Are nurses in other nations bilingual? Should US be? - page 2

I had an arguement with one of my nurse practicioners yesterday. Irregardless of how any of us feel about immigrants, legal or illegal, it's very frustrating to have to treat a patient when you or... Read More

  1. by   June55Baby
    Quote from Mulan
    I have no data sources to offer, however my personal opinion is that this is the United States of America and here we speak English, if you want to immigrate here then learn the language, preferably before you get here, if not as soon as possible after you get here. I feel no responsibility to learn another language in order to give you nursing care. If I were to go to another country to live or work I would expect to have to know the language of the country, I would not expect to go to another country and have the people there learn my language in order to communicate with me.

    I think Americans need to wake up.
    I agree 100%! ! !


    We have German friends who recently spent 3 years in America. They are required to take English language in school from elementary on up, but said that Germans will not necessarily speak English to visitors. If you come to Germany, you are expected to learn/use their language.

    They were surprised that nearly EVERYTHING in the U.S. from instructions on washing powder to phone menus is in English and Spanish and that we are required to learn or provide services in foreign languages rather than the visitors or immigrants learning English.
  2. by   sockmonkey70
    I am not going to go into the huge rant I had originally written. All I will say is that yes...Americans need to wake up..And realize that maybe being bilingual would be a GOOD thing. Maybe just to expand our own culture and get out of the almighty American bubble. Globalization is happening quickly. We need to stop being stubborn and get with the program.
  3. by   June55Baby
    Quote from sockmonkey70
    I am not going to go into the huge rant I had originally written. All I will say is that yes...Americans need to wake up..And realize that maybe being bilingual would be a GOOD thing. Maybe just to expand our own culture and get out of the almighty American bubble. Globalization is happening quickly. We need to stop being stubborn and get with the program.
    You are right that it is good to learn another language. If you want to learn another language that is great! Especially if you plan to visit other countries. I would love to speak Italian and visit Italy one day. But I have no obligation to learn another language in order to communicate with you while you are in the United States.
  4. by   farmerRN
    Teaching kids or adults a second language??!!! Lets teach our kids and adults the basics of the 3 w's and Science!! No wonder Americans can not compete with the global economy.
  5. by   sockmonkey70
    Well how is it possible for kids/adults in other nations to learn multiple languages and still be competent in Science, Math, and Comprehension skills? Why are we special just because we are American?
  6. by   rn/writer
    Let's not comingle issues.

    It's a wonderful thing to be bi- or even trilingual. Learning another language stretches the mind and expands awareness. It can even strengthen ability in one's native tongue as awareness of verb tenses and other principles of grammar develop. For the many personal benefits it offers, becoming fluent in another language should be much more strongly encouraged in schools than it is now.

    That said, anyone who moves to a different country with little to no ability to communicate is placing an undue burden on themselves and anyone with whom they hope to transact any kind of business, whether it be buying groceries or delivering a baby.

    I think in many cases, we have crosed the line from accommodation--which should be a stop-gap, temporary measure to ensure survival--to capitulation--which pretty much gives up and says, "There's nothing we can do."

    Kids in American schools should learn second languages to enhance their own education and open doors around the world. They should not be required to learn a second language because a growing segment of the immigrant population refuses to do so.
  7. by   TazziRN
    I am also a military brat and learned the basics of languages in the countries I lived in. HOWEVER: those countries do not post their signs in other languages. They do provide bilingual education. I remember living in Korea, going to school on post, and having as classmates Korean kids who were either adopted or their mothers married Americans. The kids were literally dropped into our classrooms. Many knew little English at the start of the year, but when we had English/Language Arts class, they went to ESL. By the end of the year they were fluent in English.

    I think it's great to be bilingual but I don't agree with catering to the people who live here. Live here, learn English.
  8. by   lucinka
    I am a BSN from Czech Republic. In my country live only ten milions people. We have to learn foreign languages from primary school to university degree. In nursing schools are foreign language lessons (most english or/and german) obligatory also. But only few nurses speak very well - you can see from my writing, our skills are limited. But I learnt english, german an russian - my mother language is czech.
  9. by   ElvishDNP
    I have two Finnish friends. There are two official languages in Finland, Finnish and Swedish. The girls spoke Finnish at home, then learned Swedish at school. From late elementary school through high school, they learned English and Russian. So by the time they graduated from high school they spoke 4 languages.

    My German friend learned French and English in school, as well as (obviously) German.

    My husband is from Mexico and they had compulsory English classes from 7th grade on up.

    I had Japanese and Korean friends in college that learned English beginning in secondary school.

    Yes, I do think immigrants to this country should learn English, and here are a few points on that. 1) Most in my area are at least making an effort, even if you can't see it. 2) Have you seen the waitlists for the ESL classes? Here they are ridiculously long. 3) If you want people here to learn English, be a part of the solution. Volunteer to teach ESL classes. You will not be turned down for lack of demand. Not if you live in my area (and, I suspect, many others).

    I think it would be a great idea for adults to learn a second language so that we know what it is like to have to learn as an adult. That way we can know why someone may be reluctant to use their English after 3 months or even 3 years in the US. Learning as an adult is way different than learning as a child, and we need to understand and respect that.

    I do think Americans need to step outside our comfort zone. Most people in other countries are learning English.
  10. by   Josh L.Ac.
    Nurses shouldn't be forced to speak another language just like immigrants coming here should not be forced to speak English. If immigrants do not want to learn English, well that is fine but they are shortchanging themselves professionally, academically, and in health care. But it should be their choice.

    Same with nurses. If you do not want to learn another language, that is fine. You should not be forced to. But you should also realize that you are shortchanging yourself professionally.

    There should be salary bonuses for speaking extra languages. That way no one is forced to cater to those that refuse to speak the [current] dominant language of the US, but there is an incentive to do so because even if they do not want to speak English, they still need to be treated.
  11. by   Kyrshamarks
    I have had extensive dealings with local national hospitals in my days in the Military asa medic and as my earlier days as a flight medic with an international air ambulance company. I have learned that in most parts of the world and I am talking both Europe, Asia, and with the exception of the Middle East (for different reasons) Most of the Nurses and even the Doctors do not speak English. Sure it can be a hinderance but you do learn ways to overcome it. The Middle East though seemed to be the Easiest area to get around in for English Speaking in the hospital due to the fact they recruit some many nurses and doctors from other countries they have settled on English as the language of convience. As for French...it really is not the language of the world they want you to think anymore. English is truely the language of government and business nowadays.. (and I know plenty of Europeans that do not speak french. They would rather die than speak french...thats how loved the french are among some Europeans.)
  12. by   Treasure30
    Good afternoon Homicidalnurse,
    The college I attended required a 2nd language for graduation, but that's 1 class. For some people, if they are not using the language, they forget it. My grandson is taking a 2nd language in his 1st grade class.
    Treasure
  13. by   Tweety
    There is so much "patriotic" resistence in this country to teaching our kids a 2nd language, which naturally should be Spanish, "this is America and we speak English" here that people think it's a crazy idea.

    Just because other countries do it doesn't mean we should. However, personally in a global society I think it's a good idea. I think it would provide for a well-rounded education to learn Spanish from a young age as one progresses through school. I've met Danish and Swedish people whose command of the English language both spoken and written would put some Americans to shame.

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