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Careers: Laura Rakestraw

"... I've had the opportunity to utilize Spanish with our patients and co-workers..."

Alumna: Laura Rakestraw, '07
Program of Study: Education
Major: Spanish
Current position:
Computer software trainer

I work for a Catholic healthcare system in St. Louis, Missouri, as a computer software trainer. I mainly teach classes each week to new hires who need to learn how to use our electronic medical record software program, but frequently I visit clinics and hospital departments when they first start using the system to provide assistance. I work at hospitals across a number of states, and in many areas we serve a large Spanish-speaking population. While I don't conduct my classes in Spanish, I've had the opportunity to utilize Spanish with our patients and co-workers. A few years ago I was helping at an Ob/Gyn clinic in Arkansas. The Spanish translator left to get her flu shot, and in the ten minutes she was gone, a Spanish-speaking patient arrived and explained that she was in labor. No one else at the front desk understood what she was saying, but thankfully I understood exactly what was happening! As far as I know, she delivered a healthy baby later that day. :)


Mexico across the street in Texas

Our healthcare system has an outreach ministry in Laredo, Texas, which is a primarily Spanish-speaking part of the country. I helped our department raise some money for the ministry in Laredo, which includes a health care clinic, vocational training program, and domestic violence shelter. Leaders in Laredo invited me to visit them a few years ago to say thanks for our fundraising efforts. They lined up a tour guide to take me around to the various areas where they serves, but lo and behold, a scheduling mix-up occurred and the only people available to take me around that day spoke Spanish! The receptionist was fit to be tied, but of course it was no problem at all. I learned a lot that day about ministry opportunities in Laredo, Texas and had fun speaking Spanish the whole time.

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