"You're gonna need to learn Spanish...." - page 5

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   Euskadi1946
    GardenDove not too long ago there was a forum where undocumented aliens especially the Mexican ones were being bashed all over the place. Thankfully it was removed!!!
  2. by   prmenrs
    This turning into a lively discussion! Let's respect each other, 'kay?
  3. by   Euskadi1946
    They know that, but the fact of the matter is that Mexico is the most common country of origin in the U.S. for immigrants, and also Spanish speaking persons. Most of the people who speak Spanish are Mexican.

    That reminds me of a young pt I had who was from Cuba. Here in the Pacific NW, Cubans are a rarity. She made a big point to let me know that she was Cuban, and it was perfectly clear to me that she looked down on Mexicans and didn't want to be mistaken for one! It was rather amusing to observe this.

    Since you find this so amusing to observe, I do believe without a doubt that you are a racist and you don't like Mexicans!!! And that is the last I have to say on this horrible thread!!!!
  4. by   TazziRN
    CeCi, you need to simmer down some. I think it's wonderful to be multilingual, but that's not the point of these posts. The point is that much of the Spanish-speaking population live in an English-speaking country, yet do not speak English. And someone said something about people from overseas being higher-functioning....for the most part that's true, but what about the peasants from Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos? Many of them are poorly educated and yet if the adults do not learn the language, they insist that their children do. That's called respect for their adopted country.
  5. by   TazziRN
    Something I overheard my mother once say has always stuck with me. She is from South Korea and didn't speak a word of English when she met my dad. I was about 13, we were in California, and we were at a company picnic. There was a young Korean woman married to one of my dad's soldiers who came up to my mom and spoke Korean to her. My mom stared at her and in broken English said, "You in America now. You speak Korean at home, okay. Outside home, you speak English!"
  6. by   NRSKarenRN
    JCAHO and MC/MA requires that all facilities and physicians identify major languages used by patients in local community and develop material/consents if predominate secondary language is noted along with providing translator services. One of my health system's facilities has heavy Russian/Polish population so they have hospital consents in Russian and Polish. Facilities have been fined big time for not providing a medical translator.


    Many facilities sign up with AT+T's Language Line: pay a yearly flat fee to being a member then either monthly if large use or case by case fee for interpretive services. Business agreement one sign's includes HIPAA language that interpreters need to follow regarding protecting health information:
    http://www.languageline.com/page/industry_healthcare/



    Kudos to OP for recognizing a patient need..

    America is becoming a multicultural nation and we need to be educated to function within it. It is important for healthcare providers to know the resources within a facility regarding translation. Night I had to give a fleets enema to Laotian women in 1980's (hospital predominately African American)and awaken someone at 5AM to translate cause no one thought to educate her re test prep during daylight hours, was when I realized need to learn about interpreters.

    My HS French has come into play only 1 or 2 times in my career; that's why I encouraged my sons to take HS Spanish ---our schools require 4 yrs language. My youngest son is going to become a Chef, taking French classes as part of culinary arts degree program now so they'll know a little of the language when they visit.

    Philadelphia becoming a haven for immigrants from Africa continent along with South America. My local hospitals are ones Philadelphia Airport brings ill passengers to. There are many reasons why non-english speaking patient may land in your facility in need of healthcare. If your traveling outside the US and get sick, you'd expect some one in foreign country to assist in translation services. Same should be said of healthcare in US.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Feb 11, '07
  7. by   prmenrs
    I am not sure who CeCi is referring to as a "racist", but in any context, that word, all by itself, tends to wound folks.

    Please be careful!!
  8. by   ann945n
    I believe while you felt bad for not being able to communicate you should not feel bad for not knowing spanish, would you feel the same way when its german or chinese or another language. You did your best to comfort her with what you could, pat yourslef on the back for that, im sure she felt your caring and concern for her. You cannot possibly learn every language and if people move here and refuse to learn english they are only holding themselves back. this women did this to herself by moving somewhere and not learning the language. I move to german and learned german, not well but i did it. We need to put our foot down and stop accomidating people insulting our country and culture(yes language is a culture) a hold people accountable for BASIC communication skills. Im not saying no interpreters since some people who are learning need extra help but sorry no excuse learn english or leave. (bring on the flaming, i know its coming)
  9. by   SCRN1
    Quote from wooh
    While I agree, if I was in another country, I'd be ever so grateful to anyone that did speak English and could help me out!
    Oh, I wasn't meaning that I refuse to learn Spanish or to try and help someone speaking a foreign language the best I can. I do try to do my best in caring for someone speaking a foreign language...just as I do with people who have beliefs other than what I have, whether it's religious, cultural, etc.

    What I meant in I wouldn't expect another country to conform to my language and I don't think ours should either is that I don't think it should be required for us to learn a foreign language to suit the desires of those who choose to move to another country.
    Last edit by SCRN1 on Feb 12, '07
  10. by   Kim O'Therapy
    Quote from TazziRN
    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.

    I agree that the nurse him/herself should not HAVE to accomadate a pts language barrier; however, I feel the hospital should. I work in a major medical facility in a "melting pot" area of the country. Administration discourages attempts at communication and insists on the use of our contracted linguist d/t the possibility of error, resulting in law suits. In other words, if I try to communicate with a non-English speaking pt, I then have to take responsibility for any misinterpretation that may follow. No thank you.

    Having said that, as the OP indicated, comforting a pt can make all the difference. I once had a pt from Kuwait. Of course, all I could see was her eyes and in that particular culture, the men speak for the women. Most of the time, the woman may not even know what dx she has or why she is at the hospital because the men do all of the communicating. I could see the fear and confusion in her eyes as her brother, MD, and interpreter made plans for HER care. I reached down and held her hand and she gripped onto me with all her might. It struck me as so sad.
  11. by   mrsalby
    My what a thread. I believe that if living in a country, attempt to learn the language in that country. Understandably, stressful situations will cause one to default to their natural language. I think it is the responsibility of both parties to attempt to learn the dominant language and everyone can then have a coke and a smile! I feel every Spanish speaking or ESL patient I communicate with is an opportunity to learn and teach something about the language. So, I try. I live in New Mexico, I have to try!

    I see the problem in America is that a lot of complaining is done without attempts to improve the situation. America is too accomodating. For example, To become a citizen, one has to take the test and the oath etc. If one speaks spanish and has lived here for 20 years or more they can take the test and oath in Spanish...huh? say that again! in Spanish....you would think it would be the other way around and they would be required to take the test in English and say the oath in English! Heck seeing as how he or she has lived here that long, they should pick up some form of the language. I have picked up some form of the Spanish language living in English speaking America just by coming in contact with patients the last 2.5 yrs. Come on! They have been here 10-20+. Changes like these are way overdue if the majority rules to keep English as the predominant and official language in America. Write your congressional leaders.

    ~MrsA
  12. by   NRSKarenRN
    nurses and health care professionals need to be able to communicate regarding issues affecting healthcare without name calling and letting personal biases affect patient care or discussions on our bulletin board.

    please refran from personal attacks. debate the subject at hand and provide facts with website links not heresay when indicated.


    [font=lucidasans][color=#292526]the foreign-born population in the united states increased by more
    [font=lucidasans][color=#292526]than half between 1990 and 2000.
    [font=lucidasans][color=#292526]census 2000 measured a population of 281.4 million, 31.1 million (or 11.1 percent) of whom were foreign born.[font=lucidasans][color=#292526]1
    [font=lucidasans][color=#292526]individuals from latin america represented 52 percent, asia 26 percent, europe 16 percent, and otherareas of the world 6.0 percent of the foreign-born population.
    [font=lucidasans][color=#292526]http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-34.pdf


    [font=lucidasans][color=#292526]we can not ignore the fact that immigration to us has risen significantly. as healthcare providers we must plan to accommidate and provide services accordingly.
  13. by   Roy Fokker
    I speak/understand 7 languages.

    Unfortunately Spanish is not one them :uhoh21:

    On the other hand, where I am in the MidWest, my knowledge of German is quite handy. We recently had an elderly nursing home patient Dx: Ileus and abd pain.

    First night she was terrible - completely non co operative. Constantly getting out of bed. Would wet the bed and not inform us. Refused to use call light but would shout "Help! Help" ever 2 minutes etc.

    The next night, when I was in there trying to assist her, my speech quirk (I tend to speak very rapidly. My co-workers constantly remind me to slow down LOL) caused her to say "I'm sorry but I'm not American. I don't understand you". She was old enough to be a war bride and her accent seemed to fit, so I took a wild shot and started speaking in German.

    Her face lit up :chuckle From then on, it was a lot more smooth sailing...

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