6 Steps to Creating a Great Workplace for Healthcare Interpreters

Anyone who manages healthcare interpreters knows that they are frequently faced with a number of stressful situations. As these stressors build up overtime, interpreters can become disengaged, disillusioned and burnt out. So what can we do to support professional healthcare interpreters and alleviate these stressors? One way is to create a work environment that will minimize burnout and keep good interpreters available to health care.

Below are six steps to creating a great workplace for health care interpreters.

Step 1:  Collaboration

Create opportunities for interpreters to collaborate. Too many interpreters find themselves a lone wolf in the vast expanse of health care. Giving interpreters the opportunity to talk with each other about their experiences helps their mental health and fosters a place of natural learning. These conversations can range from interpersonal experiences to ethical challenges to vocabulary discussions about different cuts of meat.

Step 2:  Appreciation

Show appreciation to your interpreters. When was the last time you thanked an interpreter for the work they do? I'm not talking about the interpreting itself. I'm talking about the efforts they put into building your brand. That's right - interpreters are responsible for your reputation with customers and the community.

Step 3:  Resources

Give interpreters the resources they need to be successful. Professionals need access to resources of all kinds. There are basic needs like water, food and sleep. There are learning needs like internet sites, dictionaries and reference materials. There are health needs like antibacterial liquids, properly fitted air masks and tissues. Find ways to make sure your team has the resources they need.

Step 4:  Compassion

Show compassion toward your interpreters. Healthcare interpreters deal with everything from birth to death. They also work in an industry that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Take a moment to recognize their dedication, especially in times of great sacrifice and difficult situations. Write a personalized note. Offer to listen to their story.  A little goes a long way.

Step 5:  Accountability

Make sure your interpreters know what is expected of them. Set clear boundaries and expectations for performance during and outside the interpreting encounter. Share these expectations with your team and always follow through. Be consistent. No one wants to be bad at their job. It's your job to make them successful. 

Step 6:  Fun

Create an environment that is fun! Don't be a stick in the mud. Share fun anecdotes, tell a joke, make the workplace inviting and bright. Find common ground based on good thoughts and feelings. Be a colleague, and not a "boss". They are your TEAM and Together Everyone Achieves More!

What are you doing to create a great workplace for your healthcare interpreters? Share your ideas and success stories!

Related posts: