Language barriers in mammography: Insights from a Swedish study

These are the findings from a survey conducted among healthcare professionals working in mammography in various regions in Sweden. 

In the fast-paced world of health care, effective communication is crucial. Yet, in multicultural societies like Sweden, language barriers can pose significant challenges, especially in specialized fields such as radiology. To shed light on this issue, we conducted a survey among nurses and doctors working in mammography in various regions in Sweden. 

Here's what we found.

Survey findings

Frequency of language barriers

An overwhelming 90% of respondents reported encountering language barriers on a weekly basis. Additionally, 10% encountered language barriers monthly, although they interacted with non-Swedish speakers weekly, relying on English or another second language for communication.

Utilized tools

To navigate language barriers, professionals employed various tools, including Google Translate, notepads, seeking assistance from colleagues proficient in other languages, and utilizing professional interpreters.

Encountered languages

The languages encountered spanned a diverse spectrum, including Arabic, Ukrainian, and Somali.

Commonly used phrases

Professionals often relied on a set of calming phrases to reassure patients during procedures and consultations. These phrases included reassurances about nervousness, offering alternative options for comfort, and providing explanations about the process.

When communicating results, professionals focused on phrases of reassurance and ensuring patients understood the general implications of the findings.

Further resources

For those interested in delving deeper into this topic, we recommend exploring the following resources:

Take action

At Care to Translate, we're dedicated to breaking down language barriers in health care, ensuring that every patient receives equal care and attention. Join us in our mission to foster inclusivity and enhance patient communication in radiology and beyond.