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Teaching Spanish Vocabulary: Medical Professions

By Curt Smothers

Spanish students can enrich their vocabulary by periodic focus on specialized terms. This is part 2 in a series on Spanish medical vocabulary. This article provides another specialized list of medical professions along with suggested classroom activities.

List 1 - Medical Occupations

  • anesthesiologist - el anestesistaCaduceus 
  • cardiologist - el/la cardiología
  • chiropractor - medico quiropráctico
  • coroner - el médico forense
  • dermatologist - el dermatólogo, la dermatología
  • doctor - el doctor/la doctora
  • gynecologist - el/la ginecoliá
  • neurologist - el neurólogo
  • nurse - la enfermera, el enfermero
  • obstetrician - el/la obstétrico
  • oncologist - el/la oncologista
  • ophthalmologist - el oftalmólogo
  • optometrist - el/la optometrista
  • orthopedist - el/la ortopedista
  • paramedic- el auxiliar médico
  • pathologist - el patólogo
  • pediatrician - el/la pediatra
  • phlebotomist - el/la flebotomista
  • physician - el médico
  • podiatrist - el/la podiatrista
  • proctologist - el proctólogo
  • radiologist - el radiólogo
  • stretcher bearer - el camillero
  • surgeon - el cirujano
  • surgical nurse - la enfermera del instrumental
  • urologist - el/la urologista

List 2 - Conditions/Diseases They Treat

  • backache - el dolor de espalda
  • broken bone - el hueso roto
  • cancer - el cáncer
  • cataract - la catarata
  • cesarean birth - el nacimiento por cesárea
  • disaster (as a result of an accident) - el siniestro
  • epilepsy - la epilepsia
  • foot injury - la herida del pie
  • give birth - dar la luz
  • heart attack - el ataque al carazón
  • ingrown nail - el uñero
  • hemorrhoids - las almorranas
  • medical emergency - la urgencia
  • pimple - el grano
  • phlebitis - la flebitis
  • pregnant - embarazada
  • tumor - el tumor
  • urinary infection - la infección urinaria
  • whooping cough - el coqueluche

List 3 - Where They Work and What They Do/Use

  • ambulance - la ambulancia
  • anesthetic - el anestésico
  • antibiotics - los antibióticos
  • appointment - una cita
  • autopsy - la autopsia
  • blood test - un análisis de sangre
  • blood type - el grupo sanguíneo
  • blood-pressure - la presión sanguínea
  • cast - el enyesado, la escayola
  • chemotherapy - la quimioterapia
  • diagnosis - el diagnóstico
  • E.R. - sala de emergencia
  • examination - el reconocimiento médico
  • first aid - primeros auxilios
  • hospital ward- la sala
  • medication - las medecinas
  • microscope - el microscopio
  • needle - la aguja hipodérmica
  • operation - la operación
  • pain killer - el analgésico
  • physical examination - el examen médico
  • prescription - la prescripción
  • scalpel - el bisturí
  • splint - la tablilla
  • stethoscope - el estetoscopio
  • stretcher - la camilla
  • suture (stitch) - la sutura
  • X-ray - el rayo X (pronounced ekis)

Suggested Classroom Activities

This list provides an opportunity for students to build both their English and Spanish vocabularies. Particularly, the teacher should review List 1 to make sure students know what each profession specializes in. Go through the list in class and ask for volunteers to tell the class what they know about each profession listed. Any English terms that stump the class can be assigned for lookup.

The list can be used in the exercise suggested in Part 1 of this series by dividing the class into three groups, having the students circulate and confer with other students and using the suggested worksheet for vocabulary building.

The list can also be used in conversational practice as follows:

Pair off the students and assign an appropriate number of terms from List 1 to each group. Students are to compose sentences using their assigned term from List 1 and adding at least one term from List 2 or List 3.

Examples:

El anestesista da los anastésticos al paciente durante la operación.

El médico forense performa una autopsia.

Consider adding a vocabulary matching quiz with selected vocabulary from this list. (Sample quiz follows this section.) A link to a sample downloadable quiz is available in the next section.

Matching Quiz for Medical Occupations 

Downloadable Vocabulary Sheet

You can click on the image above and print it for a medical vocabulary quiz. You can also download another Spanish quiz about medical occupations by clicking this link.

Additional Medical Spanish Information

Read A Translation Handguide for Spanish-English Medical Terminology, downloadable here from Bright Hub Education

Access an English/Spanish Medical Dictionary, available from 123TeachMe.com