Diversity.. at what price? - page 13

by Been there,done that

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I am working in a large inner city facility. Corporate expounds the benefits of a diverse working culture. I understand the benefits of a large pool of talent. There is every nationality on Earth represented in this medical... Read More


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    Quote from Been there,done that
    I am working in a large inner city facility. Corporate expounds the benefits of a diverse working culture.

    I understand the benefits of a large pool of talent. There is every nationality on Earth represented in this medical center.

    Recently, I took report from the recovery room. The nurse had such a thick accent , I had to ask her to spell some of the words she was saying. During the shift, I "worked" with a resident that was also very difficult to understand. He is also from a culture that expects women to walk 3 feet behind them. Needless to say.. the communication was difficult and time consuming.
    At the end of the shift, I gave report to a nurse from another culture, that had never heard of the procedure the patient had undergone. Another language barrier ensued as I tried to explain the case.

    I find it interesting that they can understand my mid-west American accent, but not vice-versa. The communication effort is time taking away from patient care.

    I have seen a Chinese nurse, trying to describe a (emergent) patient's condition, over the phone to an Indian doctor, with a nursing assistant yelling in the background trying to interpret for them.

    Is there a solution?
    Why do you think the Native Americans developed sign language.Lakota couldn't understand the Nakota and the Nakota couldn't understand the Dakota and nobody could understand the Crow.
    lindarn and caliotter3 like this.
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    I have a relatively thick New England accent, and co-workers can find me hard to understand. So it is not just foreigners. And if I ever use a slang term, forget it! (ie: the family and their thoughts on the plan of care were a hot mess.....) I find that the written word is much better. If you write down the key points to your report, everyone can understand it. Even being from America, learning another language one STILL has their own accent to it-- I have also learned that even if you put 2 Hispanic nurses together......they have a hard time sometimes too--it is all in the dialect. And as my Jamacian co-workers will tell you, the accents and dialect are so different that they have a hard time between each other as well. (just excuse yourself if you ever tell them that anyone HAS a clot.....) <-----sorry, just had to lighten it up a little.....

    With all seriousness, this can be a really difficult thing if you need to pass report and having a hard time understanding each other. I am all for a shift report sheet.
    lindarn likes this.
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    this is a subject that is dear to my heart, since i personally experienced my share of being miss understood. let me explain, i was born and raised in madrid,spain, therefore, i have a very thick castilian accent. however, growing up i was exposed to several other languages around europe. having said that, i use to have a very thick shall we say "spanglish accent" just like "sofia vergara" that's when i decided to learn proper english, so i traveled to london, chelsea. needless to say, it took me a whole year to learn the language. moreover, i'm a firm believer that if you decide to live in any other country than your own, you must learn their language in order to communicate with the locals. although, unbeknownst to me at the time the american english it's quite different as you all are aware of, even from state to state. with that said, i'm not one to criticize anyone's dialects or accent, which at times i find it to be quite sexy if you will. at this level, one's accent sends a message to the listener and for whatever reason they pass judgement, good, bad or indifferent to one's character. pursuing this further, now a days i have a british accent to go along with my spaniard looks, which confuses he heck out of most people who i come in contact with. furthermore, i have adapted to most of the slang around the states, which i still find fascinating at times. in conclusion, this is one of many reasons i'm so passionate when it comes to travel, it broadens your sense of feel to other cultures and their customs. wishing everyone happy travels... aloha~
    lindarn likes this.
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    Quote from quizzy2
    If you have accent, relax. Most people especially adults are igorance! They don't border to listen attentively when someone who has accent is talking to them! Once they hear your accent, they disregard what you saying and pay little attention to you!


    Accent, accent, accent, stop complaining, respect people with accent, open your ears and listen to the person! Everybody has accent whether you like it or not!

    If you don't understand the person, simply ask the person to repeat what he/she said!!!!!!!!!!!
    It's wrong for someone to stop listening as soon as they hear an accent.

    It's just as wrong to generalize and say that most people are ignorant (ignorance) and don't bother (border) to listen as soon as they hear an accent.

    Some people make snap judgments. But many others don't.

    And most of us in this thread have expressed our concern that patient and employee safety can be put in harm's way if a person can't be understood.

    Some of us put on the brakes when the accent is so thick that it can't be understood. Then we try to proceed slowly and use whatever signs or alternate words work to give or receive the message.

    We don't just dismiss the other person, but we do recognize that communicating is going to be a challenge. Sometimes, the one with the accent takes offense and walks away. The best thing is for both people to keep at it until true understanding is achieved.

    It would also be good for the person who has the thick accent to try to find ways to practice, not to eliminate, but to tone down the accent so that they are more easily understood. This isn't an anti-immigrant sentiment. It's a desire for better communication and greater safety for everyone involved.

    That isn't wrong.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Apr 25, '12
    kids, sharpeimom, and palmsofvictory like this.
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    Quote from gitanorn
    this is a subject that is dear to my heart, since i personally experienced my share of being miss understood. let me explain, i was born and raised in madrid,spain, therefore, i have a very thick castilian accent. however, growing up i was exposed to several other languages around europe. having said that, i use to have a very thick shall we say "spanglish accent" just like "sofia vergara" that's when i decided to learn proper english, so i traveled to london, chelsea. needless to say, it took me a whole year to learn the language. moreover, i'm a firm believer that if you decide to live in any other country than your own, you must learn their language in order to communicate with the locals. although, unbeknownst to me at the time the american english it's quite different as you all are aware of, even from state to state. with that said, i'm not one to criticize anyone's dialects or accent, which at times i find it to be quite sexy if you will. at this level, one's accent sends a message to the listener and for whatever reason they pass judgement, good, bad or indifferent to one's character. pursuing this further, now a days i have a british accent to go along with my spaniard looks, which confuses he heck out of most people who i come in contact with. furthermore, i have adapted to most of the slang around the states, which i still find fascinating at times. in conclusion, this is one of many reasons i'm so passionate when it comes to travel, it broadens your sense of feel to other cultures and their customs. wishing everyone happy travels... aloha~
    i always wanted to ask someone that was not born hear, does it bug you when someone ask you to repeat what you just said? because i remember my grandmother was the one that taught me to speak. she came from downpatrick, northern ireland (about twenty miles from belfast).until i was about seven i spoke with a very thick northern irish dialect. it use to make me mad when the other kids use to ask me how long that i have been in this country? they wouldn't believe that i was born here. some times when i get angry the dialect comes out after some 60 years.
    sharpeimom and rn/writer like this.
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    Quote from rn/writer
    It's wrong for someone to stop listening as soon as they hear an accent.

    It's just as wrong to generalize and say that most people are ignorant (ignorance) and don't bother (border) to listen as soon as they hear an accent.

    Some people make snap judgments. But many others don't.

    And most of us in this thread have expressed our concern that patient and employee safety can be put in harm's way if a person can't be understood.

    Some of us put on the brakes when the accent is so thick that it can't be understood. Then we try to proceed slowly and use whatever signs or alternate words work to give or receive the message.

    We don't just dismiss the other person, but we do recognize that communicating is going to be a challenge. Sometimes, the one with the accent takes offense and walks away. The best thing is for both people to keep at it until true understanding is achieved.

    It would also be good for the person who has the thick accent to try to find ways to practice, not to eliminate, but to tone down the accent so that they are more easily understood. This isn't an anti-immigrant sentiment. It's a desire for better communication and greater safety for everyone involved.

    That isn't wrong.
    I could not agree with you more. I listen to accents. way back in the dark ages, I was an actor. I was one in a production of the musical "Milk and Honey" I played a Sabra, a Israeli farmer. One Jewish women came up to me an asked me what part of Israel I cam from. I had to tell her not only didn't I come from Israel, but I not even Jewish. Once you learn how to understand an accent, you start to learn about the person. What I have learned that that there are just about as many weird people in New Jersey as there are in Poland.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Apr 25, '12 : Reason: Added new part to quote.
    rn/writer likes this.
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    something that i think factors into the whole "accent issue" is whether the speaker/listener can answer the question or understand what was said without having to translate it into their native tongue, formulate an answer in that language, then translate that answer
    into english, then finally answer whatever was asked.

    one of our neighbors is a stay-at-home mom to three sweet little boys. she has a masters degree, is a very talented artist, has a lovely
    singing voice, a delightful sense of humor, began learning british english at age 8 back home in pakistan, yet she translates every word
    into urdu, formulates her answer in urdu, translates it into english, then speaks. phew!

    since i realized what she does, i suggested she join a conversational group that meets at our ywca. it was begun by two members
    who had been new citizens and needed to brush up their english as well as become part of our community. it wouldn't be hard to start
    such a group in a hospital either.
    rn/writer likes this.
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    Europe has been dealing with several languages in the workplace for ages and they've adjusted. I think the USA will adjust too, especially if we want to keep the label of "first world country". Being a leader means attracting talents from all over the planet and issues like language barriers won't go away, particularly with the changes in demographics that are happening. (For example, our hospital receives almost 50% of Spanish-speaking patients and a couple of generations ago they would be a minority.)

    I've found that the problem is not only ESL but accents in general. Another example: we have a couple of British nurses and the staff has problems understanding them. A few people even mock their accents and there is a certain level of... rejection? At the end of the day I don't think it's only about "those foreigners that won't learn English" but a lack of willingness from American workers too.

    Just my two cents.
    sharpeimom likes this.
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    Quote from DFWgal
    Europe has been dealing with several languages in the workplace for ages and they've adjusted. I think the USA will adjust too, especially if we want to keep the label of "first world country". Being a leader means attracting talents from all over the planet and issues like language barriers won't go away, particularly with the changes in demographics that are happening. (For example, our hospital receives almost 50% of Spanish-speaking patients and a couple of generations ago they would be a minority.)

    I've found that the problem is not only ESL but accents in general. Another example: we have a couple of British nurses and the staff has problems understanding them. A few people even mock their accents and there is a certain level of... rejection? At the end of the day I don't think it's only about "those foreigners that won't learn English" but a lack of willingness from American workers too.

    Just my two cents.
    We are Americans! We don't have to learn another language. Why can't everyone speak English? But If they can't speak English we can make ourselves understood by shouting. Damn Foreigners! They don't even have John Wayne!
    wooh likes this.
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    I think its very ironic how a workplace ive recently seen preaches diversity everywhere, send diversity emails, has an employee support group for every ethinticity (except caucasian) under the sun, has diversity picnics, diversity training, diversity blah blah blah blah blah.......

    But the ENTIRE board of directors is........you guessed it.......... white.


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