Nurse utilized as translator

  1. Is there any bilingual nurses in this forum experiencing this dilema. Would appreciate any input or suggestions regarding this matter. Should translation come before nursing duties? For example: if a bilingual nurse is giving an injection or in the middle of any other nursing duties and a
    transltor is needed, should she have to drop her nursing duties and allow another nurse to complete her task for the sake of
    tranlation. Should a bilingual nurse be utilized solely for tranlation purposes when there are multiple nonenglish speaking pts on that giving day and that nurse being the only bilingual nurse day in and day out. Is this permitted in your facility?
    Is anyone else experiencing this problem?
    How do you feel about this?
    Where can I find information regarding my rights as a nurse vs translator?
    Thanks for your help in advance.
    Nurse in need of guidance.
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Enright
    I think the RN with a second language skill needs to hammer out the conflicts before they happen. I happen to be a sign language interpreter. I sat down with my manager when I was hired and we agreed that I'd take all deaf patients and that I would be available to other floors/ER only if they could send a replacement RN for the time I was gone. I also worked very hard to anticipate problems before hand (what to do about deaf visitors who may need help, families that need extensive patient teaching, my availability off shift, how I would be paid if I came in extra to interpret etc).

    A second language is an asset to the hospital and the patients. Try and advocate for compensation for this.
  4. by   hollykate
    Iris,
    The above poster has good ideas. I am also used by my unit and sister unit as an ad-hoc spanish interpreter. I have learned to keep the 24 hr spanish interpreters number on me for non-emergent things. At my old hospital where we didn't have the 24 hr person, I kept the AT&T language line's number. I don't mind helping out, but like you, I think it gets hard to get our patients cared for as well. I usually volunteer for the Spanish Speaking only persons, so that cuts down a little on it seeming like extra work. Luckily the hospital I work at is so large that not everyone knows who I am.
  5. by   TracyRN
    Okay, I'm one of the ones guilty of asking fellow nurses to translate for me. Mostly we try to use auxillary staff but sometimes our only recourse is bug Carmen (name changed to protect the innocent :-).

    One of the unwritten rules we follow is paybacks. I'll start an IV for her, maybe pass some meds, take off some orders... whatever she needs that I can do. She's also told me no when she's wrapped up in something critical.

    So don't get mad, get paybacks!

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