Spanish is My Secret As a Student Dentist

Updated: Sep 24

Despite being born in Cuba and speaking only Spanish at home, my mom made me sacrifice 1 of my electives in school in order to take a formal Spanish class. 😐

Honestly, I was very annoyed with her at the time 🥲. I couldn't understand why I wasn't allowed to take dance instead! Apart from a random hip hop class, my mom was able to sign me up for when she could (I still cringe at the pic that exists of this 😂) the truth is, she really couldn't afford to put me in dance full time otherwise.

So why in the world was I wasting an opportunity on something I already knew? ⁠ ⁠

My mom would always emphasize to me in a very calm yet authoritative Cuban mom tone, "It's not enough for you to understand Spanish and somewhat speak it, it's important for you to properly present yourself as a native Spanish speaker in the most professional of settings and that's that!"⁠ ⁠ So every year until 9th grade I did just that.

I formed great relationships with my Spanish teachers, who I keep up with to this day, and eventually, when I started high school, my dues were paid. I finally got to take IB French and Choir for 4 years and in my junior year, I finally got my dance elective and musical theatre.

Without the foundational Spanish education, I received growing up, I would not have the ability to express myself in my native language the way I do. I'm often told I don't sound "Cuban enough" which is code for, the slang and twang and is missing. It's always a fun conversation starter with patients trying to figure out where I'm from. ⁠ ⁠

The ability to speak to my patients in a language they feel most comfortable receiving care in is an invaluable experience for me. Being one of the few Spanish speakers in my clinic, has given me almost instant access to cases I would not have otherwise. Apart from these patients referring their friends and family over the last two years, I sometimes will gain a patient just because I happened to be around to translate.

Who knew how far that small sacrifice for Spanish, would end up maximizing my opportunities as a professional and as a student dentist who values forming genuine connections with her patients.

Greg, my husband who happens to be from Russia, makes it a point to also practice his Spanish with my patients whenever he assists me in Clinic. As a result, it is common for patients to ask if we plan to stay in the area. They mention how we should consider sticking around for the Latinx community in Milwaukee, and those words are honestly priceless. It makes our decision to stay or go a difficult one.

Due to seeing the effects of using Spanish as my own asset, Josie Dental became the first dental account to feature quick & easy dental Spanish lessons on social media & inspire other creators to do the same. 👊🏾 Since then, I have donated my time to give live presentations on dental terminology and have developed a better idea of how to better approach teaching Spanish geared specifically for those in the dental field! ⁠✨

I'm excited to announce that in 🚨June 2022🚨, I will be launching the first online interactive dental Spanish crash course on Decode Dental, to help students, providers, and team members! ⁠

If you haven't already, consider adding Spanish to your skillset. As someone who has had to put in the extra effort herself, I know it isn't the most exciting thing to set time aside for, but it will be well worth it for you and your patients in the end. The limited amount of time we have as student dentists is instantly maximized with greater access to more patients. The limited amount of time in private practice to establish a relationship with patients, requires teams to be more diverse and versatile.

Interested in being notified about giveaways, updates, and when the course goes live? Sign up Here!