Is there a need for Bilingual nurses and what is the starting salary?

  1. I am a bilingual first year nursing student. I live in the MA area and was just curious.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   fluffwad
    Quote from class2007
    I am a bilingual first year nursing student. I live in the MA area and was just curious.
    In some areas there is a definite need for bilingual nurses......the area depends on what language. Salary depends on area, facility, etc. I don't know if the extra language will increase your wages.
  4. by   KatieBell
    Well, yes, there is a need for bilingual nurses in some areas, mostly for those who can speak Spanish and English. In most places it is not a requirement for a job, so it will not change your salary. Most large hospitals these days have a translator service. In my case, I speak Spanish and English (and was certified by the hospital translator service) and the only difference for me was that I did not have to wait for an interpreter to begin my assessment, it does not change my pay scale. It might make you more hireable, but in this day and age, a nurse is already very hirable.
  5. by   Monica RN,BSN
    There is a definate need for bilingual nurses in Florida. (Especially south florida) Spanish population very high...but I have never known of any place that pays extra for having the ability to be fluent in other languages.
  6. by   shodobe
    No hospital I know of pays any more for being bilingual. My hospital gives you a meal ticket if you are used. Luckily if the conversation gets too intense, I have a number of hispanic aides that do all the translation, I speak enough to get by in small sentences. Most of our anesthesia are becoming bilingual because they know it is too their advantage.
  7. by   Someday-C.R.N.A.
    Seems odd that bilingual nurses aren't paid more. The need is definitely there.

    I plan to learn (atleast some) spanish in the next few years.

    Maybe it'll give me an edge when looking for a job or applying to competitive educational programs, or maybe it'll just make my life a little easier when trying to care for spanish speaking people....Either way, it probably won't be a detriment.
  8. by   Nyna
    As another poster stated, there is a huge need for Spanish speaking nurses in Florida. I plan on taking beginner and intermediate in the near future. I am HOPING work will consider it under the tuition reimbursement program. I would only be doing it for work as we get many non-English speaking patients.
  9. by   Havin' A Party!
    Quote from KatieBell
    ... In my case, I speak Spanish and English (and was certified by the hospital translator service)...
    Katie -- Can you elaborate on how you got to be certified?

    Thanks!
  10. by   KatieBell
    The short story is that I took the test that is given to people who they hire for the Interpreter service.
    The long story, well, I'm unsure if there is one. Of course, if I went to another hospital, I'd have to take their interpreter test.
  11. by   Havin' A Party!
    Quote from KatieBell
    ... I took the test that is given to people who they hire for the Interpreter service...
    Katie -- I'm very interested in how this was handled at your hospital. Wanted to ask a few additional questions to see how something like this would go over where I am. If you have a few minutes...

    Did you ask to take the test? Was HR involved? Did you enroll in a preparatory course for the exam? Does your passing impact your annual review in any way or otherwise factor in your compensation? Have you been publicly recognized or commended by your facility for this accomplishment? Have you been asked to assist other units needing interpreation services? How long / tough was the exam? Do you need to be re-cert periodically?

    Thanks much!
  12. by   KatieBell
    Quote from LarryG
    Katie -- I'm very interested in how this was handled at your hospital. Wanted to ask a few additional questions to see how something like this would go over where I am. If you have a few minutes...

    Did you ask to take the test? Was HR involved? Did you enroll in a preparatory course for the exam? Does your passing impact your annual review in any way or otherwise factor in your compensation? Have you been publicly recognized or commended by your facility for this accomplishment? Have you been asked to assist other units needing interpreation services? How long / tough was the exam? Do you need to be re-cert periodically?

    Thanks much!
    Actually, the interpreters I worked with encouraged me to take the test, since they essentially stood around while I gave the discharge instructions. I called the interpreter service and they agreed to give me the test. I'll admit it was a rather casual thing.

    I did not take a prep class, if you are qualified to translate, a prepatory class should not be needed.
    I don't think it did anything for my compensation, and it has not come up in my annual review.
    I do not assist ANYONE but myself with interpretation- except on occasion. I am at the job to be a nurse, not an interpreter. We have Interpreter services 24/7 and the nurses call them. It would be really hard for me to do my job in the ED if I had to run around to other units. (its an 800 bed hospital...) I do tend to pick up most of the hispanic patients, just because it makes things easier, and the patients like it, so I tend to be popular on my shift...but if there is something that I am not going to be around for, or Social Work, or the Physician need to have a really long conversation with the patient and family, I still call the interpreter. I don't have the time to sit and translate with 6 other patients. I suppose if it was in a small hospital, where there are few hispanic patients, and no translator service, I might be more inclined to help out in other units...
    The exam itself is not hard (The one I was given), essentially it was just a test to see if you can comprehend and answer questions. They also had a verbal part- giving directions to the hospital and the like. The thing is, if you don't speak the language well, it is probably quite a difficult test. People tend to learn Medical Spanish and then oddly, they have trouble comprehending the "whole" story which will include a lot of non medical terms, or they can ask the questions, but not comprehend the answers at all.
    One of the biggest reasons I did it was to legally cover myself. Before if I gave instructions without an interpreter and the patient later stated they didn't understand, I would have been in big trouble. Now, I am certified to be as good as the hospital translators, so no more legal issues.

    I think its great that more and more nurses are learning Spanish. Even if it just a little, its nice for the patient, and it builds a lot of trust.
  13. by   Havin' A Party!
    Much appreciated, Katie. Very informative.

    Oh... and gracias!

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