American Sign Language

  1. Will learning the American Sign Language be helpful to a nurse's career? I am a 1st year nursing student, I already speak Chinese & French. I wish to take an additional language this summer, I am considering between Spanish and the American Sign Language. Any suggestions? Your words of wisdom are appreciated! Christina

    [This message has been edited by eventsnyc (edited March 18, 2001).]
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   NRSKarenRN
    Christina;
    While I wish I knew sign language the few times I encountered a deaf person, my lack of Spanish beyond a few phrases has really hampered care on many occasions. I have encouraged my sons to take Spanish in high school with the hopes they will become conversational enough to teach me!
  4. by   Zee_RN
    I have used ASL twice in 6 years. I love ASL but probably Spanish would be a better choice. But if you're very industrious, you could probably learn both at same time. After all, ASL is in English and there's very little conjugation!

    Good luck and have fun with it.
  5. by   eventsnyc
    Dear Karen & Zee, Thank you for your opinion & advice. I will take Spanish this summer. I think I would be able to help more people with Spanish. Happy Nursing! Christina
  6. by   Enright
    I am an RN and a sign interpreter. I THOUGHT that this would be a great tool for getting work as a school nurse, work as a nurse interpreter, etc. It has not turned out to be as useful as I thought. In 15 years I have had maybe a handful of deaf patients and have been able to assist with perhaps 10-15 deaf hospital visitors. If I had known Spanish it would have been useful every day. Study sign if it pleases you but Spanish will definitely be a plus clinically.
  7. by   greg in mass
    Learning ASL is useful, but it depends on what you plan to use it for. If you want to be a nurse with ASL fluency and be able to use these skills, then you would have to work in a facility that specializes in deaf clients. I do not know what is out in your area, but I'm sure you can ask around.

    After you become fluent in ASL, you can also do freelance work as an ASL interpreter, which is in high demand....because not too many people know the language. If you did do freelance work, you can do work in hospitals and clinics around your area and assist deaf people in doctor's office, etc., where you could also utilize your medical nursing knowledge as well. There are many options on where you can be an interpreter, but doing work in the medical setting allows you to also utilize your medical knowledge.

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  8. by   jennifer jane
    HEY THERE WELL I KNOW BOTH BRITISH AND AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE AND I HAVE USED THEM BOTH MANY TIMES BUT I MUST ADMIT THAT SPANISH DOES SOUND A LOT MORE FUN.
    IT REALLY DEPENDS ON WHAT FIELD YOU INTEND TO WORK IN AND WHERE, ARE YOU GOING TO MEET A LOT OF SPANISH SPEEKING PATIENTS OR WOULD YOU JUST LIKE TO BE ABLE TO CHAT UP MEN LIKE ANTONIO BANDERAS.
  9. by   jennifer jane
    HEY THERE WELL I KNOW BOTH BRITISH AND AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE AND I HAVE USED THEM BOTH MANY TIMES BUT I MUST ADMIT THAT SPANISH DOES SOUND A LOT MORE FUN.
    IT REALLY DEPENDS ON WHAT FIELD YOU INTEND TO WORK IN AND WHERE, ARE YOU GOING TO MEET A LOT OF SPANISH SPEEKING PATIENTS OR WOULD YOU JUST LIKE TO BE ABLE TO CHAT UP MEN LIKE ANTONIO BANDERAS.
  10. by   eventsnyc
    Originally posted by jennifer jane:
    HEY THERE WELL I KNOW BOTH BRITISH AND AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE AND I HAVE USED THEM BOTH MANY TIMES BUT I MUST ADMIT THAT SPANISH DOES SOUND A LOT MORE FUN.
    IT REALLY DEPENDS ON WHAT FIELD YOU INTEND TO WORK IN AND WHERE, ARE YOU GOING TO MEET A LOT OF SPANISH SPEEKING PATIENTS OR WOULD YOU JUST LIKE TO BE ABLE TO CHAT UP MEN LIKE ANTONIO BANDERAS.
    Jennifer, Have not thought of that, am I dumb or what? Heheheee.

    OK seriously, I live in NYC and plan to stay here & work after graduation. There are a good size of Spanish speaking population in this city. I am also an ER medical interpreter (volunteer). But I don't get to be called for work as much as the Spanish and ASL interpreters, so I guess there is much need in these two languages.


    To Greg in Mass: You are right about the need of asl interpreters. The lady who does asl in my group works daily,running from hospital to hospital. But as a nurse stationed in a regular hospital, Enright is right, there will be limited number of deaf patients, and Spanish will be more useful.

    Thank you all for your opinion. All highly valued! Christina

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American Sign Language