Lucy Miller personifies Akron Children’s philosophy of making care accessible for all. Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Lucy works as a Spanish language interpreter helping to provide a clear and concise line of communication between providers and patients.
“I was attracted to the job because of the opportunity to speak Spanish and to help those who don’t,” she said. “I understand how culture and language can interfere in medical care. I can be the person who helps to fill that gap and to be that bridge.”
A typical day for Lucy begins at 8:30 a.m. but she has been known to come as early as 6 a.m. to cover surgeries when needed.
“I check Epic to see if there are any additional appointments or cancellations,” she said. “I also check for Spanish inpatients and try to coordinate with the team so I can do rounds when possible.”
In addition to interpreting, Lucy also assists outpatients and families with the check-in process, signing up for MyChart and providing them with Language Line cards so they can call the hospital when needed.
“I help parents at the appointment, and I also connect them with community resources or social work when there is a need (insurance, transportation, referral appointments, etc.),” she said.
“I can also help translate documents,” she added. “Part of my job is to empower parents to speak up and try to advocate for themselves by showing them how to do that.”
Lucy’s role has a direct impact on patient care because she helps to decrease the stress that parents or guardians have by making them feel comfortable because they speak the same language.
“I build trust and relationships with them so they can share more needed information with the staff. This helps create better outcomes by ensuring there are no misunderstandings with the information shared,” she said.
Learning something new almost daily helps keep Lucy passionate about her work.
“Every appointment is different, a new experience,” she said. “Even though we don’t always get the medical outcome we’d like, I’m comforted knowing I did my best and was there with the family during a difficult time.”
Lucy says the difficult times are balanced by the happy ones.
“I love being able to relay happy messages like when the provider says the patient is in remission,” she said.
Lucy said having supportive co-workers helps make her job easier.
“My department (Language Access) plays a big part in making sure that information is being delivered accurately. Knowing that my colleagues and manager support and trust me has a big impact on my work,” she said. “Being able to come to work every day and know that I will make a difference in someone’s life is completely fulfilling.”
Akron Children’s offers language access services 24 hours a day at no charge to patients and families with limited English proficiency (LEP) or who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired. Services include:
· Face-to-face interpreter services in many languages, including sign language
· Over-the-phone and video interpreter services in approximately 200 languages
· Assistive communication tools for the deaf, hard of hearing, blind or individuals with communication disabilities
· Document translation services For more information about working at Akron Children’s, visit careers.akronchildrens.org.