Stop! It's the Police!

Being called to the Emergency Department is easy.  

You hop in the car and go.  You know what you’re doing because you’re a professional medical interpreter!  

Walking into the ED, you notice police cars and there are officers standing around.  No big deal, right?  That happens all the time.  Just as you finish that thought, you see your patient is in their custody.  There's another person with the patient, and he looks relieved.  

The officer smiles at you and says, “Oh good.  We’ve been waiting for you!”  

You're not a legal interpreter so your confidence just took a dive.  Establishing appropriate role boundaries and maintaining amicable professional relationships just got a lot harder. 

You ask yourself, “What am I supposed to do now?”

These moments threaten to blur the lines between medical and legal interpreting skills.  As a trained medical interpreter you stick to what you know.  You're careful to only accept assignments within the healthcare setting.  But there are situations when you'll take an assignment, and without knowing beforehand, the patient needing care will be in the custody of law enforcement.  Without training and education, the officers and medical staff will expect you to interpret for both.  How you negotiate this conflict will determine how well you are ultimately able serve your healthcare customer and their patient.  


Learning Objectives:

  • Understand your rights and professional obligations
  • Develop strategies for personal safety
  • Describe techniques to effectively maintain role boundaries while interpreting for individuals in the custody of law enforcement
  • Analyze risks healthcare interpreters assume when providing interpretation services for law enforcement officers present at the healthcare facility

Course Details:

  • 1-hour course
  • CE approved
    • ATA: 1 point
    • CCHI: 1 instructional hour
    • WA DSHS: 1 hour
    • IMIA/NBCMI: 0.1 CEUs
  • Live, instructor-led online classroom
  • Instructor: Erin Rosales
  • Registration fee: $48.00
Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.
— Robert H. Schuller