Clinic staff members at Humboldt General Hospital have combined their Spanish
language skills with serious study to certify as in-house translators.
Three clinic staff, including Gaby Chavez, Gudelia Mendoza and Emelyn Ramirez,
were honored Thursday, May 30, with certificates of accomplishment as
well as some tokens of the hospital’s appreciation.
They join eight of their fellow clinic staff members who certified using
the same exam in May 2018.
“I am so proud of these ladies,” said Debi Bell, LPN, Rural
Health Clinic Clinical Care Coordinator. “They did not have to do
this, but they wanted to; they are very caring people who want to help
patients have the best experience possible at Humboldt General Hospital—regardless
of what language they speak.”
The three staff members are native Spanish speakers but their certification
exam was a comprehensive review of medical terminology—terms they
might not even know in English or Spanish.
The three spent multiple days in hard study before diving into the exam,
which took several hours to complete. They said they had to google some
of the English terms to understand their meaning before learning their
“The test is not easy,” agreed Bell. “When we say they
are certified to translate in Spanish, we mean it; they have earned this
Chavez works in the HGH Pediatric Clinic, while Mendoza and Ramirez work
with Dr. Roger Brecheen, an OB/GYN. Regardless of their permanent positions,
however, the women’s certification means they may be called upon
to translate in other areas of the hospital as needed.
“This is a very rigorous process,” said Bell. “We have
to know that when one of these staff members is called into a medical
situation, she is going to translate word for word what a medical professional
is saying; it’s so important that our patients have the exact information
our providers need to share.”
Bell continued, “We can’t thank these ladies enough; their
service is invaluable in helping our Spanish-language patients feel knowledgeable
and confident while they are in our care.”