language requirement - page 3

by kvdlr 2,221 Views | 31 Comments

I mean no offense to any particular individual, race, group, or ethnicity. I was just curious how the rest of you feel regarding the language requirement when applying for jobs (i.e. Spanish/English, Chinese/English, etc. is... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from GreyGull
    If you spoke the same language as the patient, would you refuse to talk to them during daily care?

    When you are hired for a job especially in an area that has a large population that speaks something other than English, you can check a box that you are fluent in another language and the you want to be used as an interpreter. You are then given an evaluation for proficiency in that language by either your hospital or an outside agency. For legal translation, especially when it comes to signing documents, a certified staff interpreter is used if available before calling the interpreting service.
    That is what I said - a LEGAL interpreter must be used for legal reasons. Using staff that speak a language - even if you tick a box saying you can - isn't strictly legal in Aus (donno about USA).
    And no, I would not risk my registration for anything. Call me anal but a patient can turn around and say you translated something as wrong, or accuse you of anything and who will know? I think you have to be very careful.
    One nurse I knew was getting a CLEANER who spoke a patient's language, to interpret medical information to the patient!! Do you think this is appropriate? There is NO WAY I would put myself in that situation, even if the interpreter was a nursing staff member - very dangerous practice!
  2. 1
    So if you walked in to a patient's room to ask if they needed help to the bathroom, you'd call the interpreter for that?

    I'm not getting consent for blood or surgery, or doing discharge instructions without an interpreter, but I'll do a basic assessment, ask if they need water, help to the bathroom, etc. I'm not calling an interpreter every time I walk into a patient's room. And for those who are too hard of hearing to use the phone, the interpreter line is a bust anyway.
    PatMac10,RN likes this.
  3. 4
    Quote from GM2RN
    It's only presumptuous if you believe that every single person who is in this country, and who does not speak at least enough English to get around, is too stupid to learn English. But if you believe that non English-speaking people are intelligent, and they have been in this country for any length of time, then they are refusing to learn to speak it.
    You also have to think of why some people came to this country. Many were escaping violence, war and politicial upheaval in their own country. It was either be imprisoned or killed along with their families for their political beliefs or for being at the wrong place at the wrong time or fleeing to a country that might accept them. Are they also too stupid for not becoming proficient in English before they fled for their lives? Many elderly people are also brought to the U.S. by their children who do now speak English so the family can be together. I would not ever tell an 80 y/o how stupid he/she is for not knowing English even after a whole year in this country. You honestly do not know all the reasons why people who speak a different language are in this country. You may just be making an uneducated judgment based on some sensationalized political statement on TV.

    Some on this forum have said they found it difficult to learn another language. Are they stupid if they can not pick up a language they hear often in the hospital and community? The USCIS makes exceptions for not speaking English. There are areas of this country where some are totally among their own language with very little contact with the English speaking world. Ever been to migrant camps where people from the islands or other countries are using for labor in U.S. industries? Some also don't have the resouces to pay $600 for a Rosetta Stone course and a computer. If they live in a large city they might be able to take an adult learning ESL course but even that can be a slow process. Many are stuck with minimum wage jobs because of the language barrier and must work two or three jobs to make expenses which leaves little time for studying. Do you think they don't know they are at a disadvantage by not knowing English? If you have ever tried to pick up another language for a vacation or for a little medical communication, you would know how difficult and awkward it is especially as you get older.

    I dislike intolerance in health care workers because there are so many other situations where communication becomes an issue. What about the hearing impaired? People with CVAs or TBIs who are now are speech impaired? Ventilator and trach patients? Communication is such a huge part of the profession and someone speaking another language is just another barrier or obstacle that the health care provider must be prepared for by knowing their hospital's policies and procedures for it. We shouldn't alienate those who do not speak English for whatever reason.

    You are entitled to your opinions but at no time should it influence how you treat those who need health care. Unfortunately not everyone can put their personal opinions aside and it does directly affect patient care.
  4. 0
    Quote from carolmaccas66
    That is what I said - a LEGAL interpreter must be used for legal reasons. Using staff that speak a language - even if you tick a box saying you can - isn't strictly legal in Aus (donno about USA).
    And no, I would not risk my registration for anything. Call me anal but a patient can turn around and say you translated something as wrong, or accuse you of anything and who will know? I think you have to be very careful.
    One nurse I knew was getting a CLEANER who spoke a patient's language, to interpret medical information to the patient!! Do you think this is appropriate? There is NO WAY I would put myself in that situation, even if the interpreter was a nursing staff member - very dangerous practice!
    You do not have to be an interpreter. That is your choice. However, some of us do feel we can provide those services and do take the proficiency evaluation.

    Many of us do interpret everyday for English speaking patients even though that is our second language. Often it is just assumed we are proficient.
    Last edit by GreyGull on Sep 1, '10
  5. 0
    Quote from GreyGull
    You also have to think of why some people came to this country. Many were escaping violence, war and politicial upheaval in their own country. It was either be imprisoned or killed along with their families for their political beliefs or for being at the wrong place at the wrong time or fleeing to a country that might accept them. Are they also too stupid for not becoming proficient in English before they fled for their lives? Many elderly people are also brought to the U.S. by their children who do now speak English so the family can be together. I would not ever tell an 80 y/o how stupid he/she is for not knowing English even after a whole year in this country. You honestly do not know all the reasons why people who speak a different language are in this country. You may just be making an uneducated judgment based on some sensationalized political statement on TV.

    Some on this forum have said they found it difficult to learn another language. Are they stupid if they can not pick up a language they hear often in the hospital and community? The USCIS makes exceptions for not speaking English. There are areas of this country where some are totally among their own language with very little contact with the English speaking world. Ever been to migrant camps where people from the islands or other countries are using for labor in U.S. industries? Some also don't have the resouces to pay $600 for a Rosetta Stone course and a computer. If they live in a large city they might be able to take an adult learning ESL course but even that can be a slow process. Many are stuck with minimum wage jobs because of the language barrier and must work two or three jobs to make expenses which leaves little time for studying. Do you think they don't know they are at a disadvantage by not knowing English? If you have ever tried to pick up another language for a vacation or for a little medical communication, you would know how difficult and awkward it is especially as you get older.

    I dislike intolerance in health care workers because there are so many other situations where communication becomes an issue. What about the hearing impaired? People with CVAs or TBIs who are now are speech impaired? Ventilator and trach patients? Communication is such a huge part of the profession and someone speaking another language is just another barrier or obstacle that the health care provider must be prepared for by knowing their hospital's policies and procedures for it. We shouldn't alienate those who do not speak English for whatever reason.

    You are entitled to your opinions but at no time should it influence how you treat those who need health care. Unfortunately not everyone can put their personal opinions aside and it does directly affect patient care.


    This post is exactly why I usually stay out of these kinds of discussions. You have read things into my posts that I never said, and have ignored what I did say, as I expected you probably would.
  6. 0
    Quote from GM2RN
    This post is exactly why I usually stay out of these kinds of discussions. You have read things into my posts that I never said, and have ignored what I did say, as I expected you probably would.
    Previous post:

    Quote from GM2RN
    It's only presumptuous if you believe that every single person who is in this country, and who does not speak at least enough English to get around, is too stupid to learn English. But if you believe that non English-speaking people are intelligent, and they have been in this country for any length of time, then they are refusing to learn to speak it.

    This is not the first thread on this topic so I've heard all the arguments; some are too busy, some are too old, English is too difficult, blah, blah, blah. It's all bullcrap! As long as they don't have some mental condition that prevents them from learning, anyone can learn AT LEAST ONE WORD PER DAY!
    What did I miss in your previous post that was "misinterpreted"?

    You imply that non English speaking people are not intelligent if they can not speak English without taking age or any other reasons into consideration. Of course if they aren't intelligent, they are just "refusing". There seems to be no middle ground for you. It is either black or white.

    You can learn one word per day but that does not make you able to communicate in that language. How many have taken a "Spanish for Medical Professionals" class and feel they are qualified to interpret or even converse with someone from Spain, Cuba, Mexico or any of the many South American countries?

    I think your comments show how unwilling you are to learn cultural differences or better yet, you refuse to learn cultural differences or to be tolerant of those who speak a different language than you for whatever reason.

    Even if you don't believe EVERY single person is too stupid, I believe you have made your point quite well.
  7. 0
    Quote from GreyGull
    Previous post:



    What did I miss in your previous post that was "misinterpreted"?

    You imply that non English speaking people are not intelligent if they can not speak English without taking age or any other reasons into consideration. Of course if they aren't intelligent, they are just "refusing". There seems to be no middle ground for you. It is either black or white.

    You can learn one word per day but that does not make you able to communicate in that language. How many have taken a "Spanish for Medical Professionals" and feel they are qualified to interpret or even converse with someone from Spain, Cuba, Mexico or any of the many South American countries.

    I think your comments show how unwilling you are to learn cultural differences or better yet, you refuse to learn cultural differences or to be tolerant of those who speak a different language than you for whatever reason.

    Even if you don't believe EVERY single person is too stupid, I believe you have made your point quite well.

    You need to CAREFULLY re-read my post if you want to know what you misinterpreted. Pay attention to ALL of the words (even the ones with just two and three letters), the sentence structure, and the punctuation. If you do that and still don't get it, then any further explanation from me is futile. If you do get it, then further explanation is unnecessary.
  8. 0
    Quote from GM2RN
    You need to CAREFULLY re-read my post if you want to know what you misinterpreted. Pay attention to ALL of the words (even the ones with just two and three letters), the sentence structure, and the punctuation. If you do that and still don't get it, then any further explanation from me is futile. If you do get it, then further explanation is unnecessary.
    Is this your way of insulting me?

    As I already stated, English is my second language. So yes, please explain what I have misinterpreted.

    For someone to state it is "bullcrap" if an 80 y/o who was brought to this country for reasons other than pleasure to not be fluent in English is a little absurd.
  9. 0
    Quote from GreyGull
    Is this your way of insulting me?

    As I already stated, English is my second language. So yes, please explain what I have misinterpreted.

    For someone to state it is "bullcrap" if an 80 y/o who was brought to this country for reasons other than pleasure to not be fluent in English is a little absurd.

    And you are still putting words into my mouth.

    This is my way of saying that you, like many others do, have chosen to focus on key words of a post and take them out of context, while ignoring the intent, and have built your own scenario based on what you FEEL that was said, rather than trying to understand what was actually said.
  10. 4
    I didn't know that there were so many jobs requiring people to speak a foreign language. I live in an area that has a large Spanish-speaking population and almost all the jobs I've seen only say Spanish is a plus.

    Only a few, those that deal specifically with a Spanish-speaking population require it, and usually it's not a must, it is a very strongly recommended note that you will be expected to learn this language quickly if you take the job.

    I have been a medical interpreter for years, but I do it freelance, and I don't see that it has given me much of an edge in terms of the nursing jobs I really want. Usually they want the best nurse and if you are neck in neck with someone the language skills might give you a little bit of an advantage.

    My experience taking jobs where Spanish is required is that they are so excited about the language that they don't really care about the important skills involved in patient care, and all too often I feel that it is because they know the clientele can't really advocate for themselves so standards are lower.

    But that's just my experience and I have run screaming for the hills from a couple of those jobs.

    I would much rather be hired because of my nursing skills.

    That being said, I once required emergency surgery in a foreign country where not a soul spoke English. I can't imagine how awful it would have been if I didn't speak the language.

    I think that we really do need to provide better language services for non-English speaking patients, whether it be through providing better interpreting services or providing staff with the resources and education to better communicate with paients.
    StarryEyed, RN, PatMac10,RN, kvdlr, and 1 other like this.


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