Spanish for Healthcare

The path of learning and discovery is not always linear, and that is something that Valpo students know and use to their advantage. Two College of Nursing and Health Professions students took learning into their own hands and created the Spanish for Healthcare Interest Group in the Language Resource Center to supplement their regular studies. This group aims to provide an opportunity for students in healthcare-related majors to practice Spanish within the context of their fields. 

Spanish for Healthcare discussion group. in classroom
Olivia Zetty and Mariah Hykins holding coffee mugs, sitting and smiling.

“We want to provide an opportunity to implement consistent Spanish practice, learn relevant vocabulary, and give students the confidence to speak Spanish to and with future patients,” Mariah Hykin said. “Students can use this group in any way they want- from showing up to meetings for a fun and interactive time, to studying outside of the group. We want our participants to be able to go at their own pace.”

Mariah Hykin ‘24 and Olivia Zetty ‘23 have earned their Spanish minors and wanted to use their skills to help other students benefit from the wide range of opportunities that are opened to them when learning another language. When they first came to Valpo, they both tested into SPAN220 which is the most advanced Spanish class offered at Valpo. They managed to finish their minors during their sophomore year and then their plan for Spanish for Healthcare began to materialize. 

“We both worked as Spanish language tutors in the Language Resource Center and our boss, Carol Goss, encouraged and supported us to use our shared majors and interests to create something we are passionate about,” Olivia said. “We decided that an interest group, where we could meet casually each week, would be a powerful way to both benefit ourselves and our community of future healthcare professionals.”

Though both women are studying in the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the main focus of the group serves those who plan on going into healthcare, students from other fields are encouraged and welcome to join as well. The strong inclination to serve their future patients and strengthen the skills that would allow them to connect and empathize with their communities are exactly the kind of leadership skills that we aim to foster here at Valpo.

“This program offers Valpo students the opportunity to push themselves outside of the classroom and make themselves better future professionals,” Mariah said. “By allowing this optional study group, we want to encourage students to go a step further for those that they will be serving; by being able to greet someone in their native language, you are already showing them respect, competence, and understanding, above what a translator on an iPad could do.”

Spanish for Healthcare is one of many student led study groups that are available at the Language Resource Center. If you feel like you are passionate about creating a study group, or joining Spanish for Healthcare, stop by the Language Resource Center and browse the opportunities that are at your fingertips. For Olivia and Mariah, this once imaginative idea blossomed into a group that is working to help future healthcare professionals. 

“This experience has given us both opportunities to work closely with the Spanish faculty and they have been incredibly supportive of our current program and our desire to create a Medical Spanish certificate,” Olivia said. “It has also given us an opportunity to meet people from all grades and specialty areas and remain working in a sector of campus we love.”

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