What do you think???

  1. Hi all,

    I came across a situation the other day and was wondering if anyone else might have an opinion on this subject.

    I am in nusing school and one of my classmates is from Korea. Now being a minority myself (im Japaneese) I am not trying to sound predjudiced...but she is a transfer student from Korea and has been in the US for a bit (that is what she told the class). Her english is not very good and she has a very hard time understanding the instructor, ie. she said "I not speak english well can you go slow or repeat things?" i say that as a direct qoute. I was wondering do any of you kind of have a problem with her going into nursing? I mean its great what she is doing but if she cant communicate efficiently with her patients do you think that compromises her patients well being, ie do you think she could misunderstand or not understand and make a mistake?

    what do you guys think, i was a little worried, i thought to myself if she cant even understand our teacher that well then will she be able to understand and fully comprehend what the patients are saying?
    Last edit by galaxy781 on Apr 26, '05
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    About galaxy781

    Joined: Apr '05; Posts: 147; Likes: 4
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    49 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Hmm - I guess I would need to know the circumstances of her transfer. I have lived in both Japan (3 1/2 years) and Korea (2 years) and English is taught in both countries. Is this some kind of exchange program where she comes here for a semester abroad and then returns to Korea? Or has she moved here and is actually pursuing a nursing degree?
  4. by   galaxy781
    Quote from traumaRUs
    Hmm - I guess I would need to know the circumstances of her transfer. I have lived in both Japan (3 1/2 years) and Korea (2 years) and English is taught in both countries. Is this some kind of exchange program where she comes here for a semester abroad and then returns to Korea? Or has she moved here and is actually pursuing a nursing degree?

    from what i got from her, she moved here and is pursing a nursing degree in this country. I am just thinking that what if she misunderstands a pt or mixes something up bc of the language barrier. I think nursing should be very diverse but I think everyone should be completely fluent in english so that they can grasp the full idea of what is going on at all times, especially if patients lives are on the line? what do you guys think??
  5. by   housecat1216
    I thought that most colleges require students for whom english is a second language to pass some type of proficency test in order to be admitted?

    Hopefully her skills will improve as time goes by, if not I'm sure that her performance in clinicals will be less than optimal. How long does she have until she graduates? Maybe by then she'll be better. Also, she must be able to read and write english pretty well in order to do well on tests, papers, care plans, etc.

    In the end, you have to be able to communicate with the patients, doctors, other nurses, cna's, ( the list goes on) in order to be effective, in my opinion.
  6. by   galaxy781
    Quote from housecat1216
    I thought that most colleges require students for whom english is a second language to pass some type of proficency test in order to be admitted?

    Hopefully her skills will improve as time goes by, if not I'm sure that her performance in clinicals will be less than optimal. How long does she have until she graduates? Maybe by then she'll be better. Also, she must be able to read and write english pretty well in order to do well on tests, papers, care plans, etc.

    In the end, you have to be able to communicate with the patients, doctors, other nurses, cna's, ( the list goes on) in order to be effective, in my opinion.
    I agree, we are about to start clinicals in about a month. I know that on the application for my school it asks questions about the TOEFL test (i think thats what they call it, the english as a second language test) so she must have passed it but nevertheless her english in class is not good at all, she has a very hard time putting sentences together i've noticed and she notates in Korean, which isn't bad but I doubt thats helping her learn the language any..I am interested to see how she does in clinicals. My teacher the other day said something to the extent of, "we have a test over chapter one and three next thursday" she had to have our instructor repeat it three times before she registered what she was saying. Im sure she is a really smart girl, seeing as though i doubt i could be fluent in korean!! but i just dont see how she can get around that barrier in the health field? (that is until she becomes completely fluent)
  7. by   little__angel
    Im a nursing student in the UK and there was a girl on my course who had the same problem, she had trouble understanding the English language. The time she spent on the wards the staff nurses used to just sign her off as being competent as it was the easier way!

    Eventually she walked on a ward and they were bombarded with complaints from patients about the fact she was not competent in her work mainly due to the language barrier. The ward complained to the university and she had since been told to leave.

    I often wonder how these people get through the "net" and I think they need to be more strict when it comes to students who are not fluent in the language
  8. by   galaxy781
    I totally agree,

    I was thinking about it and I thought, what if I were seriously ill and was in the hospital?? Not to offend anyone but, I wouldnt not want a nurse who couldn't understand me well! I would be worried to say the least! Yes I often wonder how people slip through the net also, I mean we are so far along already you would think that she wouldnt have made it this far! Who Knows....
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I am wondering how she got by the English proficiency requirement.....something was missed along the way. I would be concerned, too.
  10. by   sunnyjohn
    Spoken English is often more difficult to grasp than written English. This is true mainly because of the difficulty of English grammar rules, the syntax of the speaker and varying context.

    The same is true for most persons learning another language. You can often "read" it before you can "say" it.

    Her spoken English will improve with practice. It sounds like she still has above average spoken skills for a non-native speaker in an immersion situation for only a short time. Her immersion in an English only classroom will drastically improve her spoken skills.

    Notating in her native tongue is probably still an easier visual cue. When she studies, she probably grasps more of the info this way. It will also help her to become familiar with translatable words from both languages. The shear volume of nursing material is most likely the main reason she does this.

    When you find yourself "thinking" in the other language, then you know you are well on your way.

    I am sure your clinical instructors have already noted that they will have to help her with syntax errors that may be critical.

    They watch nursing students like hawks don't they? I doubt you instructor will risk her license or the reputation of your collegeby letting any of you make any mistakes.

    As difficult as it is to get into nursing school, and as many people as there are lined up to get in, I doubt a person could get away with not getting the required score on the TOEFL, especially if you school required it.

    She will most likely always have an accent, but her verbal skills will be quite understandable even to a most distressed listener in a few months.

    Agape
    Last edit by sunnyjohn on Apr 22, '05
  11. by   galaxy781
    Quote from sunnyjohn
    Spoken English is often more difficult to grasp than written English. This is true mainly because of the difficulty of English grammar rules, the syntax of the speaker and varying context.

    The same is true for most persons learning another language. You can often "read" it before you can "say" it.

    Her spoken English will improve with practice. It sounds like she still has above average spoken skills for a non-native speaker in an immersion situation for only a short time. Her immersion in an English only classroom will drastically improve her spoken skills.

    Notating in her native tongue is probably still an easier visual cue. When she studies, she probably grasps more of the info this way. It will also help her to become familiar with translatable words from both languages. The shear volume of nursing material is most likely the main reason she does this.

    When you find yourself "thinking" in the other language, then you know you are well on your way.

    I am sure your clinical instructors have already noted that they will have to help her with syntax errors that may be critical.

    She will most likely always have an accent, but her verbal skills will be quite understandable even to a most distressed listener in a few months.

    Agape
    hopefully she improves, although you said "It sounds like she still has above average spoken skills for a non-native speaker in an immersion situation for only a short time" Im not sure what is considered "a short time" but she has been here for atleast 2 years....i guess that could be a short amount of time..
  12. by   sunnyjohn
    Quote from galaxy781
    hopefully she improves, although you said "It sounds like she still has above average spoken skills for a non-native speaker in an immersion situation for only a short time" Im not sure what is considered "a short time" but she has been here for atleast 2 years....i guess that could be a short amount of time..
    2 years.... Hmmm...Sounds like she might have spent alot of her ESL time with fellow classmates who spoke Korean....

    English is so hard to learn... American English- British English (or The Queen's English if you please ) !!!!

    ACKKKK!
  13. by   fergus51
    Her speaking abilities are her instructors' concern. I have worked with many foreign nurses, some with English issues. It is up to the supervisor to ensure that their language skills are enough to do the job.

    I have also worked with some native English speakers who had trouble communicating, but that's another issue
  14. by   galaxy781
    i know her speaking is not "my" concern, i was just wondering what everyone else thought about this situation, ie. i thought we could discuss it or has anyone else ever come across this situation, i am not planning any course of action...i just firmly believe that someone should be fluent in english before they enter the health care field and deal with patients on a regular basis. It would be a shame if the langauge barrier prevented her from effectively communicating with her patients. I know i get frustrated sometimes when i enteract with people who cant understand me well, i can only imagine how frustrating it would be if i was extremely sick and couldnt communicate effectively with my nurse, i dunno just a thought, i realizeits not my place to say something and that its my instructors responsibility but I sometimes worry about "people slipping through the cracks" as someone else mentioned above.

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