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Active Listening, Empathizing & Summarizing Patient Complaints in Spanish

Active Listening, Empathizing & Summarizing Patient Complaints in Spanish

This Video Viernes lesson focuses on Active Listening, Empathizing & Summarizing Patient Complaints in Spanish. You’re going to learn useful phrases and vocabulary for showing understanding and managing difficult news with your Spanish-only patients.

It’s common to try to fill the spaces with expressions such as “Lo Siento”, even when you’re not quite sure if it is the correct expression to show understanding to your Latino patients.

Here is the Active Listening in Spanish lesson I taught to the Facebook group:


  • Bien / Bueno: Positive news
  • Ok: Borrowed from English. It’s ok to use in Spanish as well
  • Vale: It also means “Ok” but adds something like “I’m in agreement with you”
  • Sale: Just like “vale”, but it’s particularly Mexican.
  • Entiendo / Comprendo: These are the best options to actively listening to difficult things your patients are saying.


Expression Meaning
¿Cómo?   What?
No le escuché / entendí   I didn’t hear / understand you
¿Cómo dice / dijo?   What did you say / are you saying?
¿Me repite, por favor?   Could you repeat that for me, please?
¿Dice que…?   Do you say that…?
¿Otra vez, por favor?   Again, please?
¿Puede decir (    ) de nuevo?   Could you say (    ) again?
No entendí lo que dijo cuando hablaba sobre…   I didn’t understand when you were talking about…
A ver… de nuevo, por favor   So… again, please



Expression Meaning
Necesito más detalles / información sobre   I need more details / information about
Cuénteme más sobre…  Tell me more about…
¿Usted dice que…?   Do you say that…?
¿Puede hablarme más sobre…?   Could you talk more about…?
¿Puede darme más detalles sobre…?   Could you give me more details about…?
¿Puede decirme un poco más sobre…?   Could you tell me a little more about…?
Si tuviera que decidir, ¿Qué diría que está pasando / causando…?   If you had to guess, What would you say it’s happening / causing…?
¿Alguna vez ha experimentado esto?   Have you ever experienced this?
¿Se ha medicado antes contra esto?   Have you ever taken meds against this?



Expression Meaning
Lo siento / lo lamento  I’m sorry
Sé que es difícil  I know it’s difficult
Sé que duele mucho  I know it hurts a lot
Comprendo que no es fácil  I understand it isn’t easy
Sé que cuesta mucho  I know you struggle a lot
Entiendo que le da miedo  I understand it scares you



Expression Meaning
A ver si le entiendo…  Let’s see if I understand….
Según lo que entendí, usted tiene  According to what I understood, you have
Según lo que entendí, usted siente  According to what I understood, you feel
Según lo que entendí, usted está According to what I understood, you are
Entiendo que…   I understand that…
¿Hay algo más que no escuché?   Is there anything else I didn’t hear?
¿Hay algo más que no entendí?   Is there anything else I didn’t understand?
Entonces, usted dice que…   So, you say that…
Entonces, usted siente que…   So, you feel that…



Expression Meaning
¿Me explico?  Do you understand what I’m saying?
¿Me sigue?  Are you following me?
¿Me entiende?  Do you understand me?
¿Comprende?  Do you understand?
¿Está bien?  Is this sounding ok to you?
Para resumir  To summarize
¿Dígame por qué (     ) es importante…..?  Tell me why is important to (   )?
Hábleme un poco sobre cómo debe (cuidarse, tomar las medicinas, seguir el tratamiento)  Tell me more about how you should (take care of yourself, take your meds, follow the treatment)
Dígame lo que entendió, por favor  Tell me what you understood, please
Entonces, ¿Cómo va a (cuidarse, tomar las medicinas, seguir el tratamiento)?   So, how are you going to (take care of yourself, take your meds, follow the treatment)?

I put together a vocabulary list and set of notes that includes this information in an easily downloadable .pdf – Get your copy for free today!

Keep up the good work speaking responsible Spanish to your patients!

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Rory is passionate about the Spanish language, an expert instructor, and specifically energized by the practical use of language in industry & community settings.
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