How Helpful is Being Bilingual? - page 2

Hey Everyone, Just wondering how helpful it would be if you were fluent in lets say, Spanish? Is that a major plus when looking for a job?... Read More

  1. by   Luv4LTC
    i'd say more than just helpful. as a brand new nurse in ga i was cross training in l&d one night. ems called to say they were bringing in an active labor who spoke no english, and they got no hx. we called our spanish translator who wasn't in house, but lived nearby. when they finally got there, i checked the pt, and found her crowning. i was unable to understand that she was a g4, and her water had broken some time ago. the pt was histerical, had no iv, the charge nurse was on dinner break, no ob in the house = baby in the bed.
    [color=#00bfff]here, in co i have several bilingual residents, work with 2 bilingual cnas, and another cna who barely speaks or understands english. ya gotta be able to communicate with pts and staff!!!
    [color=#00bfff]the health dept., schools, state run programs, etc. (jobs with great fringe)are always advertising here "bilingual only apply".
  2. by   Luv4LTC
    :smackingf oops! sorry i posted x2. don't know how to delete.
  3. by   crissrn27
    I wish I was bilingual, we have a huge Spanish speaking population, and though most of them have a English speaking person with them, a few do not. I always feel so sorry for them, I come and take their baby and they can't understand who I am and why I am taking their child. And never mind trying to figure out how much a baby breastfed, we can look at bottles and diapers, but the BF'ing thing is hard and usually consist of me grabbing my boobs and trying to get across I want how many minutes. Some of our translators get really mad if you call them in for stuff, and will try to say that they told them everything they needed to know during the initial bonding/signing papers, etc. When I know that the person doesn't understand me, or if we are discharging, I don't take no for an answer and get them to come in. Hey, they make more than I do, why complain?
  4. by   RNfaster
    I speak some Spanish and a little French. I have used the Spanish a lot at work as we have many Spanish speakers here in Arizona. I know a few words in Arabic, and used them once with someone for whom that was a primary language. He had been morose, and lit up when I spoke the few words in his native tongue. He then began to talk more in Arabic --and in English. With the Internet, it is very easy to pick up a few phrases or more so that you can do some basic communication in another language.

    I have learned to ask people what they want --not to say, do you want this, etc. That way, I am more certain of accurate communications. I still have trouble with some folks that speak Spanish and slur it (I believe that some folks from rural areas do this more than someone from Mexico City for example) and/or who have an accent that I am not accustomed to hearing (e.g., I have to listen harder to a Peruano versus a Guatemalteco.

    Another benefit of knowing more than one language is that it seems to help me with medical terminology (especially the Latin-based languages) and with listening to things that are new and different. (You have to listen carefully when you are listening in a non-native language, and continue to listen even when there are gaps in your comprehension.)
  5. by   RNperdiem
    Some languages are more helpful than others. I know nurses who speak Gaelic, some who speak Tagalog, but around here Spanish is by far the most common to need a translator. Vietnamese is another one I hear sometimes, but the families often provide their own traslators(younger family members).
    I speak enough Spanish for basic communication, but need the translator for consents and anything complex.
    A foreign language is a great skill.
  6. by   twinpumpkin
    My first career was as a Spanish teacher, so when I decided to go to nursing school, everyone told me how useful it would be for me to know Spanish and how in demand I would be. Well, it is TRUE! Even as a nursing student and PCT, I am asked to interpret for patients frequently. Here in Texas, it is especially useful. As a matter of fact, I am employed by a hospital to teach "Spanish for Nurses" courses. It is so befeficial, that I now travel to the 13 hospitals in our system to teach the course.

    My advice is if you have a large population of patients who speak a certain language, try to find a course to take so that you can speak a little bit of their native language to them. You will receive more cooperation, information and appreciation from your patients if you do.

    Buena Suerte! (good luck)
  7. by   I_am_Julia
    depends on the area. if you are in an area that has a large spanish population, it is invaluable.

    Quote from g to the p
    hey everyone, just wondering how helpful it would be if you were fluent in lets say, spanish? is that a major plus when looking for a job?
  8. by   Roy Fokker
    Heh. I speak/understand 7 languages

    Here where I live, we have a decent chunk of the population with German ancestry. Helps that I know German.

    I'm trying to figure out a way to learn sign language and Spanish...
  9. by   allantiques4me
    You get extra perks at my job if you are bilingual!Unfortunately I dont speak Spanish.
  10. by   I_am_Julia
    What type of perks?

    Quote from allantiques4me
    You get extra perks at my job if you are bilingual!Unfortunately I dont speak Spanish.
  11. by   gina gina
    very helpful! it is a plus!!
  12. by   EricJRN
    Quote from anonymurse
    Hey, if we didn't have the translator phones, I'd give it my best shot. But we do, so NO WAY. Suppose I dig my little medical Spanish book out of my pocket and screw up? Or suppose I don't screw up but the speakers do? Am I gonna remember how the communication went down in detail years from now? Heck no. And with Spanish so idiomatic, and speakers from all over the world? For me it would be a hobby, and I don't take my hobbies to work, and especially I don't try them out on patients. I won't have that on my conscience. The hospital provides expert medical translator phones. That's the state of the communications art. My patients don't deserve less.
    A great post! That should definitely a consideration for non-native speakers when they attempt to serve as interpreters. When you're dealing with information of critical importance, that isn't the time to be trying out your new-found language.

    With that said, communication barriers can even arise between two fluent speakers of the same language, as we saw recently on our unit when a woman from a very rural Central American area was asking for more bottles for her breast milk. She was using an obscure word for bottle and none of the several people who talked to her (both native and non-native speakers) could figure out what the heck she was saying.
  13. by   CooL B8B
    Since the migration of Filipinos in Australia is on the rise, language barrier sometimes become a problem. Being able to speak in another language such as tagalog provided assistance to patients to translate and confirm whether vital information have been understood or not.