This is related to the blog/article posted below, so you might want to read that first. In any case, being an immigrant myself, I am always concerned about stories of discrimination. While allnurses.com has a policy that English is the only language to be type here, that makes for a very easy world...why? because none of the readers can hear my or anyone's foreign accent.
Being part of allnurses.com for almost 4 years, I've read lots of comments concerning foreign nurses, be they directed to foreign-American nurses who are citizens or legal immigrants working in the system. The article below points to the case of filipino-american nurses being discriminated against for either having an accent or talking in their native language at work. Yes, I understand that many are offended by this practice and have the dissulusionment that English should be the only language spoken at the workplace because we are in fact in an English speaking country. I've read comments where some feel they are isolated from the foreign nurses when they do that. I too understand that plight, but I also understand the need to just relax and be oneself.
Ever so often at my job(non nurse related) I get comments from customers saying "oh I love your accent, you speak English very well"...and my response would be "Well I'm from an English speaking country" and then they looked surprised.The funny thing is I have almost lost all of my dialect/accent because when I speak to my relatives they say "why you sounding like an American?" Given the fact that I could speak my original English dialect it would be useless here because noone would understand a word I an saying even though I am still speaking English. However, when I meet a customer from my own country then I feel I could just be myself and talk our own "english" without constantly asking what the other is saying or without me having to slow done my speech to deliberately speak with clarity.However, this is inevitable, because I too wish to be understood.
I believe this is true for other international workers here in the United States. I do not feel that anyone should be rediculed or discriminated against because of their accent or because they just want a break from English, to speak their own language. I highly doubt they are slandering anyones name being your backs just because they are speaking differently. I understand in American culture this is seen as being rude, but for us it is nothing more, nothing less that wanting to be accepted for who we are.
Granted that from our viewpoint, its the Americans who have the accent and I know this first hand, because my wife is ALL American. She has a heavy southern accent, and when she gets in that mood ever so often after speaking to some of her relatives, then she talks to me, I can barely make out a word she says. So these misunderstands and miscommunication goes both ways.
I am not a filipino-american...I've been inducted to be an African-American...but Trinidad and Tobago is where I originated and English is our official language too, but some also speak spanish because they want to learn it, others speak creole because it is their heritage, more than 1/3 my country also speaks Hindi, due to their East Indian culture and their are many other languages spoken there because we have so many different cultures.
If a small island 1.2million people can accept so many differences, why is America not so willing to accept being "a nation of immigrants"?
How do you feel about foreign nurses speaking their original language in the work place or if they speak English, is there still that barrier of lacking understand due to the heavy accented English? I ask these questions, provided that they have absolutely nothing to do with patient care, and assuming that no matter the language, care is not compromised and these nurses provide the same great care as anyone qualified to do so.