Is it professional?????????? - page 2

I work in a LTC where 90% of the nurses (including the ADON) are foreign graduates (and from the same country, actually not only nurses....the PT/OTs, dieticians and kitchen aids, laundry aids and... Read More

  1. by   blueheaven
    Quote from kellykul
    We had a situation at work where a spanish speaking nurse was speaking with the secretary who also speaks spanish. She was talking about another nurse and called her a fat a** in spanish. Little did she know that this particular nurse was fluent in spanish. So, unprofessional, you bet. Depending on who is doing it I may but into their conversations as a joke. I don't think anything is going to change.
    LOL I had a similar situation that happened to me. The two people were talking about me and had NO CLUE that I could understand everything they said. The look on their faces when I quoted them verbatim.......priceless!!Not every caucasian, appalachian-american only speaks english!!!!
  2. by   jjjoy
    I'm not saying it's the best practice, but imagine if you were working in, say, China and most of your colleagues were Americans. You could speak to each other in less than perfect Chinese but you'd have to slow down to put together your sentences and search for the right words since it's not your native tongue. Also, you and your colleague's Chinese likely contain similar non-native mistakes, so you'd be reinforcing these mistakes. Someone asks you "How was your weekend?" in English. Think quick - do you respond in English or Chinese?

    In general, it's rude for anyone to be socially chatting at the nurse's station or when working with patients, in any language. They should be using their break time to catch up. If the tone of the communication seems to be secretive or putting others down and laughing at others, that is rude in any language. There's no reason to assume that if people are speaking in another language that they are talking about you or lauging at you. However, if the dynamics at your workplace are such that those particular staff members tend to be rude and sarcastic and disrespectful towards you, then it's more than a problem of them not speaking English with you.

    If your colleagues are professional and polite, they would respect your or management's request that they only speak English on the job. If they don't, it's less about the language being spoken and more about the personalities of the particular people at that facility.
  3. by   IMustBeCrazy
    Quote from starbin
    And the employee handbook from my facility clearly says the official language is english.
    If your institution handbook requires English to be spoken while at work, then you have the basis for a complaint. They are not communicating with a patient, they are communicating with each other. This can be construed as a hostile work atmosphere. Had this not been in writing, then I don't know that there would have been anything you could have done about it. But it is, and as such, they are going against policy. I would submit a complaint to both your nurse manager and to HR.
  4. by   IMustBeCrazy
    Quote from jjjoy
    I'm not saying it's the best practice, but imagine if you were working in, say, China and most of your colleagues were Americans. You could speak to each other in less than perfect Chinese but you'd have to slow down to put together your sentences and search for the right words since it's not your native tongue. Also, you and your colleague's Chinese likely contain similar non-native mistakes, so you'd be reinforcing these mistakes. Someone asks you "How was your weekend?" in English. Think quick - do you respond in English or Chinese?
    If I wanted to comply with institutional policy and keep my job, I would make an effort to speak in the language required by the institution. This is what was agreed to when they accepted the position. Non-native English speakers have non-work time to communicate in their native tongue.

    It also begs the question, if they are that uncomfortable speaking in English, then why are they accepting jobs where fluency in English is a requirement?
  5. by   jjjoy
    Quote from IMustBeCrazy
    It also begs the question, if they are that uncomfortable speaking in English, then why are they accepting jobs where fluency in English is a requirement?
    That's an easy one. They CAN speak English and it pays well comparative to what other opportunities they may have. With that money, they can take better care of their families and give their children a better chance in life.

    If you were offered, say, $180,000 to work for a year in a part of Ireland where the accent was so different from what you're used to that you can barely understand some people, would you take it? It's not a foreign language. Still, communication wouldn't be easy, at least not for awhile. And if you were talking to another American, would you use the local accent or would you tend to revert back to "American English"?

    Again, I do think health personnel working in a English-speaking facility should use English while on the job. In the OP's case, the management should enforce their policy that English is the language for work. I'm just throwing in there some perspective on why some might tend to use their native language instead of English, and that the motives can be innocent, and not always just because someone is "too lazy" to learn or speak English.
    Last edit by jjjoy on Mar 1, '07
  6. by   Bridget O'Malley
    Just wondering, would you find it equally rude if English-speaking co-workers carried on conversations about a subject or event of which you had no knowledge, for example talking repeatedly about a TV show or sporting event you didn't watch?

    Are you bothered because you think they're always talking about you, because you feel left out of a conversation in which you would like to contribute, or does the chatter alone just bother you?

    I know occasionally the females at work repeatedly talk about specific female concerns, or sometimes parents will talk on and on about their kids-leaving the childless secretary totally out of the conversation.

    Also continuous chitchat about things can be distracting when you're trying to concentrate on charting or keeping all your tasks and patient care in mind.

    I would think carefully about this before I would file a complaint. I nver assume my Hispanic co-workers are talking about me. It's rather egotistical to assume that they are, despite the above posts in which a few have been caught.
  7. by   carolinapooh
    Quote from jjjoy

    If you were offered, say, $180,000 to work for a year in a part of Ireland where the accent was so different from what you're used to that you can barely understand some people, would you take it? It's not a foreign language. Still, communication wouldn't be easy, at least not for awhile. And if you were talking to another American, would you use the local accent or would you tend to revert back to "American English"?
    I hope you mean vernacular and not accent.
  8. by   starbin
    Quote from Bridget O'Malley
    Just wondering, would you find it equally rude if English-speaking co-workers carried on conversations about a subject or event of which you had no knowledge, for example talking repeatedly about a TV show or sporting event you didn't watch?

    Are you bothered because you think they're always talking about you, because you feel left out of a conversation in which you would like to contribute, or does the chatter alone just bother you?

    I know occasionally the females at work repeatedly talk about specific female concerns, or sometimes parents will talk on and on about their kids-leaving the childless secretary totally out of the conversation.

    Also continuous chitchat about things can be distracting when you're trying to concentrate on charting or keeping all your tasks and patient care in mind.

    I would think carefully about this before I would file a complaint. I nver assume my Hispanic co-workers are talking about me. It's rather egotistical to assume that they are, despite the above posts in which a few have been caught.
    I don't assume that they are talking about me and it doesn't bother me even if they talk about me.....but it is just unacceptable ..........
  9. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    My first job out of nursing school, most of the nurses were from (probably) the same foreign country the OP describes.

    They not only talked to each other in their native tongue even when others (including patients and family members) were around, they gave report that way!! When I protested, they ignored me.

    It's a small part of why I did not stay.

    I do believe that it is a cultural difference, but there is (or at least was) a saying, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Maybe they don't have that saying there.

    I think to get good care the team really needs to pick a language they can all understand. What people do on their own time is their own business, but not at work.

    I also think that patients and their families get especially anxious when they are cared for by people from somewhere else (xenophobia), but it is not for the patients and families to change, it is for the caregivers to recognize the culture of the consumer and respect it.

    Sorry for the soapboxing--one of my pet peeves.

    Back to the original question, yes, IMHO it is unprofessional and rude.
  10. by   Balder_LPN
    How about speaking with your DON about the issue. If they agree then at the next couple of inservices discuss the issue as a group. The DON, you, and whoever else agrees w/ you can guide the discussion so that it is clear to everyone that speaking in a foreign language is often construed as rude/unprofessional to coworkers/patients and that it shold be discouraged and minimized. No official policies, no handslaps, just communicate the issues and work on obtaining the desired behavior.
  11. by   jjjoy
    Quote from carolinapooh
    I hope you mean vernacular and not accent.
    vernacular and accent. I'm sure in the UK, the locals quickly know I'm American because of my American accent. When I speak another language, I speak with an American accent. Among Americans, I have a certain local accent.

    I personally interpret the word accent to mean a differing pronunciation to what a particular person or group of people is accustomed to. To my ears, Brits speak with an accent. To their ears, I speak with an accent.
    Last edit by jjjoy on Mar 1, '07
  12. by   NurseguyFL
    Quote from meownsmile
    Their own language in their own home if thats what they prefer, however they are in someone elses home (your patients) and they need to be speaking whatever it is your patients are speaking. It goes beyond rude, its disrespectful to their patients considering the age and history of the people they are supposed to be caring for.

    I agree. If you go to live and work in other countries they require that you learn their language and live according to their rules. The US is probably the only country where people can come to, for the most part, do whatever they please, and call it 'culture'. Does anyone remember the case in Florida where one lady sued the DMV because they refused to photograph her for a driver's license with her head completely wrapped in a turban, exposing only her eyes? I don't believe in disrespecting other people's culture, but come on now...

    I wouldn't call this unprofessional, though. Maybe these individuals at the OP's job don't even consider the behavior to be rude because they don't see anything wrong with it and no one has said anything to them about it to make them think otherwise.
  13. by   jjjoy
    Quote from NurseguyFL
    If you go to live and work in other countries they require that you learn their language and live according to their rules.
    In a number of non-English-speaking countries, they've got forms in English and they've got a number of local people who speak English fluently who can help you out as you apply for work visas, file your tax forms, open a bank account, etc.

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