"You're gonna need to learn Spanish...." - page 7

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   Psychaprn
    Remember-actions speak louder than words. Most hospitals have translators or use a English speaking family member to help. I think this is why they teach languages in school.
  2. by   ElvishDNP
    I think it is a reasonable enough request that someone planning on living here for an extended length of time learn English. Just a couple thoughts:

    1) I speak fluent enough Spanish to talk c my husband, his family, my patients, and my Hispanic friends. I enjoy speaking Spanish and the perspective it gives me on the culture. However, if I were to go to Mexico (or wherever) to have my baby -- even though it were my choice -- I would be most grateful for the opportunity to talk with an English-speaking nurse. Even though I speak good Spanish.

    2) Just because someone doesn't speak English (or good enough English to be comfortable in a given situation) doesn't mean they don't want to learn and/or aren't making the effort. It's hard to know unless you can ask or they can tell you.

    3) If you* want people here to learn English -- which as previously stated, I think is a fair request -- then be proactive. Volunteer to tutor someone or teach an ESL class. You will not be turned down for lack of interest. Be part of the solution.

    *"you" being universal, not directed at any one person.

    Done here.
  3. by   nuangel1
    :yeahthat: :yeahthat: :yeahthat:
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    Speak for someone else.

    Has nothing to do with being closed-minded, i do know some Spanish now, my eventual goal is to be fluent in it (along with ASL). But i do get peeved when someone's been in the US for decades and does not know one WORD of English, does NOT make the effort to learn it, etc. It's apparently too much to ask to be met half way or part of the way on the language barrier. There is no way in heck that i could ever THINK of going to a non-English speaking or unpredominantly English speaking country, and expect the 'locals' to conform to me.
    i couldn't agree more .while i know a little spanish .if someone lives in usa where our language is english then they should learn english.
  4. by   CaLLaCoDe
    [banana]
    Quote from lizz
    ... it's a real pain not to know it. I hate having to run down translators or computer programs ... I mean, who has time for that? Even if you've got somebody to translate on the floor something else inevitably comes up, they leave and then you can't find the translator.

    :typing
    [/banana]

    I also think it is crazy to have Spanish speaking coworkers that must break away from their patient care to assist with another nurse's translation. So the time the Spanish speaking nurse spends translating could be spent doing things that would benefit his/her patient.
    Question is, should those on the floor that are bilingual be compensated monetarily for their help with translations? I think they should!
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Feb 12, '07
  5. by   Sheri257
    Quote from TeleRNer
    [banana][/banana]

    I also think it is crazy to have Spanish speaking coworkers that must break away from their patient care to assist with another nurse's translation. So the time the Spanish speaking nurse spends translating could be spent doing things that would benefit his/her patient.
    Question is, should those on the floor that are bilingual be compensated monetarily for their help with translations? I think they should!
    Exactly. That's why I think the $100 extra a month is a great idea. That's what the state of California pays their employees for learning Spanish. From what I hear the test is hard ... you pretty much have to be fluent ...

    I guess they don't want people who speak just a few words and phrases getting the extra money when they really don't know the language.

    $100 a month doesn't sound like much but, I hear they're going to raise it to $150. That's $3,600 if you work a couple of years and $36,000 if you work for 20 years. So it can really add up.

    :typing
  6. by   CHATSDALE
    if you listen to an aussie or english person speak you are instantly aware of the difference in a single lang i am sure that there are differences in the different south amer countries add to that there are usually slang words for body parts that never make their way into language courses you are going to have to a genius to make it w/o insulting someone

    by the way i think that calif is wrong to punish someone who is not bilingual by withholding money..going to cause some hurt feelings
    Last edit by CHATSDALE on Feb 12, '07 : Reason: clarification
  7. by   Sheri257
    Quote from CHATSDALE
    by the way i think that calif is wrong to punish someone who is not bilingual by withholding money..going to cause some hurt feelings
    Well ... you also have to work in a job that involves speaking Spanish. If you have a desk job that only involves speaking English then you can't get it. It that case, it doesn't matter if you're biligual or not.

    I don't think it's a punishment per se. They're paying you for an additional skill that you use on the job.

    You either pass the test or you don't. I personally know of one employee who didn't pass the test, even though he speaks a lot of Spanish on the job. Since he didn't pass, he doesn't get the extra money.

    Basically you have to have a 30 minute conversation on various topics in Spanish with three different people to pass the test. That's how they determine if you're really fluent or not.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Feb 12, '07
  8. by   MomNRN
    Quote from TeleRNer
    [banana][/banana]

    I also think it is crazy to have Spanish speaking coworkers that must break away from their patient care to assist with another nurse's translation. So the time the Spanish speaking nurse spends translating could be spent doing things that would benefit his/her patient.
    Question is, should those on the floor that are bilingual be compensated monetarily for their help with translations? I think they should!
    At our facility, we have several Spanish-speaking employees. We are no longer able to pull them away from their duties to interpret for us in the ED.

    My feelings are those who don't speak English should bring an interpreter. And I don't mean a 4-year-old child. I can't begin to tell you the number of times I have had to have a child ask their mother intimate questions regarding the possible cause of their vag bleeding.

    Plan ahead - either learn the language or bring an adult with you.
  9. by   TazziRN
    Quote from MomNRN
    My feelings are those who don't speak English should bring an interpreter. And I don't mean a 4-year-old child. I can't begin to tell you the number of times I have had to have a child ask their mother intimate questions regarding the possible cause of their vag bleeding.

    Plan ahead - either learn the language or bring an adult with you.

    YES!!!!!!!!

    Immigrants from every other country do!
  10. by   gitterbug
    The two most awful patients I ever had were non-english speaking, older women, both in terrible medical shape, no family present, and I needed to insert a foley . One was Japanese, the other Arab. We got through it, pictures, sign language, pain med, and teeth gritted. These women had been here for over 40 years, so I do think it was a choice they made not to learn our language and not to interact with Americans. Too bad the doctor husbands who brought them to this country died, leaving adult children with busy, working lives the duty to care for these old world women.
  11. by   Diahni
    Quote from smkiya
    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 was only on the floor for a couple hours for a 'tour' but my preceptors pt needed assistance so I went in to help.

    The patient only spoke Spanish and we had to provide care that was very messy, uncomfortable, and embarrassing for the pt. There ended up being 3 of us in the room to try and resolve the problem but it wasn't going well. The pt had tears in her eyes and I wanted so badly to provide comforting words and reassurance, but couldn't. All I could do was look softly into her eyes and stroke her hair, meanwhile feeling like a total failure because I couldn't communicate with her in her time of need.

    There wasn't time to use the language line, my preceptor only spoke a couple words, and the other nurse didn't speak Spanish either. For 45 minutes we turned and cleaned only to have to turn and clean, it was terrible. I'm sure she had no idea what we were doing, she was exposed, and no one could tell her anything. All I kept thinking was why wasn't the need to learn Spanish emphasized before now. Sure I've had Spanish patients during clinicals, but I usually had a classmate who was fluent or I used the language line. I had every intention of learning Spanish in the future because I knew it would be beneficial... but now I'm going to do everything in my power to learn it as quickly as possible because I NEVER want to go through that experience EVER again! I had to do everything in my power to keep my tears at bay while silently comforting the pt. Even now as I write I try to avoid imagining myself or a family member in her situation.

    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....
    Smkiya,
    Go for it! Spanish is probably the easiest language to learn and it will be a great asset in your job. I used to go to music festivals, where I was the only person who spoke one language - English, natch! It was a real inspiration. Don't worry about your accent, you will make yourself known, and better still, you'll understand your patients.
    Diahni
  12. by   letina
    Quote from TazziRN
    There is no other country in the world that accomodates people from other countries living there.
    Take a look at the UK. Now there's a country in one helluva mess right now because of (imo) the way it "accommodates" people from other countries.
  13. by   smkiya
    Wow! I'm surprised at the number of responses on this thread... not what I expected. I do understand why many feel the way they do about learning another language to accomodate others in this country. I've taught myself to speak French, not fluently but well enough to communicate meaningfully with others. I've even immersed my daughter in as much French as I could because learning another language has proven effective in perfecting your ability to speak in your native tongue. Studies have shown that children who speak more than one language perform better in many other academic areas.

    The reason I began this post is because the area I work in has a large Spanish speaking population. I will most likely have at least one Spanish only speaking patient per week, realistically one per shift. Politics aside, in order for me to provide the care I believe every patient deserves, I need to be able to communicate with them. Sometimes even when people speak a second language, but find themselves in a stressful situation, they lose that ability to communicate. I had a patient in a nursing home who spoke perfect English, she moved to the US from Italy 20 years prior. Whenever she became disoriented, she would only communicate in Italian. There are certain areas here that have a large Russian population, in that case I might feel it beneficial to learn Russian if I worked in a hospital in that area. My reason for wanting to learn Spanish for my patients will also help with time management, assessment (sometimes even patients who speak the language don't know medical words), and allow me to become a little more personal.

    I realize immigration is a hot political topic these days, and arguments from both sides have valid points. I hope that if I find myself in a hospital in a French speaking country, (as I love to travel) the stress of my illness/injury won't prevent me from being able to communicate. However, many people in France and many other countries in the world speak respectable English, because of the impact English speaking nations have on world affairs... it just makes sense.

    Thanks.

close