Nursing Home Fires Employee For Speaking Spanish On The Job

  1. An employee of a Wenatchee, Wa., nursing home has been fired for speaking Spanish on the job and violating the home's English-only rule.

    AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Aug. 20, 2002
    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/...nglish20.shtml
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   JailRN
    When I worked in a hospital environment, the patients would be very upset if their nurses (aids, etc, ) spoke anything but english, they didn't dare what color, size, or sex their nurse was, butthey had to speak english. or there would be complaints. I agree, if you speak in another language, it's rude and makes peolpe thein that you're talikng about them.

    Before peolpe get upset, I should mention, I speak 2 languages other than english. Why? Because, when I was little, if our relatives wanted to talk about what a pain one of us was, they'd speak in our grandparents native tongue. I learned both languages, and could run back to my cousins and say'"well you should hear what they said about you."

    Seriously, when I worked for a major HMO, they gave report in tagalog,(sic) there were that many philipino nurses.

    If the aid question had been speaking to a pt. that only spoke spanish, rehire her, but if not, bye-bye. I wish more employers had the sense to do it. Did she have a history of this, or was this her first strike?
  4. by   Dez
    I agree that if your speaking spanish or any other language (other than english) in a patients room, it is rude. When Im with a group of people and everyone speaks russian for instance, I dont ,and they know that, thats rude. But if other people are talking outside my room in another language, who cares. And if they are talking about me, who cares. NONE OF MY BUSINESS! Just because we live in America does not mean we have to speak english all the time. Cannot we not use common sense and realize at times it can be rude?
  5. by   BadBird
    I agree that it is rude to speak in front of patients in a foreign language but I don't know if I would fire someone for it, mabey just a reminder to speak english while on the job.
  6. by   caliotter3
    This reminds me of an incident that happened when I was working as a new CNA. I was at the nurse's station and heard an extensive rendition, in English, about how a certain resident had complained about the talk in front of her. "She said that we were saying bad things about her but she couldn't understand us! Yes, she was right! Ha, Ha, Ha! The adm can tell us to speak English but they can't make us. They're not in the rooms every minute! Ha, Ha, Ha!"

    I didn't have to be a genius to know that this conversation was in English for a reason. I have never forgotten that and many times I have had to listen to pt's vent about this problem.

    Heaven forbid that I had ever admitted to any pt how a conversation could switch from English to another language among caregivers for the purpose of discussing "business" all co-workers were not privy to, without detection. This actually could occur with the indiv looking the co-worker directly in the eye, as defiant as ever.
  7. by   fergus51
    I agree it's a little rude, but if you fired every nurse who had ever done something rude, our hospital would lose half of its staff. I would think a reminder would be the first step.
  8. by   Dr. Kate
    There is such a difference between being rude to a patient which is unacceptable and conversing in a private area in another language.
    Years ago I worked 3-11 in a hospital where English was the 2nd language of easily 95% of the staff. I discovered a number of things not the least of which was that non native English speakers often switched to their 1st language when English failed them. I also realized I was not so important in anyone's eyes, except my Mom's, that people were talking about me every time they spoke another language in front of me. And if they are talking about me, they won't for long. It has helped a lot not to be so paranoid and self involved.
    Fire someone for it. Seems a bit much to me.

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