Surgeon halts operation over foreign nurses' poor English - page 2

Zounds! Figured it would come to this ... notice the idiot suits are threatening the Doctor ... suits not at all medically-oriented with concern for standards and safety -- or common sense :o ... Read More

  1. by   sunnybrook83
    Pat on the back for the surgeon. Now if only nurses could do the same with physicians who do not speak the country's language clearly. I'm sure most of us have dealt with a MD/DO who isn't fluent in English and have had to try and translate what he's saying. I had a Doc who was Chinese giving me orders over the phone- I could NOT understand what he was saying. I kept asking him to repeat it and he finally spelled it- his English was so poor that Icouldn't even understand what he was spelling!!! The kicker is HE told ME to find someone who spoke English!!! I got off the phone and started laughing. Oh well....:roll
  2. by   rbez
    Originally posted by RNanne
    I heard that down in Texas?? they are mandating that nurses take 2 years of Spanish to accomodate the non-English speaking patients. While I know that the world is getting smaller and we need to be able to speak some foreign languages, the nursing field is no place to have non-english competent staff. ARRRRRGGGGG. It is just a sin.:imbar
    RNanne -- What you heard is absolutely true -- the University of Texas is are mandating Spanish for for their BSN's. Their mission is to serve the people of Texas, and in many parts of our state Spanish is the dominant language. Is that a bad thing?

    I think that having a multi-lingual staff is terrific. The pot-lucks are definitely a lot more interesting. Here in Houston, we attract healthcare professionals from all over the world. I'm glad that they are there -- 'cause a lot of our patients come from those same countries. Quite a few facilities in this area conduct regular educational programs to to make sure that their caregivers are sensitive to multicultural health care practices.

    However, your point about difficulties in communication are valid. With a diverse staff, it takes a lot more time and effort to make sure that everyone understands one another. This usually requires special attention to problematic areas (like phone orders) in order to prevent communication problems from ocurring. With the increasing amount of foreign nurse recruiting that is going on, I can see how this could be a potentially worsening situation.
  3. by   MollyMo
    The hospital where I work posts all open positions "bilingual preferred." They pay more per hour for bilingual nurses. But they require all staff to speak English while on the clock. Employees have been reprimanded for speaking their native language to each other while working.
  4. by   RNanne
    Rbez---Yes, I think that we indeed need to be multicultural. This world is getting smaller and smaller and we need to somehow rise to the problem of language barriers. And no I don't think it is a bad thing for a nurse to be able to speak Spanish especially in the border states. After all it is the fastest growing population in the US. I do have a problem tho with those who have been here and don't make the effort to learn English. My main point was that everyone is in an unsafe place if we can not commicate with each other at the workplace. I guess hospitals just want warm bodies and are not investing enough in staff development and trouble-shooting. There should have been a plan in place to defuse the problem in the OR. Wasn't there not anyone there to help with the language problem when it arose??? Someone should have realized there was a problem before a surgery had to be stopped, for heavens sake. And can you imagine how they are setting up foreign nurses to fail when there are no back up systems or ongoing language education or something to help them. They are willing, just help them out a little. Of course, they need to do their part also. My b-i-l is from Germany. He speaks seven languages fluently. I don't know what the answers are, and the solutions will come slowly as we are in a changing world. We never needed to learn foreign languages before. I am from Montana. Where am I going to use any kind of foreign language even if I wanted to learn one? Anyway just some thoughts. Annie
  5. by   donmurray
    "Mr" is the accepted form of address for a consultant (senior)surgeon in the UK. They are Dr's, but I'm not sure of the origin. Something to do with barbers being the original surgeons. Besides, it helps to make them feel special!
    Last edit by donmurray on Jul 23, '02
  6. by   cbs3143
    Another point that I don't believe anyone has brought up is that medical terminology is a separate extension of whaterver dominant language is being spoken. The majority of our patients here speak English, but if we use medical terminology in their presence, watch how quickly they get confused. Now take a nurse who speaks a foreign language and is learning English to assimilate into her new life. He/she not only has to learn conversational English, but also the medical terminology related to their job.

    I have a friend who was born and raised in Austria. German was his primary language, but he also speaks fluent English and is now a naturalized citizen. He worked for a corporation who wanted to make a brochure for their products to be sold in German speaking countries. He tried to help write the brochure in technical language. He could not. He had spoken German his entire life, but had not been schooled in the technical terminology until he came to the US and learned it in English.

    Remember our struggles with medical terminology? What each root, prefix and suffix meant and how and when to link them? Even then there are some that don't follow the rules. I can see that we can really get into a huge mess unless foreign nurses not only speak English, but speak English medical terminology. My apologies to our brothers and sisters speaking the Queen's English. We Yanks will probably never get used to the extra letters in some of the terms, or the differences in pronunsciation (as my old friend Popeye would say). Just kidding. We love our nurses from the UK, Down Under, and throughout the world :kiss

    I'm just saying that there is a bigger problem here than just not speaking the predominant language of the country you practice in. The technical language must also be learned.

  7. by   RNanne
    Chuck, right on. It must be a daunting task to learn to speak English, medical terminology plus the cultural differences. How would you like to go try and practice in Niarobi or Portugal??? WHEW.
  8. by   NurseDennie
    Originally posted by fedupnurse
    IWhat is with this Doc being called Mr. Dunn. IS that common in England???
    Yes, quite common. - In England, docs, vets, are referred to as Mr. I can't recall anybody being addressed or referred to as Dr. Something. Although we would talk to someone as Doctor as if that was his name. I don't recall how they do that with vetrinarians in England.


  9. by   fab4fan
    I'm probably going to get flamed for saying this, and I say it as someone fluent in Spanish and utilized frequently as an interpreter...I don't think nursing students should be FORCED to take 2 years of Spanish, or any foreign language for that matter.

    There is a certain degree of affinity for learning a foreign language...some of the people in my classes were much smarter than me, but hopeless when it came to Spanish. Why should someone louse up a GPA trying to grasp a language?

    If a student wants to learn a foreign language, that's great. But he/she shouldn't be forced to do it at gunpoint.
  10. by   shay
    Oh, please. If the nurse can't master medical terminology in the new language, YET ANOTHER REASON not to be practicing in said country. Would we be so 'forgiving' of english-speaking new grads who couldn't master medical terminology? I DON'T THINK SO. If you're gonna practice medicine, YOU NEED TO KNOW MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY, ESPECIALLY IN THE DOMINANT LANGUAGE IN THE COUNTRY WHERE YOU'LL BE PRACTICING.

    Gawd. All this pc bleeding heart crap makes me want to vomit. No one should practice in medicine or nursing in ANY country where they DO NOT SPEAK THE LANGUAGE. Period.
  11. by   fedupnurse
    Don't think the docs here would tolerate being called Mr.!!!
    I don't think you should have to take a second language but as I stated and Shay also stated, it is imperative to know the "native language" of the country you are working in. If I up ad move to Spain I damn well better learn Spanish! I too work with many foreign born nurses and it is very difficult to understand many of them and they have been here for years in most cases.
    By the same token, I as an English speaking American should not be required to speak anything other than English.
    Last edit by fedupnurse on Jul 22, '02
  12. by   cbs3143
    Shay, I don't know if you misunderstood my post, but I'm not supportive of any PC bleeding heart ********. I'm only pointing out that not only do these imports need to be fluent in the language, they must be fluent in the appropriate medical terminology. If you read my post, you'll see my concern about foreign nurses who not only can't speak the dominant language, but put us at further risk by not knowing the language of the profession. If we went overseas, they sure as hell wouldn't put up with it from us. I was only pointing out a further hurdle that the foreign nurse should clear before being allowed to practice. After all we did it. And if a patient dies because a nurse doesn't know the language, the recruiters and the hiring facility should have their asses sued off.

    If I didn't express myself adequately, I'm sorry, otherwise, chill out. We are concerned about the same thing. The last thing that I have in my body is a PC bleeding heart. If someone comes to this country, they'd damn sure better be able to adapt to us, but that's not the way that the ^$^&(*_)$%@ liberals make things work out.

    If I decided to practice nursing in Nairobi or Timbuk Tu, I'd better have a good handle on their language and their medical terminology before I accept a position there. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.


    Last edit by cbs3143 on Jul 22, '02
  13. by   shay
    Point made, point taken, Chuck. Didn't get that vibe from your post the first time around, for some reason (PMS brain maybe? dunno...) I read it as you saying (in your best high-pitched flowery voice...) 'oh, the average person has a hard time understanding medical terminology, we should cut these foreign nurses some slack.' That's why I came back all toothy and "*****!??" Hey, believe me, I totally expect some pansy-a$$ liberal to come toodling onto this thread and say how we should be more tolerant of 'cultural diversity' or some stupid crap like that. My response? can be 'diverse' when YOU'RE under the knife. Me? I don't care if my nurse is from Mars, but she'd better have a damn good working knowledge of the English language.

    Sorry I jumped your butt. Peace, and glad you're a liberal-hating nurse like me.