Interpreter Orientation

The purpose of this online orientation is to share pertinent information with contracted interpreters accepting assignments at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. The information will provide context as you work with patients, families and staff. It is a requirement of The Joint Commission to provide an orientation to interpreters. By the conclusion of this orientation, you will be able to: 

  • Describe Children's expectations regarding professional conduct for contracted interpreters
  • Outline Children's safety precautions for contracted interpreters
  • Define privacy and confidentiality requirements for contracted interpreters

Children's Mission

We champion the special health needs of children and their families. We are committed to improving children's health by providing high-quality, family-centered pediatric services. We advance these efforts through research and education.

Children's Service Standards


  • Be a champion for children in the workplace and the community.
  • Strive to master the skills needed to do my best work.

 Respect and Dignity

  • Treat children, families, and co-workers with respect.
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of children, families, and fellow employees.
  • Greet families, visitors, and employees in a way that is warm and welcoming.


  • We are all partners: Work to communicate effectively with children, families, and each other.
  • Listen to one another and families, then respond promptly and reliably.
  • Keep children and families informed about care and treatment.
  • Answer the phone in a friendly and professional way.

Cooperation and Fairness

  • Treat each person as an individual, not as part of a category or group.
  • We will work together as an organization, not only as individuals or departments.
  • If a negative service situation develops, use the following approach: Anticipate, Acknowledge, Apologize, and Amend.

 Personal Accountability and Self-Care

  • Conduct myself in a professional manner.
  • Maintain a safe, clean, and therapeutic environment.
  • Identify ways to take care of myself and encourage others to do the same.

Personal Appearance

Interpreters are expected to dress in a neat, clean, professional appearance at all times. Closed-toe shoes are required in patient care areas. The following are not appropriate:

  • Clothing that is revealing and does not portray professional modesty (i.e. plunging necklines, bare midriffs, miniskirts, see-through clothing, etc.)
  • Underwear-style T-shirts or shirts with writing, cartoons or advertising not appropriate for the workplace
  • Sweat suits (nylon or fleece)
  • Summer shorts
  • Leggings
  • Baseball caps or other casual hats
  • Blue jeans

Do not use perfumes and/or colognes. Some patients and staff are sensitive or allergic to these fragrances.

Maintaining Professional Relationships

Introduce yourself to the families and convey that you are the interpreter. Always be aware of your role as an interpreter and maintain appropriate boundaries.

Refrain from:

  • Using a cell phone, text messaging and answering pages during the encounter
  • Marketing yourself for future assignments with a family
  • Receiving gifts of significant monetary value from patients and families
  • Sharing personal information/problems with patients or families (including home phone numbers, addresses and email)
  • Offering or providing transportation to patients or families in personal vehicles
  • Offering gifts or money to families or patients
  • Sharing religious and/or political beliefs with patients or family members
  • Having inappropriate conversations with patients, families, staff and colleagues


Interpreters are expected to arrive on time to their assignments. Timeliness will be monitored and reported to agency management on a regular basis. Please be prepared with all of the necessary patient information (including location) prior to arriving to your appointment. If you don’t have this information, please contact your agency. Please give yourself enough time to manage common traffic delays, parking and finding the area where you are scheduled to work.

For outpatient appointments please arrive ten minutes before the scheduled appointment to allow time for registration and to sign the Interpreter Log at the registration desk. (Arriving ten minutes earlier is paid time).

Stay in the registration area until you meet the patient. 

If the patient is late, interpreters are to wait until the patient is officially a “no-show” (generally 20 minutes depending on the clinic and procedure). After a patient is considered a “no-show”, interpreters may ask staff to sign their worksheet.

Important: If reporting to the Emergency Department, give the nurse 30 minutes notice before you need to leave. This will help us make arrangements for continuity of service to our patients. 

If You Need to Cancel

If unable to keep an assignment, agency interpreters shall contact their agency with as much advance notice as possible. At minimum, Interpreter Services at Children's needs two hours advance notice.

Interpreters who have contracts with Children's should contact Interpreter Services at 612-813-7600 with as much advance notice as possible.

Identification Badge

All agency or contracted interpreters working at Children's are required to wear a “Fast Pass” created at the Children’s Welcome Center. The badge is to be displayed at all times where others can easily see it and the picture and name should not be covered by pins, stickers, buttons, etc. Please arrive with your agency badge as it is required for a picture ID to procure a Children’s “Fast Pass.”

Privacy and Confidentiality

Protecting patient privacy is part of Children's commitment to family-centered care with the highest possible ethical standards. At Children's everyone is responsible for protecting patient privacy including all staff, employees, temporary staff, consultants, contractors, agency interpreters, physicians and community providers, residents, students and volunteers.

Children's has adopted the following privacy principles:

  • Protected health information - all information about patients is considered confidential, including demographic and billing information (name, address, medical record number, health plan, dates of birth, etc.)
  • Minimum necessary - A person or entity should have access to, receive or distribute only the “minimum necessary” amount of information to perform their jobs
  • Communication methods - we are obligated to protect all forms of communication (oral, written or electronic)
    • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Computers and electronics - privacy restrictions apply electronically
    • Never share ids or passwords
    • Log off or use password protected screen savers on terminals
    • Access only information necessary for the performance of your duties
    • Facsimile machines: kept in secure places, never leave facsimiles on machine, verify facsimile number before sending
  • Written materials - privacy restrictions apply to written material
    • Properly dispose of confidential information in shredding boxes
    • Clear all materials when utilizing copy machines
    • All business partners must provide satisfactory assurances of privacy protections

Health Precautions

Guidelines for infection control should always be followed:

Hand Hygiene – Foam in and Foam out!

  • How?
    • Use an alcohol-based hand rub for routinely decontaminating hands.
    • Wash hands with soap and water when visibly soiled or if potentially contaminated with blood or body fluids. Also wash hands after 10-15 uses of alcohol to remove emollient buildup.
  • When?
    • Before entering a patient room/environment
    • Upon leaving a patient room/environment
    • When moving from “soiled” to “clean”
    • Before performing an invasive procedure, even if gloves will be worn
    • Before and after eating
    • After using the restroom

Standard Precautions

  • Appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) to protect yourself from splash/spray of blood or other potentially infectious body fluids

  • Mask with eye protection, gloves, gowns are to be worn as indicated by risk of splash/spray

Contact Precautions

  • Gloves every time you enter the room

  • Gown for contact with patient or environment

  • Clean/disinfect equipment coming out of the room

    • Stethoscopes

    • Anything handled while in the room (pagers, hand held devices, etc.)

    • Dynama

  • Remove barriers and perform hand hygiene immediately upon leaving room

  • Known or suspected multiple drug resistant organism (MDRO) infection or colonization (MRSA, VRE, ESBL)

  • Uncontained drainage from a wound

  • Uncontained diarrhea/stool from patient with acute gastric illness

  • RSV, conjunctivitis, scabies, lice, etc.

  • If it’s messy, icky, and unknown – contact precautions are appropriate.

Droplet Precautions

  • Care providers are to wear a surgical mask and eye protection when within 3 feet of coughing patient.
  • Coughing patients often have coughing family members – all coughers should remain in the room or mask when out of the room.
  • If they’re coughing and you don’t know why – droplet precautions apply.
  • Examples of illness known or suspected to spread in this manner:
    • Influenza

    • Invasive meningococcal disease

    • B. pertussis

    • Streptococcal pharyngitis, pneumonia or scarlet fever in infants and young children

    • Adenovirus

    • Mumps

    • Parvovirus B19 (if in aplastic crisis or is immunocompromised with chronic infection)

Safe Work Environment

Security is staffed 24/7 everyday of the year:

Minneapolis: 5-7777

St. Paul: 1-8899

All Others: 9-911

Emergency Codes

CODE PINK: Abducted, Eloped or Missing Patient or Person


  • If you are missing a patient or person, call security immediately to notify them of a Code Pink. Provide them with the floor/location you are at and a specific description of child and/or abductor (age, sex, clothing, etc). DO NOT allow anyone to leave the unit until cleared by security,

  • If you hear an overhead page for a Code Pink

    • Secure and check exit and entrance points (i.e., stairwell, elevators) and bathrooms. Report any findings to security immediately.

    • Security will overhead page child and/or abductor description and details as above.

DR. BLUE: Cardiac or Respiratory Arrest


  • Respond to the overhead page only if you are a member of the “Dr. Blue” Team.

CODE ORANGE: Internal &/or External Disaster


  • Follow your department specific Code Orange plan and take direction from the charge nurse and command staff.

CODE GREEN: (Restraint Personnel Requested: violent visitor, patient, parent, etc.)


  • Call Security immediately

  • Indicate-Code Green RPR

  • Provide your name

  • Provide Floor/Location you are at

  • Stay near the situation to help responders understand the circumstances

CODE YELLOW - Internal: Security Emergency Inside the Hospital


  • Employees, visitors, and patients should stay away from the area or department named in the Cody Yellow – Internal page, until the “All Clear” has been given by security.

  • Identify anything suspicious in your area to assist should the code impact your area.

  • Report anything suspicious to Security immediately!

Code Yellow – External: Security Emergency Outside the Building


  • No one should go outside or stand near windows, due to a security emergency occurring very near the hospital.

  • Notify visitors, staff, or other individuals of the incident. Make sure they do not proceed outside until the “All Clear” has been given by security overhead.

Fire Safety – CODE RED If the fire is in your area:

 Rescue anyone in immediate danger

 Alert others:

  • Call out “Code Red!” to your co-workers

  • Activate the fire alarm pull station

  • Call security or the emergency number to give exact location of fire

Confine: Close doors and windows, ensure smoke doors are closed, turn lights on in corridor and patient rooms. 

Extinguish: Use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire if it is safe to do so.   

OR Evacuate:   Evacuate patients, families, visitors, employees to adjacent smoke compartment


How to use a fire extinguisher -PASS:

Pull the pin

Aim the hose at the base of the fire

Squeeze the handle

Sweep from side to side

Contact Information, Map, Directions, and Parking

Expectations upon Arrival to Children’s

Upon arriving to either the Children’s Minneapolis or Children’s St. Paul hospitals, please present at the main Welcome Desk to receive a “Fast Pass” for identification and to be checked in. The Welcome Desk staff will help you direct you towards the appropriate unit or clinic. All interpreters are required to check in at the Welcome Desk prior to interpreting.

For outpatient clinic locations: Go to the clinic assigned. Once at the registration desk, sign the interpreter log. Clinic Locations 

After interpreting, make sure to have the person you interpret for sign your Children’s worksheet. After a clinician has signed the interpreter worksheet, please return it to the Welcome Desk and check out with the Welcome Desk staff. Remember: agency worksheets are not accepted at Children’s.

Waiting Areas

Agency-contracted interpreters are welcome to wait at all hosptial lobbys when conducting hospital business. Please refrain from using the family waiting areas and do not use computers, copier machines and other equipment intended for patients and staff. The Family Resource Center is for family use only.

Food Services 

Food service areas include:


  • Starz Cafeteria
  • Jazzman’s Café on level 2 in the Children’s Specialty Center

St. Paul

  • Smith and Grand Café on the first floor near the Welcome Center
  • Ginko Coffee Bar and Deli on the first floor in the Gardenview Tower

Please refrain from eating in restricted areas, including the following:

  • Patient care areas
  • Radiology
  • Surgery Center
  • Exam rooms
  • Inpatient rooms

Some patients are required to fast before procedures and seeing others eat or drink can make the situation more difficult, especially for young children.

Certificate of Completion

Please follow the link below to acknowledge your completion of the agency interpreter education and Children's Confidentiality agreement.

Certificate of Completion

Comments and Concerns

We appreciate feedback, suggestions and knowing your concerns. To share your comments, compliments or best practice suggestions, please contact us at 612.813.7730

Thank you for completing the interpreters' orientation to Children's of Minnesota. Please let your agency know that you have completed this orientation. Whether you interpret here one time or often, we hope you enjoy your work at Children's and value your contribution.