Trouble c accents at work? - page 4

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   UKRNinUSA
    I have an accent. I am teased on a daily basis about it. I also speak faster when I am stressed or angry. I tend to speak with less of an accent on the phone. People ask me every day where I'm from, tell me "you have such a cute accent", etc etc. I got used to it. If I find someone getting on my case about it TOO much I threaten them with an ethnic harrassment lawsuit (in a joking manner) or ask them if they want to accompany me outside for a "Glasgow Kiss" (headbutt). They usually get the point and lay off me. The irony of this situation is that I developed this heavy accent at the age of 5 after moving from England to Scotland purely for my own survival (see the movie Braveheart to understand why the Scots don't like the English) and it has stuck with me. I think as a nation of immigrants we should be a little more tolerant of each other and embrace our differences - doesn't it make things a bit more interesting? A healthy sense of humor with the ability to laugh at yourself helps too.
  2. by   storm06
    I looked after an American guy who kept asking all the nurses to "say G'Day" It got a bit dull after a while,,,,:zzzzz

    I have to admit one thing that has always scared me about working in the US is I have no idea what '1cc' amounts to in mls or how to convert pounds, miles, grams, kg's ect from the metric system.
    And I even watch ER, with out fail,,,,,, and I still don't get it. My worst nightmare is someone asking me to convert from metric,,,, stress material! Also the difference in spelling - does my head in,, esp when my uni books are American, I have problems spelling Australian without getting big red cricles on my work and "you are not American" written on my assignments.
    If I have difficulty understanding an accent, I simply say sorry, no worries, she'l be right mate, whatcha want again?, I'll throw another shrimp on the barbie for ya hay?

    I dont think its a hanging offence to have difficulty understanding accents. As long as people are polite about it I can't see why admitting that you can't understand what is being said should be a problem.

    Agree with UKRN about having a healthy sense of humour. I am sure there are just as many people who couldn't understand me as i coundn't understand them.
  3. by   jmtndl
    I think diversity is fine and I don't think accents...per se.. are the point. We are not all about tolerence of accent or no tolerence of accents.We are supposed to be about the patient. I work in a facility that deals primarily with the acutely ill elderly. These patients are not form Nigeria or India or Pakistan or Mexico. They are from the United States.How frightning must it be to be ill and elderly...then to have to try to communicate your pain...ill feeling...anxiety with someone you cannot understand and who obviously doesn't understand you. To me it shows a distinct disrespect for your patient to not to try to eliminate the barriers of communication that prevent you from being effective in the language of the country in which you practice.I am offended at having to work with health care "professionals" who consider the patient unimportant...and when they make no effort to recognize and correct their inability to communicate they are loudly proclaiming just how unimportant the patients are.
  4. by   arpeggiated
    1 cc = 1mL, but you aren't supposed to use cc's anymore. Just mL's everywhere.

    30ml= 1 oz. They teach you the conversions, and they're pretty simple.
  5. by   adrienurse
    I have a tendancy of repeating what I've been told to myself in order to understand it. It makes me sound dense I know, it also insaults people cause it sounds like I'm trying to correct their english by repeating what they said in my own accent. It's a quirk that helps me, but it can also give the chance to the other person to verify I've understood what they've said.

    I guess I have what you would call a mid-western accent. Add to that a few canadianisms and the fact that I lose my h's and turn my th's to d's and take on a french canadian accent when I'm tired or lazy or around others with the same accent. I can understand why I might be hard to understand sometimes.
  6. by   1OldDinosaurRN
    i've been asked many times where i am from, and when i tell them they all say "i thought you were swedish or something with that accent". (i am from both ohio and ky) no, i am just hearing impaired i tell them, that's where the accent comes from!! i never got offended, i always thought it was pretty funny in fact.
    but, i agree on the difficulty of understanding some professionals with thick accents of any type. especially for those who are hearing impaired, like many of our older folks. i love the diversity of the usa, that is what makes us "us". however, i do feel that since english is the national language, everyone who lives here needs to be able to converse understandably in it.
    i know if i were to move to another country, i would take any and all classes i could (preferably before i moved if possible) so that i could understand and be understood in my new home. that is a huge part of being human....communication!! i think we should all do whatever it takes to be able to communicate with our peers and patients effectively. that said, we do need to practice a little patience. i really appreciate that 99% of the people i've had to ask to repeat themselves for the last 43 years have been patient with me.
    just my 2c, having been on both ends of this!
  7. by   mercurygirl
    I find that complimenting the accent can diffuse some of the tension in telling a person you can't understand them. I prefer the old more flies c honey than vinegar philosophy of life. I often say "I love the cadence of your speech, but sometimes I have trouble understanding you. Can you repeat that, but a bit slower?" & I have yet to offend any one with that. No one wants to be told that the way they speak can't be understood, lol. When I moved from PA to MN I had to learn to talk slower as most people couldn't understand me at all.
  8. by   lorster
    Let me give it to you from a patients perspective. I'm a nurse in a small northwestern town. No accents to speak of so this is never an issue for me. I traveled to a big hospital in Seattle for a health problem as my facility did not specialize in my type of problem. The nurses who took care of me spoke very broken english. I had a very difficult time understanding them and when I asked for Phenergan...they repeated it to me but it didn't sound like Phenergan. So, I just prayed that that is the drug I was given in my IV, lol. Overall the care and skill provided by them was top notch. It was just that I didn't understand a single thing they said to me.
  9. by   all4schwa
    Again, last night, doc breathing down my neck with stat orders!! I had ask him to repeat himself 20 times. Finally, the american doc that was working with him started interpreting. I don't doubt his intelligence, it's just so frustrating and it makes me feel bad!
  10. by   AliRae
    Quote from scribblerrn
    Once I got back to work from being at home, the people at work would tease me saying they knew I had gone home to get "charged up!"
    As an dual citizen with Canadian parents and a hybrid Toronto/North Jersey accent, I can totally relate to this one. Within 5 minutes of meeting me, most people ask "Wait, but WHERE are you from?" I say Jersey, they get confused, I explain about my parents and my Canadian pride, and we're pretty much good to go. I get some good-natured ribbing from my fellow nurses, especially after being up north visiting family. They say they can always tell. It's never bothered me though. It actually keeps things easy- I share a name with one of our HNs, and they just call me Canada when we're both working. =)
  11. by   rehab nurse

    this is a cute quiz that will tell you which American "accent" you have, based on the regions of the US. It was accurate for me. I live in the midwest and reading the quiz I could picture different areas I have friends from and seeing THEM saying the words.

    For the OP, I mostly have trouble with accents when speaking on the phone. When I'm in person, I can usually understand them because I read their lips. However, I do have to have people repeat theselves occasionally, and once someone did become upset because I had to ask her to repeat herself so much. This was a co-worker who is originally from India. I still work with her, and out of 6 years, this was the only time I could not understand. We laugh about it now, but she was upset with me at the time. A lot of the doctors have difficulty understanding some of the nurses. We do have a lot of foreign born nurses, mostly from the Philippines and from India.
    One time in fact, a nurse did not hear a physician give orders and some orders were missed (stat CBC and lytes, BC's, U/A, vitals, CXR) and the patient did have sepsis. The doc called back four hours later (our turnaround time for labs and xrays...LTC) and was livid that nothing had been done. Had to start a IV for some IV ABT and she went out for a PICC the next day. She recovered, but only after many weeks of ABT. She was relatively young and healthy to begin with, but became septic after a hip replacement. That was very scary for all involved. I don't know if anything happened to the nurse, but she still works there. I was called over to do the blood draws, that's the only reason I know. The nurse came to me, very upset.
    I know myself, that people have difficulty understanding me if I talk to fast. I really have learned to slow down my speech if I am upset, or working very quickly (code for example) because people have said I am talking to fast and running my words together.
    I hope the OP can find a solution.

    *sorry for any grammar or spelling errors, my keyboard is sticking and driving me crazy*
  12. by   Anagray
    I am a foreigner (from Russia), but I don't have much of an accent thank God.
    I think it is totally OK to tell someone to repeat what they are saying and tell them why you are not understanding them. I can see if we were doing a job on which human lives did not depend, but in this case things must be clear.

    I joke around at work, that since I got my citizenship last year I can now say to my immigrant friends "speak English" and " you are taking our jobs" !

  13. by   EmerNurse
    Wow that quiz pinpointed me RIGHT to the city I was raised in - how cool.

    Guess I do have an accent after all, huh?