Cancelling travellers for Foreigners

  1. I am currently on assignment in Pittsburgh where one of the large hospitals has just turned down travelers in lieu of their importation of Phillipino nurses. I am VERY opposed to this for a number of reasons. I ask you, would you prefer a foreigner to a US educated RN fluent in ENGLISH???!?!?!? What an outrage. I don't look for any media support on this, though, since it is not "PC".
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    I work in the midwest and yes, we have travellers in our ED - couldn't get by w/o them for now at least. Have worked out west (Las Vegas) and lots of foreign-trained nurses, both good and bad as with American-trained nurses.

    I have also worked overseas in US military hospitals and they thought I was the greates thing since sliced bread since I could read and write English, but the differences in cultures is what made it so difficult for the US-trained docs. Not really the language problem.

    At any rate - if they read and write English and want to learn - that's all I need.
  4. by   mattsmom81
    I believe most US docs and nurses greatly prefer working with US nurses(or GB or Canadian nurses) as staff or agency, due to the communication factor, if they were honest. It's very politically incorrect to say this though, isn't it.

    Of course if they speak and understand English WELL, there is no problem (other than the issue of foreign recruitment as a bandaid solution to the shortage.)

    But I find many Philipino nurses difficult to understand...so do my docs...and perhaps most important.... the PATIENTS.

    Maybe you should do a poll on this...it would be interesting to see what the Allnurses' group opinion is on this issue.
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Jul 26, '02
  5. by   EricaCCRN
    I have many reasons for being against this practice. I too feel the language barrier poses many safety issues if nothing else. In addition, I believe that management exploits these nurses by holding them at a lower wage & threatening them with deportation if they unioninze or otherwise "make waves" (fill in your own definition.). Now, I see in the Pittsburgh area, they are taking travel positions away from American nurses.

    Now I am sure I will get flamed & labeled a xenophobe so allow me to don my flame retardant teflon suit. That's ok though since I BELIEVE what I am saying and can defend my opinion so bring t on.
  6. by   Brownms46
    Originally posted by EricaCCRN
    [B]. In addition, I believe that management exploits these nurses by holding them at a lower wage & threatening them with deportation if they unioninze or otherwise "make waves" (fill in your own definition.).
    Erica, I'm sorry to hear this has happened to you, and I agree with you about the hospitals exploiting these nurses. They do pay them less, and they usually have to sign a contract for two years. One hospital was even trying to control where one nurse worked on her free time, even though it didn't interfere with her schecule at that hospital. I have worked in several hospitals that brought over Philipino nurses, and most ...in fact ALL the ones I worked with were NEW nurses. They maybe bring over experienced ones too...but I have never run into them in my travels.
  7. by   colleen10
    Now I am sure I will get flamed & labeled a xenophobe so allow me to don my flame retardant teflon suit. That's ok though since I BELIEVE what I am saying and can defend my opinion so bring t on.
    LOL!!!! :chuckle

    My MIL is Hispanic and came to the US from a foreign country when she was an adult, and she will be the first person to tell you, you better know the language - English - if you're going to come here.

    I used to work in Foreign Recruitment of Computer Tech. Professionals. I can say that most of the people that I recruited did not have a mastery of the English Language and I felt it was a real disservice to our clients. But in the end it was all about money. We could get away with paying them a lot less than Americans.
    I'm surprised some Unions haven't jumped on this issue yet.

    I also wanted to add that I agree with you on this issue and at the same time I feel bad for these Foreign nurses. I'm not sure if you are from Pittsburgh or if you have just been working here for a while, but Pittsburgh has a very small % of Minority residents and it is still a very backward town. It is notorious for being a "Good Ole' Boys Network" where it's all who you know. At least in business, IMHO, women have not made any great strides nor have minorities. Middle Age Caucasion Males rule the roost.

    I think it is going to be quite a "Culture shock" for them. Even more so than if they were to move to a city like New York or the West Coast where I think they would have a good support network.

    Sorry, didn't mean to get off the topic, just had to add my two cents.

    But I still agree with you. I think the hospitals are trying to pull a fast one on everyone, Patients included.

    How is it the Unions are not jumping on this?
  8. by   Flo1216
    My hospital is bringing in 70 Filipino nurses in the fall. I would also say about 50% of the nurses in my hospital are Filipino.And the critical care/telemetry units are pretty much all Filipino staffed. They are all BSNS and while they may have a vast amount of medical and technical knowledge, I have noticed that their overall bedside manner sucks. They tend to be very cold and businesslike. Just a general observation I have made. The one thing that bothers me though is that they speak in their own language to each other in front of patients, at the nurses station or when non-Filipino nurses are around. I think it is kind of rude, actually and unprofessional. It makes others feel as though they are talking about them. Sometimes, I am the only non-Filipino on a unit and I feel like I am in another country because I never hear English!
  9. by   Flo1216
    And while we are on the subject of lanuage barriers, about 50-65% of our pts only speak Spanish. I can speak a little but not enough to feel comfortable. When I did my outpatient clinic and OB rotations, I was almost in tears if I didn't have an interpreter because NO ONE spoke English and my instructor would yell at me and tell me to try and get through it. Easy for her to say...she spoke Spanish. What was I supposed to do? Make it up as I went along and hope I was close? Puh-lease. It was so frustrating. And I had a pt once tell me via interpreter that if you can't speak Spanish, then you shouldn't work in the medical profession! Hey, I think it is great to be bilingual and I am trying to improve my Spanish but I think the U.S. makes it too easy for hispanics to not have to learn English but it makes it very hard for health care workers and can also be dangerous. To REQUIRE that all health care workers speak Spanish is unfair. If someone comes from Russia or Poland, they would have to learn English to function. If I were to move to a foreign county I would have to learn the language there in order to function. It's not about abandoning one's culture...its about learning to function in another culture while keeping your own alive. But I guess that is not politically correct for me to say that.
  10. by   mattsmom81
    We're not being PC but we're VENTING and it's OK, IMO.

    The cultural differences combined with poor English skills make for interesting shifts on the job as a charge nurse (not). I also believe management values them for their pliancy...most are passive and do whatever management asks out of fear of deportation, I agree. And management rewards this pliancy, often by working them on shifts together so they can carpool, etc. It's not great for staff morale.

    I have worked with a number of these imports and bottom line as charge nurse I get yelled at when they offend a doc, a patient or screw up because of a language or cultural faux pas. It's one of the reasons I don't think I'll do charge again (if I ever get back to hospital nursing.) I'm tired of all the problems and being responsible for others, and this is just one more problem, in my book, for a charge nurse.

    If I make it back, I will do my own thing in ICU...maybe go agency again....and REFUSE charge. Instant lowering of the stress levels of a nurse!! LOL! :roll
  11. by   colleen10
    To REQUIRE that all health care workers speak Spanish is unfair.
    I think if you work in the US it is unfair to MAKE you speak ANY other language aside from English.

    America is the "melting pot" and the reason we speak English is to have one common language so that no matter where in the world you come from - everyone is on the same page and can understand each other.

    If do feel bad for those patients or their families who cannot speak English and are unable to understand us when they are in emergency situations but the hospital should have an interpreter or some other way to handle it.

    There was another post where someone said that in Texas, I believe, they were making the BSN's take 2 years of Spanish. I have taken two years of Spanish and I still can't understand it nor speak a lick of it. So, I think in the end it really isn't going to help anyway. Also, my husband and all of his family in the US speak Spanish as a second language and many times when he tries to communicate with his family in South America, they can't understand him because he has a different dialect.

    So, I really don't see how this is going to help. Just another way the hospitals are trying to save money by not hiring an interpreter.
  12. by   ANnot4me
    I have worked with a lot of foreign nurses: Fillipino, Irish, Thai, English, Korean... and a lot more. In their defense, Fillipino nurses are educated in English (meaning their books and lectures are in English).

    What I don't like is that these nurses have a visa sponsored by their employer, so if they quit, get fired that visa is no longer valid. Now that's power. You can only imagine what some of these places threaten these nurses with...

    As far as pay, in a union hospital they get payed whatever anyone else with their experience gets paid. Sometimes they even get subsidized housing.

    I think it is wrong because it is not dealing with the issue at hand: working conditions and it is a way to allow the hospitals to continue their abuse of nurses. I have said this a thousand times and I will probably say it a thousand more, we don't import teachers and they make sure of that.

    My boss is currently in New Zealand and Australia on a recruitment trip.
  13. by   colleen10
    I have said this a thousand times and I will probably say it a thousand more, we don't import teachers and they make sure of that.
    - chigap

    Hi Chigap,

    I don't understand what you mean here. Could you explain?

    Do you mean we don't recruit foreign Nursing Instructors?

    Col
  14. by   mattsmom81
    i think she means the NEA prohibits importation of teachers as a bandaid solution to the 'teacher's shortage'.....and the nursing organizations should do the SAME for NURSES!

    I totally agree...but it won't happen til nurses can unite like teachers do.....

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