Sparrow nurses use skit to advocate for Patients’ needs

Debbie Lopez, BS, RN, Nursing Performance Improvement Specialist (left) and Cassie Russell, RN, BSN, OCN

Published: Dec. 12, 2014

Imagine not feeling well and not being able to communicate with the people trying to help you.

“My grandmother was in that exact situation,” said Sparrow nurse Cassie Russell. “She didn’t speak English.”

Russel and fellow nurse Caregiver Debbie Lopez, a Nursing Performance Improvement Specialist, developed a skit to help others understand how Patients in that position feel and how Caregivers can help.

“I start the skit off speaking in all Spanish,” Lopez said. “We try to put Caregivers in a situation our Patients may actually face.”

The pair has performed the skit for service lines, at unit-based council meetings, at a critical care conference, and even for new nurses going through orientation in the emergency department.

Russell and Lopez explain the services offered at Sparrow through Interpreter Services including in-person interpreting, phones compatible with more than 200 languages, video remote translation using iPads, and American Sign Language. They also encourage Caregivers to contact Interpreter Services.

"These services are critical resources that allow for effective communication with our Patients and families,” said Jacqueline Thomas-Hall, Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Pastoral Care at Sparrow. “Being able to partner and collaborate with the nursing division to demonstrate the proper use and understanding of interpreter phones, iPads, and in-person interpreters will have a significant impact on Patient care and safety.”