Do you get extra work cause your bilingual? - page 3

I always have to deal with my patients, +plus other nurses patients because most of our patients are spanish speaking. This gives me extra work and puts me behind. It takes away from time I could be... Read More

  1. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from Tweety
    What if prior to learning English your grandparents were in a car wreck and hospitalized? It's admirable when immigrants learn to speakk English and perhaps it should be required. My German mother learned it prior to moving here and is now so proficient her accent has disappeared.

    The patients I see are in construction accidents, and accidents out in the field and flown in. They work in the hot sun digging ditches, building buildings and roads, and picking fruit, etc. doing backbreaking work and I'm going to judge them with a "you're in America, learn English" attitude??

    Not me. I'm going to do my best to get them through the injuries.

    This is not to say I don't expect immigrants to learn English. I get frustrated with the expectation that we learn Spanish, that we teach their kids in Spanish, that we have driver's exams in Spanish, etc. etc.

    But when they are in the hospital, it's not time for me to judge them for not knowing English by making it difficult for them or myself.
    I worked in a hospital six miles from the US/Mexico border. I did take care of non-english speakers who'd been in car accidents- I worked surgical. Just like you, I gave them the best care I could. Just because I am highly annoyed by long term non-english speakers does not mean I am going to provide a different level of care for them. It was rather rude of you to have implied as much.

    Do you think I told them that they had just better stop bleeding, and to come back after they learned english?


    I have the right to express my frustrations, and I stand by my statements.


    These pts didn't just come across the border and immediately get into a car accident.
    Most of them were older, and had been in the US for decades and never learned to speak english.
    Many others were injured while commiting crimes and fleeing from police.

    I resent people who come to the US, and make no effort to learn english, pay taxes, pay their health care bills, or apply for legal citizenship.
    I have cared for some pts who do make an effort, and I am appreciative of that.

    For those who just can't be bothered, even for the sake of themselves and their familes, I find it contemptable.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Oct 24, '07
  2. by   ElvishDNP
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    I resent people who come to the US, and make no effort to learn english, pay taxes, pay their health care bills, or apply for legal citizenship.
    Do you know exactly how hard it is for people from Latin America to 'apply for legal citizenshp'? It is not an easy, short, nor cheap process, and it is much different than the one my ancestors who came here from Germany went through at Ellis Island.

    My husband came here illegally from Mexico (and this is not a secret - we have filed paperwork with ICE) and more than five years after being married to me - a US citizen - he is still considered an illegal immigrant. If it is that hard for him - who is married to me, owns property, has paid his taxes, and speaks English, and has never used one cent of your tax dollars - can you put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn't have any of those advantages? Can you? Will you?

    I'm not asking anyone here to be a bleeding heart or to agree with me. But conversely, do not attempt to judge these people for doing what for them, in their situation, may be the best (or only) option available.

    To the OP - I am bilingual. And I do get pulled to interpret sometimes, but it is usually only in an emergency that I drop what I'm doing to interpret. And it's only on my unit. If it's not emergent and someone asks me to interpret for them, I tell them, "If you'll go do XYZ for me, that would give me time to go talk to your patient." If they can't do that, I don't go interpret. Usually the message gets across.

    We do get bilingual pay at our facility after passing an oral & written exam, but I haven't done it simply because I don't feel like taking the test.

    My personal feeling is this: people do need to make an effort to learn English. But how do I know that they are not making their best effort to do just that? And is being in the hospital the time for me to tell them they should learn English, since they are, after all, on my turf?

    Tell that to the Cherokees.
  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from Arwen_U
    Do you know exactly how hard it is for people from Latin America to 'apply for legal citizenshp'? It is not an easy, short, nor cheap process, and it is much different than the one my ancestors who came here from Germany went through at Ellis Island.

    My husband came here illegally from Mexico (and this is not a secret - we have filed paperwork with ICE) and more than five years after being married to me - a US citizen - he is still considered an illegal immigrant. If it is that hard for him - who is married to me, owns property, has paid his taxes, and speaks English, and has never used one cent of your tax dollars - can you put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn't have any of those advantages? Can you? Will you?
    As I said, I am not talking about people who make an effort. You say your husband speaks english, pays taxes, etc. Then why are you offended? I'm not talking about him. If you said you didn't like nurses with blue hair- I certainly wouldn't get defensive about it- because you would not be reffering to my situation, just as I was not reffering to yours. Your knee-jerk reaction does not take into account what I actually said.

    Speaking of Cherokees- ask them happens to nations which do not secure their borders.
  4. by   smk1
    I took spanish for 4 years in highschool and took 1 year in college. I am in no way shape or form competent or even basically adequate to translate spanish ESCPECIALLY in a medical setting. Basic complaints I could figure out if they are speaking clearly and not in slang. In areas with high populations of clients who speak different languages there should be translators readily available. To do anything else is irresponsible and unsafe.
  5. by   Lovely_RN
    Exactly!

    Where I live there are tons of immigrants from every corner of the globe.

    Most of them are from Latin America but there are also many immigrants from Asia and Africa and other places. Good luck trying to keep up with everyone and all of those languages. I'm not going to learn Spanish because I am not going to learn Ibo, Twi, Mandarin, Albanian, Hindi and so on and so on.

    Quote from traumaRUs
    Medical-legalwise, the hospital should be investing in plug-in phones with speakers so that trained translators can do the translating. It should never, ever fall to the families, staff, etc to translate. There is too much on the line.

    That said, at one hospital where I worked, we had portable plug-in phones with speakers, we called a phone number, told them what language we wanted, charted the translator's number and away we went. These translators had anywhere from 1-4 years of education in medical language plus they were native speakers. This service also provided a written transcription upon request.

    This is the way to go, IMHO.
  6. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    It's not a bad idea to learn a second or third language, but i don't agree with it being a requirement.
  7. by   FUNNYGIRLRN
    I think that as nurses we have a responsability to help any patient that presents to us to the best of our abilities at any time. IF that means having to find someone or a phone to help interpret what my patient is saying and that puts me behind then so be it.

    However I do have a problem with this statement:

    "Do you know exactly how hard it is for people from Latin America to 'apply for legal citizenshp'? It is not an easy, short, nor cheap process, and it is much different than the one my ancestors who came here from Germany went through at Ellis Island. "

    Who cares how hard it is? Laws are laws and anyone breaking them is in the wrong. So what that your husband "acts like a good citizen" he isn't one. Its a rule that I have to go through nursing school to be a nurse. What if I decided nursing school is to difficult, and expensive and drop out but I start working as a nurse illegally but am really good and help a lot of people does that matter? I think not. I do not have a problem caring for non-english speaking patients but I do have a problem with people who come in to the country illegally.
  8. by   ElvishDNP
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    As I said, I am not talking about people who make an effort. You say your husband speaks english, pays taxes, etc. Then why are you offended? I'm not talking about him. If you said you didn't like nurses with blue hair- I certainly wouldn't get defensive about it- because you would not be reffering to my situation, just as I was not reffering to yours. Your knee-jerk reaction does not take into account what I actually said.
    I did indeed read what you said. My question was, if it is this difficult for my husband, what do you think it's like for someone who's not married to a US citizen, may be making an effort to learn English but doesn't have the live-in teacher, doesn't have help come tax time, or any number of other advantages?

    I will admit that I did have a knee-jerk reaction; however, I still stand by the content of the post, if not the tone.

    Funnygirl, you don't know my husband and I really don't appreciate what you said about him. And I hope you never, ever drive over the speed limit.

    I am bowing out of this thread because there is nothing good that's going to come out of it, I fear.
  9. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    Here's what you do:

    At the next meeting, bring up your frustrations and concerns to your co-workers
    I agree with that part of your comment....I think the OP SHOULD bring it up at the next staff meeting. But go prepared. Do your own research first and be able to not only present the problem, but some solutions. Present college courses that are being offerred in the near future, and even see if you can make contact with some of your local colleges/schools and ask if they would be willing to possibly do a class for staff at your facility. Look into feasibility (costs). That way you might actually be able to generate some talk at the meeting about making this happen, suggesting to the management that maybe some staff should be financially supported to take these classes on their own time, or if all else fails maybe staff themselves may be interested in doing it on their own. Leave some papers up on the bulletin board about what schools offer Medical Spanish courses and when.

    It sounds like alot of work, but it might get you out of being the translater every shift. And hey, your staff might just thank you for it in the end.
  10. by   CyndieRN2007
    Just to clarify....I work in a beef processing plant...I am an OHN. 90% of the employee population that I care for is SPANISH SPEAKING only. I have to translate EVERYTHING because the other nurse that works with me (on my shift) doesnt speak spanish. Its frustrating because when she calls for a translator (which isnt a bonifide paid translater, just a supervisor that is biling. as well), they get upset because they were called from THEIR job and IM RIGHT THERE WITH HER. So, most of the time i have to stop my assessment, or charting, or break or whatever to translate. Most of the patients come directly to me because I speak spanish. I hate to tell them, ummm the other nurse can help you......but she'll just end up asking me to translate anyway!!! LOL. Its hard.
  11. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from CyndieRN2007
    Just to clarify....I work in a beef processing plant...I am an OHN. 90% of the employee population that I care for is SPANISH SPEAKING only. I have to translate EVERYTHING because the other nurse that works with me (on my shift) doesnt speak spanish. Its frustrating because when she calls for a translator (which isnt a bonifide paid translater, just a supervisor that is biling. as well), they get upset because they were called from THEIR job and IM RIGHT THERE WITH HER. So, most of the time i have to stop my assessment, or charting, or break or whatever to translate. Most of the patients come directly to me because I speak spanish. I hate to tell them, ummm the other nurse can help you......but she'll just end up asking me to translate anyway!!! LOL. Its hard.
    I know next to nothing about occupational health nursing, but it seems to me that the division of labor where you work is seriously misaligned. Have you spoken candidly with your supervisor? Is it possible to somehow divide the work so that you handle those tasks that are most dependent on direct communication with the workers and your colleague handles more of those tasks which can be done without that level of interaction?

    I'm really surprised that your plant would hire someone who isn't bilingual, given the demographics of their workforce. I'd say that you are definitely getting short shrift.
  12. by   fins
    I can sympathize. My wife speaks fluent Spanish, and she's a social worker. When she took her last job, the salary was X. She tried to negotiate a slightly higher salary, based on her bilingual skills. They turned her down, stating that her language skills wouldn't be needed in the job, so they couldn't justify a higher salary.

    Cut to a few months later. One of the other social workers who spoke no Spanish had a client who spoke no English. When she approached the supervisor about getting a translator, she was told "Mrs. fins speaks fluent Spanish, she can translate for you." My wife, in a much more pleasant way then I could have ever pulled off, told them in essence "you had a chance to purchase my Spanish skills, and you declined. Therefore, in this office, I don't speak any Spanish." In the course of the year, they spent more on translators than my wife had asked for in increased salary.

    I guess my point is this. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses, and everybody pitches in. I'm a large man, so I get asked to help with lifts fairly often. That's fine, as long as the people doing the asking give me a hand every now and then. But if somebody tried to make me her own private lift team, I would have to draw the line.

    So to the OP, if people are asking you for a quick phrase or two, on your unit, then sure - and maybe they'll start an IV, or put in a foley for you sometime. On the other hand, if you're being asked to do admission histories, or being pulled off your unit, then it's time to draw the line. Especially if you're being pulled off your unit, because that's not only putting you behind, it's a problem for the nurses who have to look after your patients while you're gone.

    To the CNA who gets called into his hospital to translate - you're being played for a sucker. Try to find out what translators get paid - I guarantee that it's more than what you get paid. Hey if you're already at work, no big deal - it gets you out of answering call bells for a while. But to get called in off your shift, and then to get paid your regular wage - that's BS. You should either decline to answer your phone, or tell them that if you get called in off your shift you're a translator, not a CNA, and will charge accordingly. They'll decline of course. But just maybe you can get something extra - you should at least get on call pay. Otherwise - "sorry, I just didn't hear my phone ring."
  13. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from FUNNYGIRLRN
    I think that as nurses we have a responsability to help any patient that presents to us to the best of our abilities at any time. IF that means having to find someone or a phone to help interpret what my patient is saying and that puts me behind then so be it.

    However I do have a problem with this statement:

    "Do you know exactly how hard it is for people from Latin America to 'apply for legal citizenshp'? It is not an easy, short, nor cheap process, and it is much different than the one my ancestors who came here from Germany went through at Ellis Island. "

    Who cares how hard it is? Laws are laws and anyone breaking them is in the wrong. So what that your husband "acts like a good citizen" he isn't one. Its a rule that I have to go through nursing school to be a nurse. What if I decided nursing school is to difficult, and expensive and drop out but I start working as a nurse illegally but am really good and help a lot of people does that matter? I think not. I do not have a problem caring for non-english speaking patients but I do have a problem with people who come in to the country illegally.
    Excellent, excellent post.

    BTW- I am a traveler and am constantly going to all different places, and caring for pts who speak all different languages. Many facilities where I've worked have no service in place for translations.

    I regularly use www.freetranslation.com it is an great resource.
    My last contract, I had two pts who spoke only mandarin chinese. Freetranslation.com was a lifesafer with these pts.

    I recently worked with a CNA who came to the US from Poland three years ago. She moved to a polish community in Michigan. She told me she purposely decided to move away from the community, so that she could better learn english, American culture, etc. I laughed when she told me "I can't expect everyone in the US to speak polish just because I moved here."
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Oct 25, '07

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