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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021

“Analysis of Health Care Services Satisfaction Among Spanish-Speaking Populations in the Fox Valley Region”

Elizabeth Hannan

Senior, Nursing, Spanish


Due to the fast-growing Hispanic population in the United States, health care services are faced with the challenge of bridging the cultural barriers faced by this population. Little data exist about patient satisfaction within Spanish-speaking populations in the Fox Valley area. Informed by patients’ actual experiences, this study aims to understand Spanish-speaking patients’ perceptions of local health care services.
We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 16 Hispanic participants with limited English proficiency (LEP). Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically.
The patient interviews revealed that language and cultural barriers impact patients’ satisfaction in the following areas: quality and accessibility of interpreters, lack of resources in their native language, and lack of “calidez” or warmth when receiving services.
This study has shown that the healthcare system has not yet met the Hispanic population’s standard of care in the Fox Valley area. Our findings suggest that although policies exist to ensure culturally adequate services, such as the use of interpreters, many participants felt the lack of patient agency and decision making. These findings can help develop evidence-based guidelines for LEP patient care and thus establish better health care outcomes.

Project Background

As a student pursuing degrees in both Nursing and Spanish, I recognized that both my degrees were not mutually exclusive. As a future nurse, I recognize that I will be interacting with clients of various backgrounds, including those with cultural considerations and language barriers. As I progressed in my career as a nursing student I began to discover the importance of providing culturally competent care. As I learned more in my Spanish courses, I began to recognize that health disparities are ever present in the Hispanic community. As part of my honors capstone project, I thought it appropriate to build upon the current knowledge base regarding Hispanic healthcare to begin to better understand and mitigate health disparities.
As the collaboration process began between myself and my advisor, Maria Graf, I started to recognize the importance of giving voice to Hispanic populations in a setting where they often feel unheard. The process itself revealed the deep level of mistrust for authoritative figures in the healthcare field, since almost all the recruitment came from word of mouth after a trusted member of the Hispanic community had participated in our study and then was able to share with others.
The findings from the study are shocking but not surprising, as many of our findings correlate with the findings of other studies on similar subjects. However, the new knowledge gathered from this study can be used to inform Healthcare systems in the Fox Valley and surrounding areas and to provide a wakeup call that standards of care are not currently being met regarding our Hispanic populations.


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1 Comment

  1. Dr. Paula McNiel

    Interesting and informative! Glad you are giving a voice to this population and their needs. Very well done!


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