Stanbridge Nursing Students Improve Patient Care By Breaking Down Language Barriers

Stanbridge Nursing Students Improve Patient Care By Breaking Down Language Barriers   For the Vocational Nursing students at Stanbridge College, learning proper communication is a major emphasis in their curriculum. When the nursing students of cohort FTQ ran into a challenging situation communicating with a non-English speaking patient their solution was to go beyond the textbook and demonstrate their personal dedication to ensure the highest level of patient care.

While working at a clinical facility outside of the college, Stanbridge nursing students treated a patient whose first language is Vietnamese. Because the nursing students primarily speak and understand English, they felt it was difficult to understand exactly how the patient was feeling and what symptoms may have lead to the patient’s condition. It was also challenging for them to provide treatment in addition to comfort and care. 

The nursing students decided to come up with their own solution to improve the patient’s quality of life, and their relationship with the patient. On their own personal time, the students conceptualized, wrote, illustrated and created the “C and Say” communication tool. “C and Say” is a booklet of highly graphical pictures and words in English and Vietnamese that enables understanding between clients and nurses, regardless of linguistic background. The pictures illustrate body parts, clothing items, comfort levels, food, hygiene and other feelings and conditions useful to communicate in a health care setting.

According to the nursing students of FTQ, “We put together the “C and Say” communication tool because as nurses, we are aware that we are client advocates. We understand the importance of knowing what the client needs, feels, and expects in order to successfully provide for their overall care.”

This tool, says FTQ, will not only benefit patients, but also the health care provider, family or other loved ones who need to understand the condition of the patient.

“Anyone and everyone, regardless of culture, educational level, socio-economic status, age, or gender can experience substantial benefit from the use of the “C and Say” communication tool. As human beings, we all have our own language, but the “language” of pictures is universal and timeless.”

Visit Stanbridge College online at to learn more about its Vocational Nursing program. To see more photos from the “C and Say” Communication tool project visit Stanbridge on Facebook.