What is the standard re: non-English speaking families?

  1. I am working with a pedi HH agency. My Spanish speaking ability is very limited. I know some phrases & basic words. The are some famililies who are Spanish speaking but parents know a decent amount English. I know enough Spanish to fill in the blanks. Any significant communication (i.e. physician, new orders) is done using a certified translator.

    There is another family where I am being asked to orient. The only English speaking family member is a young teenager (who is overprotective of the patient and from what I hear tries to direct the nurses to do things "her" way). Other nurses say that mom likely understands some English but won't admit it or perhaps simply refuses to learn English for whatever reason.

    Granted to perform actual patient care, language is not an issue. But how am I supposed to get/give report with the parents if they speak no English? One girl in the office said to use the teen daughter to translate. I am not comfortable with this as I feel meaning and information can be skipped or lost.

    Am I wrong for not wanting to use a 13yo sibling as a translator when it is clear that in order to communicate with the primary care givers it must be Spanish? Some have told me I'm making too much of a deal about the situation and I should just go with the flow.
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    About JustBeachyNurse

    Joined: Aug '10; Posts: 37,530; Likes: 22,739


  3. by   caliotter3
    I do not believe in "going with the flow" just to "go with the flow". However, on a day to day basis, when all is well, I do not worry about "malo" versus "bueno". Should there be a big problem such as a change of condition, or a change in the care plan, then I would enlist the aid of a qualified translator. And do not forget to document, document, document. Include documenting the fact that you do day to day reports to the teenager as well as the fact that you were told to do day to day reporting to the teenager. If you want to, you can start getting the translations to frequently used appropriate phrases and make yourself a list to use with the mom. The more you attempt to go the extra mile in communicating with her, the quicker she may open up to making it a two way street.
  4. by   JustBeachyNurse
    I know someone qualified to translate in French, Spanish & Italian who can help me with some phrases & responses. The one family I oriented with, I could tell mom was happy and seemed to relax a bit when I made an effort with my minimal Spanish. I suspect not too many other nurses have been making an effort to communicate based upon some comments I've heard about the case.

    I'll be watching for my local college to offer the medical Spanish for healthcare workers. Since it's a county college the cost is reasonable and the benefit would be significant.
  5. by   caliotter3
    I have found it to be true in most cases that when I attempt to communicate in Spanish, my client family members respond in a positive manner. Not always, but most of the time. It is worth the effort to me if I am going to be working for these people for any length of time. If you get a good translation for day to day phrases, then you can be more assured that you are communicating what you want to convey. And I think you hit the nail on the head that the other nurses don't bother to make the effort.
  6. by   ventmommy
    If your agency is in a heavily non-English-speaking area, perhaps they have an account with Language Line. LL is phenomenal and I used it a lot when I was actively working as a paramedic. I could get by in EMS for Spanish, French and German but I had a lot of Middle and Far Eastern patients and those are not languages you can fumble through.
  7. by   JustBeachyNurse
    The languages vary fortunately in this area most are "common" (French, Spanish) just dialect varies . From what I have been told the language is limited to office staff & supervising RN's not direct care staff.

    Now if I could just get the overly stressed scheduler to call me back.
  8. by   donna67
    your mailbox is full so I cant send you a message
  9. by   JustBeachyNurse

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