Learning Spanish is a plus, bilingual? trilingual?

  1. Hi guys,

    From the articles that I've read, it shows that there is a growing Hispanic population in the U.S. (and other countries as well). Does this mean that we have to prepare ourselves to learn how to speak Spanish, or it's only optional? Would it boost your acceptance towards a school of your choice??
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    About jtoms

    Joined: Dec '12; Posts: 21
    Student; from US


  3. by   somenurse
    I'm too old and too out of the loop, to know how being bilingual can help your chances of being accepted into nursing school, but, i'd think it'd only be plus,
    and never ever a minus.

    but, i can easily vouch,
    that being bilingual
    is a HUGE plus so far as getting a job in healthcare. HUUUUUUUUUGE plus.

    for real.
    go read some want ads right now. You'll see some that openly say "Bilingual preferred" or even, "Must be bilingual".


    What do they call someone who speaks 3 languages?

    What do they call someone who speaks 2 languages?

    What do they call someone who speaks only ONE language?

  4. by   Rose_Queen
    Learning a second language will give you a leg up in the job front, not so sure about getting into school. Make sure it's one that's relevant (Spanish is a big one, some areas may have a large population speaking another language- for some reason, my area has quite a few Vietnamese-only speaking patients), and that you continue using it. Think of the use it or lose it theory- I minored in Spanish back in college, but used it so infrequently that I need a translator even for relatively minor things. I'd still be sure to use an interpreter for critical conversations (taking a medical history, things like that) according to facility policy. My facility requires those who are bilingual to complete training before being allowed to officially translate/speak the second language for patient care.
  5. by   PatMac10,RN
    It is definitely a plus to be bilingual! I think it is important to pay attention to the foreign language that is common to your area, as a previous poster said. However, Spanish is common across most of the US.

    I started learning Spanish when I was 15. I kind of slacker when I started nursing school, but I can hold a decent conversation and understand about 38% if what they are Sauk g in the Spanish soap opera's that slime of my patients watch at work.

    It really touches patients who speak a foreign language, when they see people trying to communicate to them in their own language, eve. If its just hello and thank you.
  6. by   KelRN215
    Learning another language will always help you and will never hurt you. I doubt that it would give you an advantage at being accepted into school (I don't recall that my school even asked on the application if you spoke another language, although they could have inferred that I did based on the fact that I was enrolled in my 2nd year of AP Spanish and that one of my letters of recommendation came from my Spanish teacher) but it most definitely will help you when it comes time to find a job.
  7. by   Sadala
    I noticed that in the back of our mother and baby text there is an entire section on spanish translations of key term and phrases. So... I guess that really is being suggested although no one has formally said anything. I know only a VERY small amt of spanish and french but I'm thinking that it wouldn't be a bad idea to take an intensive course in spanish once I finish my RN. If I didn't have to work part-time I'd do it now at night.
  8. by   NurseOnAMotorcycle
    The only problem with the spanish phrases written out is this:

    (Nurse reading spanish) How is your pain?
    (Answer) pretty good right now even though it was so bad earlier I couldn't walk. I feel like you really helped me. Thank you!

    (Nurse) Huh?

    Over the years I've picked up sign language, Spanish, Korean (like a three year old), and Ukranian (horribly). I pick things up from the people who I work with who speak it. They quiz me every day and add a new word of my choice. We have a large population of deaf/HoH and Ukranian locally. I tried taking classes but just didn't have the time between work and family.
  9. by   healthstar
    I would learn Chinese language instead! China is growing, they have the biggest population! Its not an easy language and i dont like it at all, but it will be totally useful in the future. There are a lot of people who speak Spanish in US, there are so many interpreters. No need for nurses, businessman to learn Spanish .
  10. by   PolaBar
    There's (at least) one online medical spanish program that grants CEUs (after passing tests). I'm thinking of doing this since I need CEUs to renew my RN. I'm sure Spanish would be helpful in getting jobs and perhaps getting into schools (not sure about that). But, yeah, Mandarin (Mainland Chinese) would help. I've just had a Vietnamese patient. Those intonation languages are very difficult. I ended up printing out some information for him and tried a few online translation words to get the basics (Pain, water, etc)
  11. by   netglow
    In the Chicago area I see it as a requirement very often. Either English/Spanish or English/Polish/Russian.

    And it's not good enough that you took some classes in high school and maybe college. You must be FLUENT (yes it's in all caps, sometimes they mention they will test your fluency, sometimes the entire ad is in the wanted language). I have a huge problem with this, English is less and less the language of the US. I worked at a practice where the owner was of Polish descent. He was all American - born here, and only spoke a tiny bit Polish, but all these Polish/Russian patients came to see him figuring he was a homie. LOL. And needless to say, they ALL SPOKE FLUENT ENGLISH it's taught in school overseas and has been for decades according to my Russian friends who think requiring an American nurse to speak the language of another country fluently as a requirement at work is nuts. They also speak fluent English as they came here to be Americans. They say Russian is for home and Russian friends/family but not for the workplace here, and that overseas, English is taught for business purposes (many American businesses to work with or for, many will come over here at some point, for education or work). I agree. If I were to decide to live and work in Russia, you bet I'd make fluency in the Russian language and culture my top priority.
  12. by   ashleyisawesome
    i work in a city with a high hispanic population. not knowing spanish didnt stop me from getting hired, but man do i wish i knew more spanish. m actually looking into taking some classes. every time i work i always have at least one patient who is spanish speaking only. ive learned some common phrases like "are you having any pain?", "do youu need to use the bathroom?", etc. and we have these nice two way phones that call a translator in almost any language if im really in a bind. luckily there is usually a nurse or an aide who knows spanish working with me as well, but it would totally make my life easier if i knew spanish. if you have a chance to take some spanish classes, do it!

    i am fluent in ASL, which i thought would be really useful. I have yet to have a deaf patient. haha
  13. by   RNperdiem
    While it probably won't help you get into school or find a job, some ability in a foreign language is a skill that can make your life easier.
    I won't quite call myself fluent in Spanish, but I can maintain a conversation and do patient care. I once had a patient who was Brazilian and spoke Portugese as his first language, but also spoke Spanish. The aide was Spanish speaking, so we picked Spanish as the language to use when his wife wasn't at the bedside to translate into English.
    Learn a new language and suprise your co-workers with you hidden talent!
  14. by   Meriwhen
    Being bilingual or trilingual is a huge plus nowadays.

    Will it guarantee you a job or admittance to nursing school? No. But it can't hurt...and would more likely help your chances.