Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Rebecca Adams

Committee Member

Ronald Fuentes

Committee Member

Emily Thrush

Committee Member

Diana Ruggiero


Language barriers in medical settings can impede access to healthcare and increase the risk of medical error for limited English proficiency (LEP) patients, especially in emergency situations (Bender et al., 2004: Martinez, 2010). Nurses who are competent in their patient’s first language can decrease the risk of these issues and care more effectively for their LEP patients (Altstaedter, 2017; Fernandez et al., 2011). However, general foreign language courses do not prepare students for communication in medical settings, and there are few language courses specifically for emergency room (ER) nurses (Amerson & Burgins, 2005; Hardin, 2015). This dissertation will present the results of a study drawing on Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) and Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) to conduct a task-based needs analysis (NA) to 1) determine the Spanish language needs of primarily English-speaking emergency room nurses in the Southeastern US and 2) inform the design of a potential Spanish for ER Nursing course. This mixed-methods study included three phases of both data collection and analysis, adapted from Serafini and Torres (2015) and Malicka et al. (2019). In Phase 1, a variety of open-ended measures were used to determine tasks common in ER settings as reported by each type of participant. In Phase 2, participants rated the frequency and importance of these tasks. In Phase 3, the participants reviewed the list of tasks in follow-up interviews. Results are presented as a series of tasks performed in the ER context, ranked according to frequency and importance. This study adds to existing LSP research that has to date been limited regarding studies in non-English contexts and improves upon methodological limitations in previous studies that have used a NA. The findings of this study will inform future curricular decisions in a Spanish for ER nursing course as well as address the healthcare inequalities experienced by LEP patients.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access