How to learn medical Spanish and not die trying

One of the main concerns health professionals have when they start learning Spanish is how to learn medical Spanish. Where should I start learning medical Spanish?

It is a very common and perfectly normal question.

We want to learn as soon as possible to be able to communicate in a real way with patients and other professionals.

With this post I’d like to give you a small guide of how and what you have to do to learn medical Spanish.

If you have no time and you want to read it later, download here:

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How to learn medical Spanish?

When you need to learn a language in order to work, it is very important you consider where you’d like to go. What is what you need to do to achieve that goal and from there, design a planning that helps you to keep making progress.

In order to make a plan that truly helps you to know how to learn medical Spanish, you need to carry out several steps:

  1. Knowing where you want to get to: Do you only need to know the basics or on the other hand, you need to speak advanced Spanish?
  2. Defining your Spanish level so you can know where you should start learning.
  3. Creating a study plan with contents that teach you how to communicate in the situations you need. In this plan you will need to:
    1. Practice every skill to gain confidence and fluency.
    2. Pay attention to the culture in order to avoid misunderstandings.
    3. Set up a schedule to make progress so you don’t stay in the same step years and years.

Here below it is everything thoroughly explained 😉

Define your Spanish level

Before starting looking for courses and books to learn medical Spanish like a maniac, spend time getting to know what it’s your Spanish level.

Knowing your level is going to help you to know where you should start studying medical Spanish.

Keep in mind that many courses and books are aimed at beginners and others at intermediate-advanced level students.

So in order to choose the one you need and the one that’s truly going to help you to know how to learn medical Spanish, you’re going to need to know what your level is.

Create a study plan

Now that you know which it’s your level, the ideal thing is to create an outline with a plan to follow. This plan should include:

  • What you already know about the Spanish language
  • What you know but have to revise
  • What you still don’t know but should learn to achieve your goal

To help you with this task, think about situations you live daily as a healthcare professional.

Remember that if you learn Spanish is in order to communicate in Spanish in each one of these situations.

So you should learn what and how to say in Spanish what you daily live in these situations as a professional.

Especially when you find yourself with native Spanish speakers.

If you are a complete beginner, you should start with the basic concepts.

Although I suggest you to focus everything on the healthcare field since the very beginning 😉.

Start to learn medical Spanish for beginners

Of course if this is your first contact with Spanish, the previous task will be of no use whatsoever.

What you need is to know where you should start learning medical Spanish.

It is quite clear that learning the alphabet and some basic grammar rules are important.

But I like to teach all these in a medical context.

Why? Because if you want to learn how to learn medical Spanish, you need to learn since the beginning thinking of real situations in which you will need to speak in Spanish.

And these situations will be mostly in your job as a healthcare professional.

Here below there are links to several posts that could help you to start learning medical Spanish.

Learn to achieve what you need

Knowing a language can take a lot of time. That is why I recommend you to focus on those linguistic contents that you really need to be able to communicate in Spanish.

Learn what you’re going to need to use every day and forget about the rest.

Try to learn the most common sentences, questions and answers used in the healthcare world. But don’t forget to practice your listening skills. This will help you to better understand your patients.

Here’s an example so you can see it more clearly:

Spanish speakers come often to your office with an influenza illness so what you would need to learn would be:

How to greet your patients when they come into your office
How to ask them their symptoms
To understand what they tell you (which will probably be flu-like symptoms. So you should learn the vocabulary related to the flu)
To know how to explain what happens to them in Spanish
To know how to prescribe them medication in Spanish


This is just an example but with each one of the situations you should do the same exercise to know what and how you have to learn 😉.

Alternate skills

I have realized that when we learn a language practicing vocabulary, grammar, expression and comprehension (interactions included), the learning is quicker and easier.

Why? Here’s another example:

  • You have learned the term in Spanish for “breast” is “pecho”, “teta”, “seno” and “mama”. You have learned the terminology but you don’t know in which situations you should use one or another. This is simply because you haven’t read enough texts where one term or another are used nor have you listened to or hold a real conversation in which you could make use of one of these terms.

If you want to know how to learn medical Spanish, you cannot focus only on terminology or grammar.

You cannot focus on one only skill. You must have a global vision and in context of how to use that terminology and grammar you have learned.

In conclusion, it’s about seeing in practice the theory that’s easy to understand but difficult to apply.

Pay attention to the culture

Knowing the Hispanic culture can help you to avoid future misunderstandings and tense situations, especially with your patients.

Some countries’ beliefs can affect the way they see some illnesses.

Knowing how you can use the language to answer, avoid or face an uncomfortable situation can save you on more than one occasion.

How to learn medical Spanish and the power of having a schedule

I already know what it’s to say “Today I’ll study a bit so I can improve my level” and when the time comes thinking “Pff, I’m really tired, I’ll do it tomorrow.” And this continues all year round.

The biggest mistake of this situation: not having a fix schedule.

For that reason, to win this battle you need to have a schedule and commit yourself to follow it week after week. And not giving up until reaching your goal.

In the “How to learn medical Spanish” pack, you will find a schedule to organize your medical Spanish learning.

Courses to learn medical Spanish

One of the most effective ways to learn medical Spanish is to take a course that offers what you need to achieve your goal.

A course that will guide you with the contents you have to learn and offers you a series of practical exercises to implement everything you learn about medical Spanish.

Immersion courses

A very good idea is to take an immersion course.

These courses offer direct and real contact with the Spanish language so the time you will dedicate to learn the language is greatly reduced.

How to learn medical Spanish with an immersion course?

It may seem more difficult for beginners and sometimes frustrating at first. I, myself, know the feeling.

You don’t understand anything and it’s all Greek to you. But this phase lasts a very short time if you are truly committed to learning the language.

What a medical Spanish immersion course can provide you is much more than what you can imagine. This type of course gives you the opportunity to come into direct contact with the language from the beginning.

Do not think that you can only do this immersion course visiting a Spanish-speaking country.

No, an immersion course can also be taken online without traveling to another country.

Both types of immersion courses, online and in-person, complement each other. So you don’t have an excuse to not starting one anymore 😉

I have written a brief summary of what an immersion course could provide of medical Spanish:

  • Increasing your medical Spanish vocabulary significantly
  • Increasing your Spanish comprehension level in a short time
  • The chance of coming into contact with the Spanish language from the beginning
  • The opportunity of having a tutor who helps and guides you
  • Learning Spanish in a very short time

A course with a tutor

When we start to learn a language or we already have certain level but we feel like we cannot improve anymore, we feel lost.

We are not sure which path to take to reach our goal.

It is in these situations when having a Spanish tutor is essential because a tutor helps, guides and advises you in each step you should take to improve.

A tutor is always there when you need it, solving your doubts and telling you what you should do next to improve and grow.

So if you feel like what you need is someone that guides you and leads you by the hand to learn medical Spanish, do not hesitate to search for a tutor.

It’s what I do in my Medical Spanish Training program. A 1-1 program where I help healthcare professionals or future medical interpreters to manage fluently, confidently and with conviction in Spanish in medical situations.

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I hope this whole text has helped you to put your ideas in order and can guide you to know how to learn medical Spanish. Leave me your comment and share in your social media 😉