Spanish speaking patients in labor - page 3

by gravida

5,063 Visits | 27 Comments

I need some advice on a problem that is new to my area. I live in a small Kentucky town and a local food processing plant has recently began a new program of recruiting workers from Mexico. In the next couple of months it is... Read More


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    i think my first post is still the best solution.....
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    OF course, a solution for us would be to have all people learn English. However, there are barriers that exist that prevent this. ESL classes are great but waiting lists are long in many areas. English is a difficult language to learn for anyone; just look at us. We take English comp/literature classes all the way through high school, and into college, and we are native speakers. As tough as you might think it is to learn Spanish for us, English is even harder. And not all Latino folks lack initiative. Most of the ones I speak to are in one way or another trying to learn, but like I said, barriers exist, be they transportation, culture, waiting lists or family issues. Often, they pretend not to understand or speak English when they have some level of competency and fluency, for fear of looking "stupid" or uneducated. Don't assume no efforts are being made, however; that is unfair.

    And yes, learning culture is a very important idea. Not even all Mexicans share the exact same culture. It's a big country, and mores and beliefs do vary by region and family. Also, Spanish is a second language for many of them, their first being an Indian dialect of some sort. So we are asking them to learn, now, a third tongue. This does not happen overnight and so few of us in the USA even speak a second, how about a third?

    We can argue all day long about what "should be". But the reality is, we have people from all over the globe coming here who do not share our culture, mores and language. And it's also a fact we are required to provide translation services for non-English speakers. The best way I know is to have 24/7 reliable services you can count on. The liability we share as care providers demands it, whether we agree with this or not.

    Ask about the language translation service line. It's a lifesaver. And yes, learn a bit about the culture of the people who will be coming into your care; it does help everyone, not just our patients.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on May 8, '09
    sopRaNo, QTBabyNurse, mamafeliz, and 1 other like this.
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    A bit off topic, just want to share one of the most beautiful phrases I was ever taught in Spanish language:

    Dando (or dar) la luz (for giving birth)....

    Literally translated, this means, "giving light". Says a lot to me.
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    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    OF course, a solution for us would be to have all people learn English. However, there are barriers that exist that prevent this. ESL classes are great but waiting lists are long in many areas. English is a difficult language to learn for anyone; just look at us. We take English comp/literature classes all the way through high school, and into college, and we are native speakers. As tough as you might think it is to learn Spanish for us, English is even harder. And not all Latino folks lack initiative. Most of the ones I speak to are in one way or another trying to learn, but like I said, barriers exist, be they transportation, culture, waiting lists or family issues. Often, they pretend not to understand or speak English when they have some level of competency and fluency, for fear of looking "stupid" or uneducated. Don't assume no efforts are being made, however; that is unfair.

    And yes, learning culture is a very important idea. Not even all Mexicans share the exact same culture. It's a big country, and mores and beliefs do vary by region and family. Also, Spanish is a second language for many of them, their first being an Indian dialect of some sort. So we are asking them to learn, now, a third tongue. This does not happen overnight and so few of us in the USA even speak a second, how about a third?

    We can argue all day long about what "should be". But the reality is, we have people from all over the globe coming here who do not share our culture, mores and language. And it's also a fact we are required to provide translation services for non-English speakers. The best way I know is to have 24/7 reliable services you can count on. The liability we share as care providers demands it, whether we agree with this or not.

    Ask about the language translation service line. It's a lifesaver. And yes, learn a bit about the culture of the people who will be coming into your care; it does help everyone, not just our patients.
    my comment only applied to this particular circumstance.....they are, it appears, being recruited en masse, ahead of time.......why not make rudimentary English a deciding factor? partly because the company then will lose some degree of control, i would think....and, again, only in this particular circumstance, are not USAers being hired?
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    The point of the thread, however, is not whether we agree with importing workers who speak little to no English to the USA. It is a done deal in this case. Now, the object is how to best care for the people who are going to be joining that community. It's not up the medical community to decide hiring practices of local companies. For the record, I agree with and see your point. But wanting and getting it done are two different things.

    Please, Let's not derail this into a political debate. This thread was a request for a solution to an existing situation. There are a lot of threads already dedicated such debates.

    Have a good day!
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    I have worked with the Spanish Speaking migrant population throughout my adult career. You may certainly carry your ideas regarding immigrants' need to learn language, culture. Within your job capacity, those are opinions best kept to yourself, and should in no way impact the quality of care you provide your patients. The bottom line is that we must approach our patients with every intent to meet their needs. If we are not fluent in their language, we must access interpreters who can ensure informed consent and guide our nursing actions. If we have a large ethnic community served within our hospital, management should provide education to better meet that groups' needs in so vulnerable a window as birth. Most cultures have specific beliefs and needs surrounding a transition as profound as birth, and the onus in on us to learn about and support those needs.

    I am fluent in Spanish, and love working with this loving, gracious community. Although I do not speak any African languages, I care tenderly for women who do utilizing interpreters as needed. Special considerations have arisen with our growing Somali population regarding supporting women in birth with female circumcision. Nurse education has been considered to specifically address nursing actions to support this particular group of women.

    It sounds like your institution is in great need of some cultural sensitivity training. Open your heart to diversity and your life will grow richer.
    QTBabyNurse likes this.
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    Quote from mamafeliz
    I have worked with the Spanish Speaking migrant population throughout my adult career. You may certainly carry your ideas regarding immigrants' need to learn language, culture. Within your job capacity, those are opinions best kept to yourself, and should in no way impact the quality of care you provide your patients. The bottom line is that we must approach our patients with every intent to meet their needs. If we are not fluent in their language, we must access interpreters who can ensure informed consent and guide our nursing actions. If we have a large ethnic community served within our hospital, management should provide education to better meet that groups' needs in so vulnerable a window as birth. Most cultures have specific beliefs and needs surrounding a transition as profound as birth, and the onus in on us to learn about and support those needs.

    I am fluent in Spanish, and love working with this loving, gracious community. Although I do not speak any African languages, I care tenderly for women who do utilizing interpreters as needed. Special considerations have arisen with our growing Somali population regarding supporting women in birth with female circumcision. Nurse education has been considered to specifically address nursing actions to support this particular group of women.

    It sounds like your institution is in great need of some cultural sensitivity training. Open your heart to diversity and your life will grow richer.
    inre the bold, why? ethically speaking, why? i know it is legally, ethics are not always the same thing.....and i dont perceive anything in the first post as being anti diversity, she/he is here, asking for help, not a lecture
    tntrn likes this.
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    I live in a state on the east coast and we have many Spanish speakers in our area. Mainly from Mexico and Honduras, with the occasional one from El Salvador or Cuba.

    We have a few nurses who speak fluent spanish, and some who do alright and some who know none. We have a language line we can call, or some native spanishspeakers who work in other areas of the hospital and come translate.because of the high spanish population, someof the clinic doctors speak good spanish, and we have a native mexican dr as well. we are not supposed to use minor children as official translators.

    I dont mind them b/c i speak decent spanish, but its when we get the african immigrants-i cant say anything in their language, and its hard using the language line when they are in active labor and dont want to talk on the phone.

    though, without an epidural, you know when the baby is coming by how they act, no matter what language they are saying "i have to push" in.


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