Advantage for Speaking Spanish?

  1. 3
    I'm going to graduate in a few months. I'm wondering how much of an advantage it is to speak Spanish, especially in the competitive environment for landing new grad jobs. What do you all think? How much of an advantage is it to speak Spanish? I'm thinking of taking Spanish classes this summer.
    jaclibra, texastaz, and Joe V like this.

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  2. 28 Comments...

  3. 4
    Big advantage. Speaking at least some Spanish will really help you with your Spanish speaking patients. You won't be bilingual yet, so it won't qualify you for a job that requires fluency, but beginning to learn Spanish is something I highly recommend.
  4. 0
    I am just looking at what I can do to make myself a more desirable new grad. I could take 2 accelerated Spanish classes this summer (Spanish 101, Spanish 102) and then Spanish 201 in the fall. I graduate in December. If I did this, I'd have three semesters of Spanish under my belt before graduating. Three semesters would be pretty close to basic fluency.

    But - that's a ton of work. I only want to do it if the advantage as far as job-seeking would be considerable. Opinions? Thoughts? I guess I don't want to go to this much work with this many classes if the hiring advantage is minimal.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Apr 30, '09
  5. 2
    It would show that you are being proactive in wanting to work well with this population group. I can't give you a definite answer, multi, but I think it's a really good idea to start the process of learning Spanish. The United States is becoming a bilingual country, especially in the Southwest.
    texastaz and Multicollinearity like this.
  6. 2
    I say, go ahead and take Spanish. I speak "poquito", barely enough to get by. If you search for jobs on the Maricopa County Hospital website all of the jobs say "bilingual preferred".

    I know you will find it very useful professionally. I am not sure of the hiring advantage though. If I had 2 equally qualified prospects for the same job, I would certainly pick the bilingual employee.
    texastaz and Multicollinearity like this.
  7. 2
    I'm on the waiting list now to get into nursing school, just about all of my pre-nursing done, but I want to continue taking classes so that I remain in "school mode" and will probably take more non-required allied health courses while I'm waiting - but I've been kicking around the idea of taking Spanish myself too. Thanks for posting this question... Learning a different language later in life is hard, but not impossible. It helps that lots of people around here speak it, so it is something that you will actually use day to day, not like your high-school French or German. If being bilingual will really help give you an edge when it comes to being hired in a competitive market, I'd say the extra work and expense is probably worth it....
    texastaz and Multicollinearity like this.
  8. 5
    Just a word of caution about the term "bilingual."

    Just because you speak some Spanish, maybe even for years, doesn't make you bilingual. A few years back, I thought becoming a certified interpretor would be a great idea, since I could get away from the physical part of nursing, but still be in the L & D scene which I love. I started Spanish in high school in the mid 60's, continued in College, and have been using it at work since 1976. I can do an entire labor without an interpretor and do just fine. Many of the Hispanics compliment me.

    That being said, when I checked into what it takes to be certified as bilingual for medical interpretation purposes (here in Washington), it's almost impossible unless you speak Spanish as a first language, or unless you lived in (immersion) a Spanish-speaking country for a period of time.

    It's probably got something to do with the legality of explaining procedures and consents and I get that, but I was also willing to attend more Spanish classes to gain that expertise. Wasn't possible.
    lwndrgn, texastaz, cardiacRN2006, and 2 others like this.
  9. 2
    Quote from multicollinearity
    I am just looking at what I can do to make myself a more desirable new grad. I could take 2 accelerated Spanish classes this summer (Spanish 101, Spanish 102) and then Spanish 201 in the fall. I graduate in December. If I did this, I'd have three semesters of Spanish under my belt before graduating. Three semesters would be pretty close to basic fluency.

    But - that's a ton of work. I only want to do it if the advantage as far as job-seeking would be considerable. Opinions? Thoughts? I guess I don't want to go to this much work with this many classes if the hiring advantage is minimal.
    I would not expend too much energy with the classes. Frankly, to speak Spanish well enough to medically translate you would almost have to undergo a huge period of immersion language learning (i.e.: live in another country). College language classes in the US will not get you there. For example, one of the first things I ever translated (and as a student when it was prohibited!), an MD had me tell a patient "your cancer has spread and there is nothing else we can do". Burdening yourself with lots of Spanish classes at time when you are learning nursing skills will not get you to that level. If you can afford 6 months of language learning in Mexico - that will get you very far along.

    If you truly are bilingual, though, it is always a huge plus. People ask me to translate on a daily basis....
  10. 1
    Funny I came across this thread. Just a couple of days ago, when perusing the job openings, I thought how I've noticed after living in this area for two years now, that a good number of jobs list Spanish or another language proficiency as being preferrable or required. It certainly can't hurt to learn another language, especially Spanish.
    Multicollinearity likes this.
  11. 0
    Thank you all for your input. I didn't realize just how fluent one must be to be called bilingual. I've decided Spanish classes, even four semesters' worth, would not get me to the goal of being bilingual for a hiring advantage. It's an awful lot of work, all those classes, too. I feel like I'm burning my candle at both ends as it is, without extra foreign language classes.

    So. Thanks to learning about the intricacies of the issue, I've decided to purchase one of those Spanish Made Easy-type books and just learn some common phrases that will help me communicate with Spanish-speaking patients.


    Thank you all for the info!
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on May 5, '09


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