chapter  8
22 Pages

Deaf healthcare professionals’ perspectives

Understanding the work of ASL-English healthcare interpreters
WithLaurie Swabey, Andrea M. Olson, Christopher J. Moreland, Amy H. Drewek

The number of deaf people earning degrees and credentials to work in the healthcare setting has been increasing in recent years, due both to legislation and technological advances that have removed some of the barriers to education and employment. However, there have been few studies that investigate how the work of the interpreter may differ when the healthcare professional is deaf, not the patient. Based on a job analysis approach, deaf healthcare professionals responded to an online survey and rated the importance of and frequency of 51 task categories for the interpreters with whom they work. The results were compared to previous research findings from the perspective of interpreters. There appear to be some similarities and differences in how interpreters and deaf healthcare professionals perceive the importance and frequency of task categories for interpreting in healthcare settings. Five themes included task categories related to employing language, adapting to a variety of physical settings, using healthcare-specific knowledge, assessing situations, and dealing with or openness to unpredictability and uncertainty. We discuss implications of the similarities and differences related to understanding the work of healthcare interpreters from multiple perspectives, as well as implications for training and education.