Do you get extra work cause your bilingual? - page 5

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   pagandeva2000
    I had a patient today who spoke fluent Spanish, and I had to (again) call an interpeter. This time, it took over 20 minutes to get someone on the line that was able to help me. I went over all of the medications, dosages, possible side effects, times and what they were for. Must have been at least 12 meds. After I went through all of them, the patient then asked if I can write them down. I asked the interpeter if there was someone at his home or a neighbor that would be able to read it for him or to re-write it for him in Spanish, and the guy tells the interpeter that I should be able to write it down for him in Spanish. Now, come on...sorry...that PISSED ME OFF.
  2. by   truern
    Whew!! What a hot topic!!

    Babblefish.com

    Works great when you just don't know the language
  3. by   WindyhillBSN
    I am also bi-lingual, my first language is English. It took 2 years of work and embarrasment to learn Spanish, and after 7 years I'm still learning. Translating is a big responsibility and a skill. I don't mind doing it, but I think I and others who are bi-lingual should get paid for what we do. It's just not fair.
  4. by   jojotoo
    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?

    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.



    Yes, a century ago the immigration process was easier. If it's harder now for Spanish speaking immigrants, it's also harder for English speaking immigrants.

    Your husband is considered an illegal alien - because he is! That's by your own words. I'm sure you love him very much. As do the spouses and children of other illegal aliens. I too married a national of another country. But instead of him coming here, I went to live in his country. And I had to jump through a whole bunch of hoops to be a legal resident there.

    And as far as the Cherokees. They didn't speak English and they were displaced by another culture. The Cherokee Nation were not the first people on this land mass. I wonder who THEY displaced, and what language those people spoke. (And I am of mixed heritage - partly Cherokee.)
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from crux1024
    im surprised at the "anger" and lack of compassion for people that dont speak english. while i agree they should try and learn, if it hasnt been achieved, yes people that speak all languages should try and be accomodated, so that way informed decisions can be made and so forth.
    .
    so you think i should learn to speak spanish to talk to my non-english speaking patients who have been in this country for 49 years and still haven't learned to speak english. (my spanish-speaking mother-in-law brags that she never has to speak english -- she just goes to the mexican market, the puerto rican dry cleaner, the cuban physician and the nicaraguan dentist. she does speak english -- when it's important enough to her!)

    should i also learn to speak ukrainian for the little old man who had an mi while visiting his son who lives here? korean for the lady with the pe in the next bed? mandarin for the man in 2a or cantonese for the woman in the next bed? (someone put them in the same room because "they both speak chinese.") should i learn to speak german for the cleaning lady who understands english but cannot speak it? tagolog so i can communicate with the lab personnel who don't seem to speak english? iranian for the physician whose english is so poor we sometimes have to get his nurse to translate?

    where do we draw the line?

    i'm finding that it's only the spanish-speakers who expect us to accomodate them, and perhaps they need to learn to speak the language of the country they've chosen to live in.
  6. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I find it refreshing that many posters here are expressing their real feelings- and not being nauseatingly PC and phony, like so many people seem to be now days. There is nothing wrong with expecting every capable adult to take some personal responsiblity for themselves and their families. No one likes to deal with people who show no initiative and have a sense of entitlement.

    Well, I suspect this thread will be closed soon.
  7. by   pagandeva2000
    This has also been a hot topic on CNN, where they recently had several shows about situations such as this; people speaking Spanish and never taking the initiative to speak English.

    As health care providers, this is a MAJOR challenge with the additional other burdens we have. I do go out of my way to try and get the telephone interpeters, or a live person (which is EVEN HARDER to obtain). However, I have to vent and say that this is very overwhelming to me. I have to wrestle with my conscience daily, because I wonder if my annoyance was clearly demonstrated by my non-verbal communication. I have seen some of them bring in school aged children to our clinic to interpet for them. How much of a burden is this to their kids, who have to miss school each time their loved one has to see the doctor? What if the family member has to be admitted to the ER? How will this child be accomodated?

    Many of the Spanish speaking nurses are also highly frustrated by being called from their own work to help us, and few nurses go and do them a favor by helping them. I remember once, a Spanish clerk told a patient in Spanish to learn English. Sure, I grant you, that comment was highly inappropriate, but, I can understand how they feel as well.

    I can appreciate a nurse that is venting here. What this shows me is that we are frustrated because these situations are clearly not always within our control, even under the best of circumstances. Most of us wish we can do more, but are limited. Mandating us who live here to learn Spanish is not the answer, either. It takes a great deal of time to actually master a language efficent enough to meet the high demands of our already stressful jobs? Why should I, who lived here all of my life suddenly be made to speak another language at the age of 43 or worry about losing the job I worked so hard to remain at?

    We HAVE to place some of the responsibility on the patient. If they wish to function here safely, they should make an attempt to learn the language. We CANNOT do everything for them.
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from ruby vee
    i'm finding that it's only the spanish-speakers who expect us to accomodate them, and perhaps they need to learn to speak the language of the country they've chosen to live in.

    historically the first wave of immigrants into a country do not learn to speak english; they tended to stay within their own communities so they can maintain their own cultural traditions, speak their native language etc. they chose not to learn the language or even the customs of this country. despite the assurances of so many on this board that their ancestors bucked the trend and did everything possible to assimilate and learn the language, that was not always the case thus communities like little italy, chinatown, germantown, little poland etc. it's usually the second generation who become more "american" and there is no reason to think that it will not happen with recent hispanic immigrants.
  9. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from pagandeva2000
    This has also been a hot topic on CNN, where they recently had several shows about situations such as this; people speaking Spanish and never taking the initiative to speak English.

    As health care providers, this is a MAJOR challenge with the additional other burdens we have. I do go out of my way to try and get the telephone interpeters, or a live person (which is EVEN HARDER to obtain). However, I have to vent and say that this is very overwhelming to me. I have to wrestle with my conscience daily, because I wonder if my annoyance was clearly demonstrated by my non-verbal communication. I have seen some of them bring in school aged children to our clinic to interpet for them. How much of a burden is this to their kids, who have to miss school each time their loved one has to see the doctor? What if the family member has to be admitted to the ER? How will this child be accomodated?

    Many of the Spanish speaking nurses are also highly frustrated by being called from their own work to help us, and few nurses go and do them a favor by helping them. I remember once, a Spanish clerk told a patient in Spanish to learn English. Sure, I grant you, that comment was highly inappropriate, but, I can understand how they feel as well.

    I can appreciate a nurse that is venting here. What this shows me is that we are frustrated because these situations are clearly not always within our control, even under the best of circumstances. Most of us wish we can do more, but are limited. Mandating us who live here to learn Spanish is not the answer, either. It takes a great deal of time to actually master a language efficent enough to meet the high demands of our already stressful jobs? Why should I, who lived here all of my life suddenly be made to speak another language at the age of 43 or worry about losing the job I worked so hard to remain at?

    We HAVE to place some of the responsibility on the patient. If they wish to function here safely, they should make an attempt to learn the language. We CANNOT do everything for them.
    Thanks for your post. I think you said what I was trying to say all along- only you said it better.
  10. by   VivaRN
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    Historically the first wave of immigrants into a country do not learn to speak English; they tended to stay within their own communities so they can maintain their own cultural traditions, speak their native language etc. They CHOSE not to learn the language or even the customs of this country. Despite the assurances of so many on this board that their ancestors bucked the trend and did everything possible to assimilate and learn the language, that was not always the case thus communities like little Italy, Chinatown, Germantown, little Poland etc. It's usually the second generation who become more "American" and there is no reason to think that it will not happen with recent Hispanic immigrants.
    I agree. The children DO learn english and often attempt to translate for older family members. Unfortunately the children are also assimilating our diet and becoming obese... but that's another story. What we are experiencing now is a recurrent historical theme.

    Spanish-speaking people are people too.
  11. by   MA Nurse
    Quote from CyndieRN2007
    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 charting and dealing with my own work I could be doing.

    Due to the demograhics of the population were I work, I think it should be mandatory for the nurses to take at least a medical spanish class. I dont want to open the can of worms of immigration/non english speaking people. Im just venting. Thanks for listening.
    I understand your dilemma, but I also understand the non-Spanish speaking nurse's dilemma. Sometimes if I try to speak some Spanish, I'm looked at like I'm from a different planet...so I'm never sure if they understand me or not. I know you didn't want to open a can of worms, but I know if the Spanish speaking nurse is too busy, the person needs to get a translator...it is the Spanish speaking people that need to learn English, IMO, not us that need to learn Spanish. If I went to another country, I would learn the language.
  12. by   Nurse Lulu
    I work in MI in a very diverse community. We have TONS of arabic people (the most outside the middle east) as well as spanish, polish, german, italian, and probably more. We get by because a lot o staff are bilingual or at least know a little, we have a list of people in the computer for all shifts, as well as boards and even a "blue" phone where we can access interpreters and TDD (for the deaf) and request sign language interpreters. (Also the people in the computer volunteer to do this, they are not forced) Maybe you shouldn't be frustrated with the other nurses, but be upset that you don't have the resources from the hospital. Sorry you are upset CAT
  13. by   nrsbetsy
    The hispanic population is quickly becoming the largest minority in the United States! I don't think it would hurt anyone to make an effort and learn a few basics. If you were to visit any latin country in the world you wil see they all make an effort to learn some basic english. The end result is to be able to communicate with your patient so that you can give them the proper care that they need.

close