Trouble c accents at work? - page 2

I have a really hard time with language accents be it either foreign or regional dialects. I had an altercation with a house supervisor the other day who accused me of not listening when I did not... Read More

  1. by   all4schwa
    I just don't get why someone for whom english is second language would be insulted to find out they have an accent . You OBVIOUSLY know that you have an accent. If a person is frequently asked to repeat them selves, then they should get a clue that you have something you need to work on. These people have chosen to work with the public, devoting their lives to healing, teaching and caring for others... At least I thought that's their motive. If nobody can understand you, who are you helping? Some of these docs i'm calling at night (some hospitalist, internal med team, resident on call, family health clinic...), i can't even understand the letters they are saying to spell out their name!! And, why is it i can work well with the nurses from india and never misunderstand them, but i can't understand the doctors? because they're on the phone right? yeah.
  2. by   all4schwa
    Quote from nialloh
    If I want you to understand something, It's my job to make myself understood. Not yours. I already know what I want to say, and I have to make sure you do too.
  3. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from earle58
    commuter, educate me please?
    why is it offensive to be told one has an accent?
    It is offensive to be told, "You have a funny little accent" by the local people when they're blissfully unaware that they have a deep Texas drawl. People need to place more thought into their statements before they actually make the statement.
  4. by   Suninmyheart
    Yes, accents ARE relative. In that sense we ALL have accents and there is nothing offensive about that.

    The house supervisor who was rude to me was out of line - period!

    Commuter - What should I have done? Pretended to have understood her so as NOT to offend her? I don't get your perspective on this.
  5. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from suninmyeyes
    Commuter - What should I have done? Pretended to have understood her so as NOT to offend her? I don't get your perspective on this.
    My perspective on this issue is based on my personal, totally unique experiences. People have absolutely no problems with understanding my speech because I always utilize proper, standard English. My main issue is that some narrow-minded individuals possess the annoying tendency to say, "You have a funny little accent..."

    I may also think that your manner of speaking sounds funny, but I don't have the boldness to tell you.

    Perhaps you should have asked her to clarify without telling her that she has an accent.
  6. by   EmerNurse
    You want accents, come to my neck of the woods. I'm sure I have a little bit of an accent (I've lived all around the country and have generally diluted my philly accent except when I'm mad LOL). However, where I work, there is a heavy hispanic population and I've run into a few docs and nurses that I can't understand to save my (or my pts) life, and yes I DO ask them to repeat until I understand.

    Had one nurse I worked with - excellent nurse - but her english skills were just awful. She would speak in spanish whenever possible - getting report when you dont speak spanish was nearly impossible. She knew she had a heavy accent and was sheepish about it, but never did try to reduce it by taking a course or whatever. Here in my area, though, many staff and patients are hispanic, so it's really only a problem for us poor folks who don't speak that language.

    Have one doc (of many with an accent) who's accent is so heavy, he's VERY hard to understand on the phone. I always ask him to repeat everything, citing the loud folks in the waiting room LOL. Thankfully, he's very patient about repeating himself.
  7. by   rngreenhorn
    Quote from P_RN
    When y'all say accent are y'all speakin' about dialect too? Seems I can spread the molasses with the best'o them.
    Now y'all lemme know what y'all think Kay?
    Do y'all know what the plural form of y'all is?

    Answer: all y'all
  8. by   sandys
    Try being a medical transcriptionist for these people! Some of them are so hard to understand that you have to leave every other word blank. How is that for patient care? When they dictate most of them just start rattling it off as quickly as they please. Do they not realize there is an actual live person who has to transcribe that stuff? I have left jobs and turned down jobs for hospitals with large numbers of foreign doctors just because I don't need the frustration. I wish at the very least they realized they were difficult to understand and would not eat, speed talk, yawn, etc., while dictating.
  9. by   June55Baby
    Cute rngreenhorn! ! !

    I am from the South, born and bred and proud of my soft Suthrn accent! I've always received compliments on my accent. Only had trouble once when I was giving a gal from Missouri (is that Missouree or Missoura) a recipe for Boiled Cookies, but she thought I was saying Balled Cookies. We had a great laugh over that and she has never let me forget it!

    My new DIL who is from Las Vegas is so excited because she is acquiring a Suthrn Drawl! Now she says Wiiiiife with the best of us!
  10. by   newbiern2006
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I'm originally from California and moved to Texas last year. I am constantly being asked this question: "Where are you from?"

    People never have any problems whatsoever with comprehending what I say because I speak proper English. I personally think I am asked the annoying question because I'm an African-American female who speaks standard English. The majority of the black people around here speak English using African-American English Vernacular or a deep Texas drawl.

    To the original poster: it is tremendously annoying for an individual to be told that (s)he has an accent. I can see why your house supervisor became offended.
    Why is it annoying to be told you have an accent? I lived in Georgia for three years, it didn't bother me at all if someone said I had an accent - because I DID, for heaven's sake! I also talk fast (a cultural thing), and had to learn to slow down to be understood - that wasn't offensive either, it's just the way it was. I had to ask the Southerners to repeat a few things, too, it was no big deal. As far as foreign-born nurses go, I find the most difficult accents to understand are Indian and African. If I don't understand something, I politely ask them to repeat it, and none of my coworkers have been the least bit offended.
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    Standard American is an accent too. It is not the Queens English, which is also an accent.

    Once in New Orleans I waited in line to order a "Po-Boy". The woman behind me seemed surprised as she said, "You not from heeya."

    Many of us in California say "sher" instead of "shure". English IS crazy.
    I've had families insist I am not the nurse they talked to on the phone because, "It was a white woman." I just say, "No it was me."
    Usually they listen carefully and realize it was my voice and their image of how I would look. They think I'm younger on the phone too!

    I visited a cousin in Amarillo. My former Okie accent emerged so her Texan friends teased that people in Oklahoma think macaroni and cheese is a vegetable.

    Seriously I've never had a nurse upset when asked to repeat what he or she said. Impatient physicians are a different story.
    An older Korean nurse had to repeat so often report took twice as long. Her charting was excellent.
    The young nurses from Korea speak just like they grew up here. They start learning in grade school with American teachers.
  12. by   prmenrs
    Just like in the US, foreign born nurses from the same country, but different areas, have differing degrees of accents, speeds of talking, and degrees of understandability.

    I work w/many Filipino nurses (they're in the majority in my unit), some are very easy to understand, others are nearly impossible. Length of time in this country doesn't seem to make a difference. In theory, they all speak Tagalog, but if they come from Ilo-Ilo or Mindanao or ??, their English is totally different from a nurse who came from Manila or other areas of Luzon.

    I think it would be a great idea if hospitals would offer (and encourage) accent reduction via Speech Therapy. It should focus on "phonemic awareness". And a little self-awareness that one HAS an accent would make a big difference. If I had to go work in China, I'd better believe I've got an accent!!
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    I know a nurse who took an accent reduction class. She sounds like she grew up here.