone to assist them when they are sick or having any type of treatment. There are only a handful number of Korean medical interpreters out there, so matching an interpreter and doctor’s schedule isn’t easy.

A few months ago, my mom had dental surgery that took about two hours. Even though she had difficulty understanding the instructions given by the doctors and nurses, I was able to use what I’ve learned so far in my program to ask the right questions and translate for my mom.

I feel like helping her through that surgery confirmed that I am in the right program—that I’ve found the right place for me.

This story is part of our Portraits of MacEwan series where students, faculty and staff share snapshots of their lives with the university community.

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