opening up nursing the profession to spanish speakers? - page 2

I just posted a thread called, " Is there cultural diversity in the nursing profession?" and on a similar topic I would like to put out another question. I am a C.N.A. and have noticed that maybe as... Read More

  1. by   Flo1216
    Nobody is keeping Spanish speakers from becoming nurses. If they want to do it bad enough then they will brush up on their English skills and work hard just like everyone else. We recruit nurses from the Phillipines all the time and they have to work on their English as well before they take their boards in the U.S. It's the same thing with the doctors who come from other countries. If they truly have the desire to become nurses, then they will succeed.
  2. by   Flo1216
    And while I am on the subject...I work in a predominately hispanic community and a large number of my patients speak ONLY Spanish. It can get extremely frustrating, especially in places like the ER, maternity and the clinic. We constantly have to get Spanish speaking staff to interpret, which they resent because they weren't hired to be interpreters and they have their own jobs to do. I don't know why this country makes it so easy for the hispanic population to get by without learning English. It just makes it harder on everyone else, especially in the medical profession. Immigrants from non-spanish speaking countries do not have the luxury of having everthing translated into their native language, thus they are forced to learn English. Hey, I think it is wonderful to be bilingual and I am working on my Spanish because I want to be able to communicate with my patients. However, I do think that if you move to a foreign nation you should at least make an attempt to learn the language, for crying out loud.
  3. by   Pamelita
    Hey guys... Its true if you live here you should learn to speak english... but that's easy to say than done. Can you imagine being in your 50's and coming to a whole new country??? getting used to the culture, people etc and learn a whole new language? Sometimes when I get comments about some people because I speak spanish not good comments, something like: speak english in a rude way! I think, gosh I wanna see YOU in a spanish country and HOW Long it would take YOU to learn fluent spanish.
    we always have to look both sides of the picture.
  4. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    You don't have to be fluent in English to function in competent communication.

    I would say though, that any nurse coming to this country should understand that the highest of priorities would be on learning to communicate and understand English in order to be a functioning part of a technologicly advanced industry where peoples very lives count on it.. In this industry such autonomy is afforded them,as to make them dangerous. An understanding is obtained through effort .

    We are,as a nation,communicating in English and taking for granted the understanding of our words,but our nursing schools are apparently handing out free passes.

    As an example:

    I was confering over the chart of a patient the other day with a woman that I am paired with to assist this sweet little old lady in 3 hours of basic nursing care. I didn't understand why I was paired with another student since we had all just been checked off on these procedures in order to enter the clinical setting as caregivers. It was clear after a few minutes of looking at her blank expression of fear,and hearing no input from my comments,why she was paired with another student. My partner did not understand English thoroughly enough to be able to communicate whatever she was thinking.

    The rest of the clinical day proceded with nods and various gestures of understanding where there was none. Our 100 y/o patient didn't happen to be fluent in her chosen language so she was out of luck too.

    This student is intelligent enough to pass through(without special consideration???) all the prerequisites...........[B]even English composition!!!!![/B How the hell did that happen? I had to bust my butt,and I can communicate effectively.
    I wonder what other allowances will be made for her as we progress into the profession that will put all of us in danger. I can see my NM somewhere in the future saying "your license is going to the BON for reveiw,you and that --------- nurse killed Mr. Smith. You should have known that ---------- nurse you were orienting couldn't understand Mr. Smith!"

    Who needs to learn English anyway? ]
  5. by   Rustyhammer
    Originally posted by CaliNurse
    Every facility that I have ever worked in has an "English" only rule. You must speak english in the workplace unless you are on your break, out of the clinical area or translating for a patient. I doesn't matter what the other language is.
    I don't understand this english only rule.
    What is the point of it?
    We have english, spanish and several dialects of Indian spoken here and noone has ever said we should speak english only.
    The only rule here is that you must be able to read and write english and even that rule is overlooked at times for houskeeping and kitchen staff.
    Is this a california thing?
  6. by   Teshiee
    I agree with most of you but when you step in the hospital in America the language is English it is a real bonus to have a second, third, or even fourth language but it still doesn't dismiss the fact that because it is a standard language in the health care setting we have to competent in speaking it. When someone comes to a country to live regardless of age you are responsible in learning that language, culture to assimilate into the main stream. Accomodating to a point where it is a handicap is really frustrating. California has a large hispanic population unfortunately we don't have enough nurses that are fluent in Spanish and it can impose frustration when neither can communicate. Eventually you get some words here and there but it is not enough. I notice there are more classes that offered for the medical profession to learn medical terms in Spanish.
  7. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    By Rusty

    I don't understand this english only rule.
    I take it you've not had trouble communicating in a practical way to coworkers,or had any speak to other people in the same conversation only in thier foreign language as you stare obliviousely as they do when you speak.

    The problem cited in my above post (courtesy of the nursing shortage) is coming to a hospital floor near you!

    Can your license afford to be left out of a conversation because the person with the information you need is inept at communicating it to you in English?

    Even if we learn all the languages in the world,we won't grasp the dialect unless we live in that country.......That leaves us out.

    I have a daughter-in-law that has 4 years of highschool Spanish and 2 years at the college level and couldn't tell you what a hispanic person of any dialect is saying even though she is an "A" student. She says they talk too fast and use slang,just as we do.

    So what would the answer be if not for an "all English" rule?
  8. by   Gomer
    Two standards that made America were public schooling and a common language.

    Public schooling gave all an opportunity at being educated (unlike in the European class system).

    Common language brought us together as a people. All immigrants who spoke a non-English language quickly learned that to suvive and succeed English would be their new language. It was the only language in whcih children were taught (in the new public schools). When and why did this stop?

    Yes, be proud of your heritage, your culture, your family tradition, even your language...but learn English, or (dare I say it) go back where you came from!
  9. by   Q.
    Originally posted by Peeps Mcarthur

    Can your license afford to be left out of a conversation because the person with the information you need is inept at communicating it to you in English?

    So what would the answer be if not for an "all English" rule?
    I never looked at it that way, but was reminded of two people I worked with in L&D. One was an RN from Nigeria, who spoke English but had the thickest African accent, and the other was an Obstetrician, fluent in both Spanish and English, but again, had a very thick Colombian accent.

    After working with both of them for many years, came to understand them, but remembered how difficult it was for new nurses to understand them - especially the OB giving orders over the phone. Often times new nurses would hand the phone to me to take his orders because she couldn't understand. What if I hadn't been there? What if she heard increase the pitocin by 5mu's and not leave the pitocin where it is, as was ordered?

    Interesting perspective, Peeps. And a scary one indeed.
  10. by   researchrabbit
    One of my nursing school buddies was from Peru. She graduated (just barely, due to the language barrier) yet was extremely competent. She was hardworking and smart and usually had at least one and sometimes two more patients than the rest of us in clinicals. She also passed the NCLEX on her second try.

    She and others like her are very much needed. In some of the KS hospitals, some units would wind up having housekeeping staff translate if paid translators or other staff that could be pulled were not available...and not to put down housekeeping, they do a decent job in a pinch, but they are not medically trained; not only do you have a potential confidentiality nightmare, but mistranslations are possible too if the person translating doesn't use the correct terminology to elicit the information.

    Easy to say "go back to where you came from" but we have all these people in the hospital who can't go back right this second and have to be treated NOW. can't make anyone "go back" if they're legal immigrants. And if they have been accepted and choose to make a home here, they can tell YOU to "go back" if you don't like it. I've never liked that particular phrase, it's an easy out that gets used all the time and it's not a solution.

    People who came here as adults obviously didn't have our public schools to learn English in. Their children will learn English, though, because they'll want to fit in and get better jobs than mom & dad.
  11. by   Gomer
    Yes, I can't tell people to go back to where they came from...frustration lead me to type that. I just don't understand what changed in this country. My father came here from Poland and spoke very little English...but he learned (on the streets...not in school and no TV then either)...he was required to learn if he wanted to make it, what happened? Why do those non-English speaking people think it is up to English-speaking people to learn other languages? Or, why do some English-speaking people (politicians, educators, etc) push for bi-lingual education?
  12. by   researchrabbit
    Thanks Gomer.

    One factor is that people can come and go so easily. When people emigrated prior to the 30s, it cost a lot more time, effort and money to go back to visit. Once you were here, you were here. But now you can be here but still visit parents/extended family who still live in the old country.

    Another factor is that all of us are more likely to want accommodation to do things our way...I can remember when stores were closed on Sunday, you couldn't get liquour legally in this state, and Gilligan's Island was prime time entertainment. My grandfather was a third generation immigrant. HE spoke English but his parents didn't (they spoke German. They sold their farm produce through a middleman who spoke German and English).

    Our job market has been booming. That attracted a lot of people who want to work...and if they work in businesses that hire former fellow countrymen (like the folks who roofed my friend's house two weeks ago), there is less reason to learn the new language quickly.

    Their children will speak beautiful English, even with a bilingual classroom...that's because they want to fit in. But the adults may never learn, like my great-grandparents...
  13. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Here's an idea,

    When you have a pt that doesn't speak English,how about one of those communication boards for aphasic pts?

    It's been ten years since I was on a floor,but we used to use them for trached and too medicated to write or an occupational learning tool. Really handy when they brought you up three floors for a vent alarm and the pt merely wants a drink of water

    Why couldn't your pts communicate important matters that way?

    Are those things still around?