Communication Discrimination - page 3

Hi Everyone, I have entered a National speaking competition and have chosen a subject that we nurses experience on a daily basis; people being spoken to or treated differently because of the way... Read More

  1. by   nutella
    I have encountered discrimination based on my accent. Sometimes people seem to confuse an accent with "being uneducated" or "incompetent."
    When I was younger, I encountered it more often from families, sometimes patients and also from other nurses.
    I definitely prefer to work in a diverse workplace where I am not the only one with an accent.
  2. by   jaderook01
    Quote from BSNbeDONE
    The thing that angers me the most is describing someone as being confused when the reality is that he or she may simply be hard of hearing. These individuals are not necessarily responding inappropriately, but are responding to what they thought they heard you say.

    Labeling someone as confused in this situation could have a significant impact on prescribed medical treatment and add an unnecessary expense to the patient. We, as nurses, need to take (make) the time for clear communication before entering incorrect findings in the patients' files.
    Or, someone being described/charted as not completely oriented, when the reality is the nurse simply doesn't want to take the time to listen past someone's speech impediment. That happened with a patient recently. I discovered that he was perfectly fine regarding orientation and mental status. Others acted like he was mumbling nonsense. He was very difficult to understand, but once I adjusted my ears, he made perfect sense.
  3. by   Kooky Korky
    Quote from KatieMI
    One so-called "nurse"who practically tortured me every single working shift by making fun out of my English among other things, got a really bad dental job done after I was done in that unit. She ended up with unilateral CN VII motor paralysis and a "high" trache, which left her with a very strange sounding "accent". After we accidentally bumped into each other about a year after all that was going on, she was practically crying on my shoulder, begging for forgiveness.
    Wow, talk about the shoe being on the other foot.

    Were you ever able to just tell her you didn't like her making fun of your English? Surely you didn't just let her get away with torturing you q shift without ever letting her know how she was affecting you.

    Did you forgive her?
  4. by   Kooky Korky
    One thing that has always bothered me is when people at work converse in a different language than the rest of us. Many people, including me, are never quite sure that they aren't saying bad stuff about us.
  5. by   sevensonnets
    I was born and raised in Indiana and have a classic Hoosier accent tempered a bit by having lived in a southern state for years. I speak a little slower than I did as a child. That has never been a problem for me except when I worked in California. We were doing CPR recertification and I was down in the floor with the dummy when the instructor stopped me. She said "You're doooin faaahn but you're frooom the sooouth and you talk tooo sloooow. I wanted to jump up and punch her in the mouth (I did not BTW). Southern people are not from another planet and we are not slow, stupid or uneducated. The south (there's no such thing as the deep south) stretches from Texas to the Carolinas and there are many different accents. There are a few accents in other parts of the country that set my teeth on edge but I would never make fun of or condemn someone else's accent.
  6. by   NurseCard
    Quote from kakamegamama
    TheCommuter---thank you! I had to chuckle when I read your comment about flipping the script. As a Texan who lived in MA for 3 years, I have a few stories I could tell :-). I am curious about accents, but I do try to be respectful when I ask where someone is from. Thanks for the caution on how to ask without offending---never my intent, but I can see how the delivery of questions about origin could be viewed that way.
    Oh my goodness, if I ended up in MA... I would never hear the end of it. As
    much as I try to watch how I speak, the fact is that I have a terrible KY
    accent. Ugh!!!
  7. by   KatieMI
    Quote from Kooky Korky
    Wow, talk about the shoe being on the other foot.

    Were you ever able to just tell her you didn't like her making fun of your English? Surely you didn't just let her get away with torturing you q shift without ever letting her know how she was affecting you.

    Did you forgive her?
    1). I was a new grad, trying to kill everybody and everything with kindness, accept contstructive criticism with grace, never to be defensive, etc., etc. So, no, I never told her (and anybody else there). It took me a year of therapy 3 to 4 days/week to just get to the point of naming things with their proper names, such as "abuse", "harrassment" and "PTSD".
    2). Sorry - that was what I told her. Although it was a pity to see her maimed for life by what was supposed to be ordinary dental procedure.
  8. by   Stepney
    Quote from Kooky Korky
    One thing that has always bothered me is when people at work converse in a different language than the rest of us. Many people, including me, are never quite sure that they aren't saying bad stuff about us.
    Usually they aren't, but this should not be tolerated in the work place. It is quite bad manners. If they are able to speak english to do the job, then they should speak english while on the job. I don't know why some employers permit this (some definitely don't).
  9. by   oldpsychnurse
    I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're looking for, but this is an example of culturally-based communication difficulty. I used to work at one of the state psych hospitals where there were a lot of foreign psychs (primarily from India). Now you have to keep in mind that we're in the South. Well, a common question to ask psych patients is "do you hear voices speaking to you?" Good Southern Baptists, particularly minorities, will always tell you that God speaks to them. When the Indian docs heard that, they immediately assumed there was a psychotic issue in play when, in reality, there was nothing wrong with them. It was to the point that administration had to make a blanket policy that patients were not to be asked about hearing voices. Sad because that's a valid question, but folks were being admitted to the hospital for being Baptist.

    Also, just being from the South is enough for many people (mostly our Northern friends) to decide that we're less intelligent or educated. Very sad misconception.
    Last edit by oldpsychnurse on Mar 15 : Reason: clarification
  10. by   LovingLife123
    Quote from kakamegamama
    OP---I don't know if this fits, but here are my "peeves" about communication.

    1. Please don't assume that just because I have white hair I am hard of hearing.
    2. Please don't call me "Sweetie". "Ma'am" would be okay, or Mrs. Kakamegamama, but please, not "Sweetie". I've never liked hearing older people addressed that way, and don't like it for myself, either. In the Southern United States, it is usually not meant condescendingly, but it usually comes across that way, at least to me.
    3. It's okay that people sound different than we do. Ask for clarification if you think you heard something different than what you planned to hear. It may be a matter of wrong words usage, or perhaps the person you spoke to didn't fully understand your question.
    4. Don't make fun of colloquialisms, especially to the speaker, unless you yourself use those same colloquialisms.

    I call everybody sweetie. Everybody. As do most of my coworkers. Especially when we know the patient is in horrific pain and we are trying to comfort. For me, it's a term of endearment. And it doesn't matter the age.
  11. by   LovingLife123
    I grew up on the east coast and now I live in the Midwest. I get it from all angles now on my accent. Doesn't bother me a bit. I laugh. I figure it's a unique mixture and it certainly makes people's heads turn.

    i like being unique!!
  12. by   Stepney
    Quote from oldpsychnurse
    I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're looking for, but this is an example of culturally-based communication difficulty. I used to work at one of the state psych hospitals where there were a lot of foreign psychs (primarily from India). Now you have to keep in mind that we're in the South. Well, a common question to ask psych patients is "do you hear voices speaking to you?" Good Southern Baptists, particularly minorities, will always tell you that God speaks to them. When the Indian docs heard that, they immediately assumed there was a psychotic issue in play when, in reality, there was nothing wrong with them. It was to the point that administration had to make a blanket policy that patients were not to be asked about hearing voices. Sad because that's a valid question, but folks were being admitted to the hospital for being Baptist.

    Also, just being from the South is enough for many people (mostly our Northern friends) to decide that we're less intelligent or educated. Very sad misconception.
    This is just way too funny. You couldn't have made this up.
  13. by   twinmommy+2
    Quote from TheCommuter
    You hit the nail on the head.

    I am a black female who was born in the US, as were my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so forth. Six or seven generations of my family has been here. I wouldn't even know which countries in Africa my descendants were from due to slavery.

    Anyhow, I have 'proper' speech patterns that stand out like a sore thumb in a region where the majority of people speak with some type of southern drawl. I am often asked, "Where are you from?" or "How did you learn to speak such wonderful English?" or "Where were you born?"

    People also comment, "Your speech and intonation are lovely!" or "You have an accent!" or (I cringe at this one) "You talk like a white person!"

    I understand people are curious or think they are being complimentary. However, I know I have an accent because the latest observer is the thousandth person who has told me. It gets old really quickly.

    Also, the controversially nuanced aspects of speech differences come into play. I suspect none of these people would comment if my speech was stereotypically 'black-sounding.' But since proper English is not commonly associated with certain racial groups, people wonder how I ended up speaking the way I do.
    My husband also is told he isn't black enough because of the way he speaks, by his own family!

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