Course Description

Course Name

Beginning Spanish for Health Professionals

Session: VSJU1522

Hours & Credits

60 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

True Beginning

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Name of the course: Basic Spanish for Health Professions
Course code: SSP 141
Total number of hours: 60 hours of direct teaching
Number of hours per week: 20 hours per week
Number of hours of independent study: 10 hours per week
Course Description:
This course is Spanish for specific purposes for the health area. Its objective is to give health personnel, who have no prior knowledge of the Spanish language, the necessary tools to interact and interview a Spanish-speaking patient. During the four weeks, the student will acquire knowledge in the four linguistic skills, which will allow him or her to communicate in basic form with native speakers of Spanish.
This course answers the question: How to get the student to make the necessary questions to a Spanish-speaking patient to complete the identification card in the medical file?
To answer this question the following topics will be studied:
• The alphabet
• Location of people and places
• Imperative for usted and ustedes
• Interrogative pronouns
• Present indicative: regular and irregular verbs.
• Differences between tener and sentir
• The verb doler
• Daily routine verbs.
• Simple past tense
• Imperfect past (description of symptoms)
• Present perfect (family background)
The following skills will be promoted throughout the course:
• Ability to spell
• Ability to ask questions to collect personal data
• Ability to check vital signs on a patient
• Ability to describe the daily routine
• Ability to describe symptoms
• Ability to describe accidents
• Ability to ask about family history
Some of the values and attitudes to be promoted among students are:
• Teamwork and leadership
• Systems thinking
• Logical and communicative intelligence
• Interest in solving problems
• Interest in learning to learn
• How to negotiate knowing how to inspire trust and empathy
Competences, criteria and evidence
Competences for Veritas University are thoughtful and comprehensive actions that respond to the professional profile and the context's problems, with suitability and ethical commitment, integrating knowing how to be, how to do, and how to learn, within an improvement perspective.
Disciplinary and general competences are presented below, linked to their criteria and performance evidence for this course.
Types of competences
Performance criteria
Performance evidences
Linguistic competence
Uses a linguistic repertoire enough to communicate with a Spanish-speaking patient and complete the identification card
Communicates information when carrying out simple and everyday tasks that are related to his or her professional field.
Adds details, assessments and opinions to the required information
Structures simple texts
Has lexical repertoire enough to be able to provide and exchange information.
Produces a continuous discourse through statements linked in basic form
Directed reading
Oral presentations
Simulated patient
Socio-linguistic competence
Integrates simple idiomatic and colloquial expressions that allow her to interact and understand her interlocutor
Highlights simple markers in the formal and informal register.
Concept map
Oral presentations
Pragmatic competence
Exchanges relevant information and reacts appropriately
Builds a simple discourse articulated reasonably and cohesively.
Simulated patient
Integrates the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to learn continuously throughout life
Learning to learn
Directed readings
considering effective development in the knowledge society.
Develops the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to learn how to communicate orally and in writing in the different discipline areas that make up the curriculum.
Communicate disciplinary thoughts in oral, iconic and written form.
Directed readings
Oral presentations
Integrates the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to learn teamwork and leadership techniques.
Teamwork and leadership
Directed reading
Oral presentations
Simulated patient
Integrates the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to learn interpersonal communication techniques.
Relating well with others
Manage and resolve conflicts.
How to negotiate knowing how to inspire trust and empathy
Speak responsibly
In depth listening
Directed reading
Oral presentations
Simulated patient
1. Linguistic Contents
Topic 1:
a. Personal pronouns
b. Ser
c. Estar
d. Llamarse
Topic 2:
a. Haber
b. Undefined articles
c. Adverbs of place
Topic 3:
a. Imperative for usted
Topic 4:
a. Interrogative pronouns
b. Present of Indicative
Topic 5:
a. Tener, sentir and doler
Topic 6:
a. Reflexive verbs (daily routine)
b. Present indicative (irregular verbs)
Topic 7:
a. Simple past tense
Topic 8:
a. Imperfect past (description of symptoms)
Topic 9:
a. Present perfect (family background)
Topic 10:
a. Verbal periphrasis with infinitive
Topic 11:
a. Medical vocabulary (el algodón, la ambulancia, la jeringa)
b. Nationalities
c. Adjectives
Topic 12:
a. The doctor's office
b. Colors
c. Clothing.
d. Description of people:
e. Food.
f. Time
Topic 13:
a. Parts of the body
b. Vocabulary for checking vital signs
Topic 14:
a. Numbers
b. Medical terminology
Topic 15:
a. Tener
b. Symptoms
c. Diseases
d. Allergies
Topic 16:
a. Vocabulary related to daily routine
b. Food
Topic 17:
a. Expressions of time for the past tense
b. Vocabulary related to accidents (quebrarse, golpearse, herirse)
Topic 18:
a. Symptoms
b. Diseases
c. Time expressions
Topic 19:
a. The family.
b. Indefinite pronouns
Topic 20:
a. Recommendations
Topic 21:
a. Word relationship in a general context
Topic 22:
a. The alphabet
b. Vowels
c. Consonants
d. Spelling
e. Pronunciation
f. Simple connectors
Socio-linguistic contents
Topic 23:
Formal and informal registration (usted / vos)
Markers for:
a. Presentations
b. Greetings
c. Farewells and introductions
Pragmatic contents
Discursive competition
Topic 24:
a. Regular and irregular verbs
b. Verbal periphrasis with infinitive
c. Simple connectors (y, entonces, luego)
The proposed approach is the one used by the Common European Framework (CEFR), which focuses on action insofar as it considers users and students who learn a language mainly as social agents, that is, they are members of a society that has to carry out tasks under certain circumstances, in a specific environment and within a specific field of action. This approach also
takes into account cognitive, emotional and volitional resources, as well as the whole series of specific capacities that an individual applies as a social agent.
The use of language -which includes learning- includes the actions carried out by people who, as individuals and as social agents, develop a series of competences, both general and linguistic communicative competences, in particular. People use skills that are available to them in different contexts and under different conditions and restrictions, in order to carry out language activities that involve processes to produce and receive texts related to topics in specific areas, putting into play strategies that seem most appropriate to carry out the tasks they have to perform. The control that the participants have over these produces the reinforcement or modification of their competences.
Learning strategies
The following learning strategies will be performed:
1. Four oral presentations:
a) First oral presentation, 10%, the student introduces herself, gives a description of her life, studies and activities.
b) Second oral presentation, 10%, explains how the daily routine should be, diet and type of exercises or physical activities to patients with: type two diabetes, severe anemia, heart problems, high blood pressure, high-risk pregnancy, arteriosclerosis , osteoporosis, allergies.
c) Third oral presentation, 10%. Explains use, properties, positive or negative aspects of a vegetable, fruit or medicinal plant
d) Fourth oral presentation, 10%. A disease is selected, described, symptoms and possible treatment are given (dengue, diabetes, hypertension, hepatitis, cardiovascular problems, allergies)
2. Two simulations: This activity will be done in pairs and will have a value of 15% each:
a) Simulation 1: One student will act as a doctor and another as a patient. There will be a dialog in present indicative to complete the medical file with the following information:
o Personal information
o Weighing
o Measuring
o Checking blood pressure
o Reason for consultation
o Description of symptoms
o Inquiry of symptoms
o Daily routine.
b) Simulation 2: One student will act as a doctor and another as a patient. The students make a dialog about an accident, the project must comply with the following:
o It must be delivered in writing.
o The first part of the script includes questions about what happened. The patient tells what happened in the past tense.
o The second part includes a description of the patient's physical condition at the time of the accident. The story of the accident with the use of past tenses.
o The third part includes the doctor's inquiry about family history. Use of the present perfect
o The fourth part provides three instructions on the procedure to be followed. Use of the periphrastic future.
o The vocabulary studied in the course should be used.
3. Two short compositions with a value of 5% each.
a) Composition 1 Write about:
o Who am I?
o What do I like?
oMy daily routine.
oMy diet
o Description on my family.
b) Composition 2 Write 10 tips for patients suffering from a disease such as: type 2 diabetes, arteriosclerosis, anemia, hypertension, hepatitis
4. Simulated patient, 20%: This is the final activity of the course and is where students put into action everything learned in class. The simulated patient is made in pairs, one student acts as a nurse and another as a doctor and they will have to complete the identification card for the medical record of a native patient. They will have to interview the patient to collect the following information that must be written in the medical file:
o Collection of personal data
o Checking vital signs (weigh, measurements, blood pressure)
o Reason for consultation
o Description of symptoms
o Daily routine.
o Diet
o Recommendations
o Recommendations on diet and physical exercises
Teaching resources
For the good development of the course and to ensure learning, there is a collection of updated bibliographical recommendations, multimedia equipment for the individual presentations, furniture and acrylic slates for the weekly sessions, and readings supplied by the professor that can be a complement for the proposed project activities, as well as the different didactic techniques mentioned that give students a greater possibility of appropriating knowledge. Most lessons will take place in the classroom.
During independent work hours students will be able to use the institution´s library, the study rooms or the computer laboratories, as well as any other areas in the university campus, since it has free access wireless Internet for all students, professors and staff.
Students with more than one absence will fail the course, unless they present an official document as justification. Students will get a score of 0 for any task evaluated in class in their absence (presentations, evaluations, field visits, etc). In this case, make up for the assignment will take place immediately after their return. Regarding timeliness, if students add four late arrivals (15 minutes after starting the class) will be counted as an absence.
Behavior Code
Professors have the right to expel the student from class in the following cases:
1) Disruptive behavior in the classroom.
2) Being under the influence of alcohol.
3) Behaving in a disrespectful way.
Electronic devices:
The use of mobile phones, smart phones and other mobile communication devices is disruptive and is therefore prohibited during class. Please turn off all devices and put them away when the class begins. The devices can be used only when the teacher assigned a specific activity and allows the use of devices for search on the Internet or recording. Those who fail to comply with this rule should leave the classroom for the remainder of the class.
Evaluation of learning
Competence assessment is the process by which evidence is gathered and a judgment or opinion about it is formed, taking into account preset criteria to give feedback in order to improve the suitability of the course or program. Evaluation of the course, must be consistent with the competences and the teaching methodology. For each category of evaluation there is a rubric, that, although it gives a score, is a quantitative and qualitative description of the student's performance. Rubrics include performance criteria for general and disciplinary competencies.
Oral presentations
Simulated patient
Rubric for evaluation
1. Four oral presentations where the use of the three communicative competences will be promoted: linguistic, socio-linguistic and pragmatic.
Message clarity
Builds simple discourses, but with logic and good structure.
Fluency Expresses herself clearly but in a simple way.
Grammatical structures Uses simple structures and connectors.
Vocabulary management Uses the vocabulary learned in class.
Pronunciation Has influence
from the native language, but it does not interfere in communication.
2. Two simulations where the way in which the questions are formulated and answered, the interaction with the patient and the handling and clarity of the message will be evaluated. There are two types of rubrics, one for the patient and another for the doctor.
Ability to ask questions:
Asks questions properly
Checking vital signs:
Uses the imperative.
Inquiry of symptoms:
Asks questions to recognize the disease
Gives recommendations using periphrasis
Interaction with the patient:
Talks to the patient appropriately
Ability to answer the questions:
Answers correctly the questions asked by the doctor
Description of symptoms
Describes the symptoms well
Vocabulary management
Uses the vocabulary correctly
Inquiry of the disease:
Gives explanations about the disease
Interaction with the doctor:
Talks to the doctor appropriately
3. Two compositions in which the appropriate use of structures, vocabulary and connectors is shown.
Text structure Uses simple structures, but the conjugation of verbs is appropriate.
Clarity of the message: The message is simple but logical, it can be understood.
Vocabulary management Use a good repertoire of words,
Use of connectors: Use of simple connectors
4. Simulated patient This is the final activity of the course and is where students put into action everything learned in class. The simulated patient is done in pairs, one student acts as a nurse and another as a doctor and they will have to complete the identification card for the medical record of a native patient.

*Course content subject to change