Sign language course at SZMC

May 10th, 2018 by Camrin Parnell

Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s staff is constantly exploring new opportunities for better serving our patients. During International Nursing Week, we wanted to share the efforts of Ms. Naomi Amsallem, a nurse in our Weinstock Family Department of Emergency Medicine who recently organized an introductory sign language course focused on helping our medical staff communicate with the deaf.

Naomi explained, “One week last year, we treated three deaf patients I our emergency room and I felt that I missed an opportunity since we could not really communicate with these patients. I very much wanted to learn at least the basics of sign language. I tried to organize a sign language class here, at the hospital, and I couldn’t get it off the ground. So I studied sign language privately.

Several months ago, I met Chen Hayat, my sign language teacher, in the corridor of the hospital and she had just started working as a speech therapist at Shaare Zedek. I had enjoyed the course and wanted to give other members of the staff—doctors, nurses, social workers,…the chance to learn sign language to better communicate with deaf patients. I am really excited that we were able to organize this course. The attendees come from a wide array of departments including emergency medicine, internal medicine, maternity, nursing management and social work. There is one nurse who she, herself, is hearing impaired…Sign language is an additional language that we can use to communicate with our patients just like Arabic, French,…Just like our we offer patients forms in multiple languages… Special thanks to Ms. Tali Arazi, Shaare Zedek’s Training Coordinator who helped make this course possible.”