Speaking Spanish Helpful? - page 6

Do you find that speaking Spanish is helpful in your job? I am considering starting to learn it on my own (have been for quite awhile) and was wondering if all of you here think it would be useful... Read More

  1. by   Jayla
    I completely agree, heart!!

    Reminds me of the joke:

    What do you call someone who speaks more than 3 languages?

    multilingual.

    What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages?

    bilingual.

    What do you call someone who speaks one language?

    American.

    Only problem with this joke is that "America" is not just comprised of the US. It also includes Canada and Central and South America. It seems like too many people in the US forget that we are part of a larger world. Let's embrace it instead of always trying to wall oursevles off from it.

    An added note: Many immigrants move to this country with the SAME INTENTIONS that OUR ancestors had (if you are not 100% Native American, this applies to YOU)!

    Primarily, to improve the lives and increase the opportunities for their family and children. They come here so their children can go to school and not work in a sweatshop all day making clothes YOU wear! Many of these people work several jobs earning horribly low wages, doing miserable work that most "Americans" wouldn't do (i.e. slaughter houses and farm work).

    In many cases they don't have the luxury of "learning English". They're too busy working several jobs to financially support their families both here and in their home country. This goes for people from other parts of the world, too.

    Also, any adult who's TRIED to learn another language knows that, as an adult, it's not always the easiest thing to do. So ease off on those people who don't know English, okay? They're doing their best!
  2. by   Euskadi1946
    [QUOTE=brinaa] im really torn my cousin said that in nursing school in california it is a must that you learn spanish,no disrespect to anyone but i feel it is very unfair to tell me i have to learn so i can communicate with you. thats like me going to mexico and you having to learn english in order for you to have a job(sounds crazy)[/QUO

    Since I'm 17th generation Mexican-American and my husband is from Mexico, I'm fluent in Spanish. I read it, write it and speak it fluently. And yes I too also believe that if you live in this country you must learn English. However, you can't expect someone who is fairly new to this country to know English right off the bat. Whatsmore, whether they speak Spanish, Russian, Chinese, or Greek they still deserve the best care possible. I have received more money for being able to speak a second language and I'm also very proud of my Mexican heritage and being able to speak Spanish. I also love taking care of the Spanish speaking patient.
  3. by   Euskadi1946
    Quote from brinaa
    that is how i feel, its like us going to mexico and demanding they learn my language.
    thats just plain crazy
    English is spoken all over "Mexico" and NO they do not DEMAND that you speak Spanish in Mexico. Nobody is forcing or demanding that you to learn Spanish or any other language for that matter. Whether you like it or not, the Hispanic population is growing. We're here brinaa and we're not going away anytime soon so live with it!!!!
  4. by   URO-RN
    Quote from Jayla
    In many cases they don't have the luxury of "learning English". They're too busy working several jobs to financially support their families both here and in their home country. This goes for people from other parts of the world, too.

    Also, any adult who's TRIED to learn another language knows that, as an adult, it's not always the easiest thing to do. So ease off on those people who don't know English, okay? They're doing their best!


    Absolutely.

    I am second generation Puerto Rican and although my parents did not have to work several jobs to support us, they still struggled with English. English is quite difficult to learn especially if you are an adult. Despite the language barriers my parents managed to learn English. My father (R.I.P) sold insurance and was a Realtor before he came to America. He had to learn the language to make it here. My mom was a stay at home mom, and basically learned some English from me. I was ~ 7 or 8 when I came here. I was young, so I picked up the lang. fairly quickly as all kids do.

    I don't translate at work. I am not certified as a medical translator. I do, however, use it if there is an emergency, or to chit chat with Spanish speaking patients. It puts them at ease and are more willing to share health hx and things that might affect care etc....

    So, if you have an opportunity to learn Spanish or any other language for that matter, go for it. You will be a better nurse for it.

    Jo-
  5. by   Euskadi1946
    Quote from Jrnalist2RNinOR
    I think that learning spanish would be useful, however I find (here in Oregon, and in California where I moved from) that it seems like we cater to these individuals a little bit - it seems as though there is no reason for them to learn or try to learn english when then can come to the hospital and demand to have someone speak spanish or when they go to the grocery store and things are in spanish as well

    I do see many native spanish speaking people learning english and I worked in the tutor center at my junior college and helped them

    However, it seems that the majority do not seem to care
    There are ethnic neighborhoods in the big cities where their language is spoken all over the neighborhood which I think is great. Just like someone said there are people from all over the world here and every culture is beautiful in it's own way. There is nothing wrong with knowing more than one language. I for one would love to know more languages besides Spanish and English. I love the cultural diversity and from what I understand, there are many Hispanics who are indeed learning English. But it takes time to learn English and in the mean time we still have to care for their medical needs.
  6. by   URO-RN
    I don't think it is because the majority do not care. It is a combination of things ...such as not having a car to get to the local community college, daycare issues, some (as others have said) have to work 2 or 3 low-paying jobs ( the type of jobs that citizens of this country seem to not want to do) and find it difficult to enroll themselves in a class.

    It is important for these immigrants to learn English and they know it. Yes, there are some who choose to alienate themselves by staying in there comfort zones. I see this as a major obstacle to living the American dream. I encourage these immigrants to get out of their comfort zone and delve into American culture/society.
    I met a Mexican immigrant who enrolled herself at a local community college to learn English. She had a degree in Chemistry. Many of these immigrants, are college educated, not all are here to smooch off the system. They are here to make the lives of their children better.
  7. by   CA CoCoRN
    Quote from sharann
    Where I work (near Los Angeles) the patients EXPECT us to know Spanish and know it well. If we don't we get the silent treatment from many patients (not all of course). They say "no Spanish!" as if we are retarded and have no business working in California, America, and NOT knowing it. I for one am trying my best to learn the language, and have improved greatly the past 3 years at this job where the pt pop is predominantly latin. HOWEVER, we also have a large Russian, Korean, and Armenian population. They don't expect us to learn their languages interestingly. Oh well, I speak the UNIVERSAL language with all my patients, I give them compassionate and skillful care.

    I can not tell you how true and irritating that is. I speak Spanish (not fluently, but when I get on a roll, the patients think I'm Dominican or Cubana). I ONLY speak as much as I do because I can to work at this hospital. I try my best, but there are some days when my Spanish just "isn't working" and I can't get my brain to get out of English or French (which I studied in school). It absolutely galls me when the patients come to 'my country' and don't even attempt to speak 'my language' the national, unofficial language. I've had patients, both in person and on the phone, get an attitude because we don't speak more Spanish or don't understand when they are speaking very rapidly, with regional accents.


    ah....don't let me get off on a tangent...

    Yes, I've found Spanish to be ESSENTIAL on the job, especially with the changing face of the population.
  8. by   CA CoCoRN
    [QUOTE=CeCiRN]
    Quote from brinaa
    im really torn my cousin said that in nursing school in california it is a must that you learn spanish,no disrespect to anyone but i feel it is very unfair to tell me i have to learn so i can communicate with you. thats like me going to mexico and you having to learn english in order for you to have a job(sounds crazy)[/QUO

    Since I'm 17th generation Mexican-American and my husband is from Mexico, I'm fluent in Spanish. I read it, write it and speak it fluently. And yes I too also believe that if you live in this country you must learn English. However, you can't expect someone who is fairly new to this country to know English right off the bat. Whatsmore, whether they speak Spanish, Russian, Chinese, or Greek they still deserve the best care possible. I have received more money for being able to speak a second language and I'm also very proud of my Mexican heritage and being able to speak Spanish. I also love taking care of the Spanish speaking patient.

    Okay....but what about those who have been here for YEARS and STILL don't speak English. The lady who keeps my kids while I work is Mexican...and barely speaks a lick of English. She's good for me and my children because
    1) my kids love her,
    2)she loves them,
    3) she helps them learn another language,
    and
    4) talking to her helps me in my Spanish.

    However, given that she's in her 50s and all of her children were born in America/California, it just begs the questions as to why she's not learned English.

    There are parts of Los Angeles in which I can not function completely because I'm not fluent in Spanish.

    That's not "right". :stone
  9. by   Gennaver
    Quote from mjlrn97

    many have not yet assimilated.

    Hello,
    I like your response but really have to comment on this little symantic twixt,

    As a mixed cultured Native American, (Ojibwe-Annishinaabe) I really do like to correct this terminology.

    Assimilation is as to the 'collective, to resist is futile' whereas the true word you may be looking for is 'Acculturation'.

    This way we can maintain our true self while living acculturated.

    I am an acculturated person myself, nice to meet you

    Miigwetch, (Anishinaabe for thank you)

    Gennaver
    Last edit by kids on Mar 6, '05
  10. by   Jayla
    On the contrary, I believe there are enough Spanish speakers in this country to warrant two recongnized national langauges: English AND Spanish.

    In my opinon, we should all at least have a working knowledge of, at a minimum, these two languages. Spanish speakers are not the only ones with work to do in this regard.

    An aside: not all people from Central or South America speak Spanish as a primary language. A lot of people don't realize that many immigrants from southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, etc, are indigenous to that country and Spanish is their second language. Many are also not literate, so learning another language is that much more of a challenge.
  11. by   Euskadi1946
    OK first of all let's not forget that Spanish, after the Native tongues was the first white man's language spoken here in the United States...Hello!!!! Santa Fe, NM and St. Augustine, Fl were settled by the Spanish 50-100 years before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. If you really want to split hairs let's all learn Lakota, Cheyenne, Apache, Assiniboine, Crow, Pueblo, Mohawk, Iroquois, Cherokee, Seminole. These languages were here thousands of years before the Europeans stepped foot on our shores and many of these languages are dying because alot of the younger generation only want to speak English. Our country is a country of diversity and there is nothing wrong with knowing a second language regardless of what it is. My grandmother was born and raised in New Mexico and never spoke English because she wanted her grandchildren to learn to speak Spanish and to be proud of our heritage so because of that she should be penalized and not receive decent health care or have access to a translator??? There are alot of elderly people who were born and raised in this country HELLO!!!! The Native Americans who don't speak a word of English so we should penalize them and deny them decent health care and access to a translator?? Most of us on this board are nurses and we became nurses to care for the sick regardless of what language they speak!!!
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from Gennaver
    Hello,
    I like your response but really have to comment on this little symantic twixt,

    As a mixed cultured Native American, (Ojibwe-Annishinaabe) I really do like to correct this terminology.

    Assimilation is as to the 'collective, to resist is futile' whereas the true word you may be looking for is 'Acculturation'.

    This way we can maintain our true self while living acculturated.

    I am an acculturated person myself, nice to meet you

    Miigwetch, (Anishinaabe for thank you)

    Gennaver
    Hola, Gennaver!

    Muchas gracias para la palabra correcta........me gusta aprender cosas nuevas cuando tengo la oportunidad. Yo misma soy una person 'aculturada' tambien. Hablo dos lenguas, el ingles y el espanol. Me gustara aprender otras lenguas algun dia.

    (Spanish for Hi, Gennaver! Thank you for the correct word.........I like learning new things when I get the chance. I too am an acculturated person, speaking two languages, English and Spanish. I'd like to learn other languages some day.)
  13. by   zacarias
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes



    Here in Seattle, my self-challenge is to learn some Korean and Tagalog and I am slowly doing it. (oh so slowly). Many Korean and Philippino (as well as Vietnamese) residents transplanted here and wow, are they happy to help. They never laugh at my feeble attempts to speak their words.
    Hey there,

    I wanted to say I totally think it's cool you're doing Tagalog. With the number of filipinos in the Seattle area, it is totally possible to learn it. I tried to learn it before but never got passed a certain point (not serious I guess). While most Filipinos speak English, occasionally you'll meet the old guy in the hospital that knows no only English, only Tagalog. If he's really old, you can try Spanish with himlol.

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