Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Primary Major


Thesis Advisor

Patricia Harris PhD, RN, CNS



A common goal for healthcare is healthcare for all, through which can be achieved when communication between the client and healthcare team is established. There are millions of immigrants worldwide who are not granted the healthcare that they deserve simply because of a lack of understanding in a country’s dominant language.

Patients with a limited language proficiency in a new country can have difficulty in understanding the care that they receive, which leads them to toil with understanding their healthcare options, let alone establishing expectations. This issue also stretches onto the risks of patient safety, in which urgent needs and wants cannot be communicated due to a difference in languages. When patients and clients lack health literacy, negative patient outcomes can ensue due to the language barriers they face, with the ignorance of urgent needs leading to unwarranted consequences.


  • To examine the extent of misinformation in patient health stemming from language barriers

  • To put focus on implications from language barriers in acute, urgent care situations.


A literature review was compiled of primary studies that explored language barriers and its effects on patients and staff, with studies ranging from sole focus to patient data to analyzing where issues begin at the macro level. A proposal for study is included, aiming to find how drastic patient outcomes are not met in the acute, urgent care situation.

Available for download on Wednesday, December 13, 2023