"You're gonna need to learn Spanish...." - page 2

I'm a new RN, just started orientation last week. I met with my preceptor on the floor for the first time a few days ago and he made the comment, "Working here, you're gonna need to learn Spanish". I... Read More

  1. by   prmenrs
    For a large variety of reasons (educational, logistical, and numerous others), demanding that all patients learn English before arriving @ the hospital in need of care is futile. It simply will not happen.

    When your hospital is located <10 miles from the border, and 60-80% of your patients are Spanish only, or limited English, you need to acquire a certain amount of bilingual and, very important, bicultural skills if you wish to maximize your effectiveness and not waste a lot of time finding someone to help you.

    I commend the OP's desire to learn Spanish. It will serve you well!
  2. by   CaLLaCoDe
    [mouse]prmenrs quote:[/mouse][mouse]"When your hospital is located <10 miles from the border, and 60-80% of your patients are Spanish only, or limited English, you need to acquire a certain amount of bilingual and, very important, bicultural skills if you wish to maximize your effectiveness and not waste a lot of time finding someone to help you."[/mouse]

    I applaud your efforts as a nurse, however those of us who haven't a handle on learning a foreign languages would find it difficult to find work ten miles from the border? Whose population are we catering to?
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Feb 12, '07
  3. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from TeleRNer
    It's not my responsibility to spend my free time learning a foreign toungue.
    :yeahthat: :yeahthat: :yeahthat: :yeahthat:

    My family all had to learn English. If you have to learn, you do. If we cottle them, why learn english? They don't know how to speak English, they take their drivers tests in Spanish. Gees, wake up! All of our road signs are in english! I say we need to stop all this nonsense. Our language is ENGLISH!
    This does not apply to forigners who are only visiting here. If you choose to live in the US, you must learn english.
  4. by   SCRN1
    All I've gotta say is that if I were to visit or move to a foreign country, I would not expect them to conform to my needs/language and I feel it should go the other way around to those who want to come to my country.
  5. by   TazziRN
    Dale, HIPAA is not violated if a staff member is used to translate because it involves the care of the pt. Also, if the pt delegates a relative to translate, same rule applies.

    Preemie, for the first time I have to disagree with you. I grew up in foreign countries because my dad was in the army. A class in the culture of the country as well as the language was required in Department of Defense Schools.

    I understand adults moving to this country and not learning the language. I do not understand, however, adults who were born in this country or spent their school years here not speaking English. Bilingual eddication is for the birds.
  6. by   DutchgirlRN
    Not to mention that the illegals here in Tennessee can come to the ER, have surgery, go home and never receive a bill. We can't send them one.

    Our own citizens who don't have insurance for one reason or another are afraid to go for healthcare because they can't pay the bill. If they do end up having surgery they'll be hounded by the billing dept for the rest of their life. Where's the justice in all of this?
  7. by   CHATSDALE
    OP was not '10 miles from border' she is in new jersey - there are many langugages in the world...trying to communicate is going to be difficult
    but i can't believe that the host country should have to do all the giving

    however, hats off to OP for doing whatever she can to help pts...anything you learn is to your benefit
  8. by   Euphrosyne7
    I can see where those of you are saying that it is not your responsibility to learn another language, and I agree it may not be your responsibility.

    However, if you do work in an area where another language is prominent besides English, you are more marketable if you can speak both. (The area I am in often says bilingual preferred in some job listings)

    Furthermore, there is a large population of Hispanic people in this area, and I actually feel that it is beneficial to me as well as them to learn how to speak Spanish because, I will not have to wait for a translator.

    I will have the advantage of actually speaking another language should I decide to visit a different country where that language is primarily spoken, and if I found myself, sick, in a hospital in a country where I could not understand anything, I certainly would be grateful if there was someone there who could communicate with me, even if it was just in broken English.

    These are patients we are talking about; not just a person who you can't help at the grocery store. I am surprised at all the people who are posting with the kind of "they came here; they should learn our language" thing. Being nurses, we are supposed to respect cultural diversity and also do the best that we can for our patients regardless of what language they speak. To me that means if I need to learn some Spanish or whatever language it may be in order to accomodate that, then I will.

    I just look at it as a challenge and an opportunity to learn something that will turn out to be useful.

    Carla
  9. by   nurse4theplanet
    Quote from smkiya
    Has anyone else had an experience where they felt so strongly about wanting to learn a language? Or, did you learn a language and have a situation where you were so happy that you did?
    Thanks for listening....
    I think you did the best you could in the given situation. The assistance hotline is a wonderful resource, however, sometimes it is just not an option. The same is true for family members who can interpret...sometimes they are just not available. So you do your best...non-verbal communication goes far as well as gestures/pictures. It is up to you if you want to learn Spanish to serve your spanish speaking patients. Do not let others discourage you with the 'it's not my job' and this is 'not their country' garbage. I encourage becoming bilingual if you live in an area with a large spanish speaking population.

    I think American's are very close minded and ethnocentric when it comes to learning languages other than English. I work with an equipment tech from Africa and he speaks five different languages fluently! That is amazing to me. If you travel to other countries, Europe especially, you will find many people who speak two or more languages fluently. Trying to get some Americans to learn even a few simple words of another language is like pulling teeth.
  10. by   CaLLaCoDe
    These are patients we are talking about; not just a person who you can't help at the grocery store. I am surprised at all the people who are posting with the kind of "they came here; they should learn our language" thing. Being nurses, we are supposed to respect cultural diversity and also do the best that we can for our patients regardless of what language they speak.
    Join you then, in your undertaking of Cantanese, Russian, and French!

    Get real! Some of us are not linguists and have no desire to be!

    PS. Speaking Spanish shouldn't be a requirement to practice nursing and may contribute part and partial to the growing nursing shortage.

    Furthermore, to label anyone of this opinion ethnocentrist is lunacy. Americans speak English not Spanish/Hebrew/Russian/Greek to communicate with one another. We understand this to be the official language of the United States!
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Feb 11, '07
  11. by   nursejohio
    While I totally understand the OPs desire to pick up spanish, I also understand the frustration of everyone else! The times I've visited foreign countries, I've picked up at least some basic phrases before I left. I don't expect everyone I come in contact with to be fluent in English, although most are. I've had patients who've been in the US for years, YEARS and can't even answer basic questions if they're asked in english.
  12. by   TazziRN
    Quote from cniro7
    These are patients we are talking about; not just a person who you can't help at the grocery store. I am surprised at all the people who are posting with the kind of "they came here; they should learn our language" thing. Being nurses, we are supposed to respect cultural diversity and also do the best that we can for our patients regardless of what language they speak. To me that means if I need to learn some Spanish or whatever language it may be in order to accomodate that, then I will.
    There is no other country in the world that accomodates people from other countries living there. I am bicultural and I am big on respecting other cultures. That does not, however, mean that it's okay to accomodate another language for people who choose to live here.
  13. by   PeachPie
    Quote from TeleRNer
    Sorry to be the controversial one. But wake up! These folks are in a country where English is the standard preferred language. And, it's not my responsibility to spend my free time learning a foreign toungue.

    If you're in the hospital and you only speek Spanish, get a family member who speaks English to help translate for you!

    Don't correct me on my use of your Spanish language! I'm trying the best that I know how to communicate with you!

    Excuse me! You're the one who insists on using your language to communicate with me, when I know you've spent at least a little time here and have some brief understanding of English and can trouble yourself to speak in Englsih...this is not MEXICO!
    Yep. As aforementioned, when I was traveling, I at least carried a bilingual dictionary at all times, and didn't expect people to go to inceomvenience themselves for my benefit.

    I hate overtly ethnocentric people in general. Heck, I hate most anythign-centric, especially egocentric.

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