Would becoming bilingual be useful in nursing?

  1. I'm thinking of learning Spanish as a second language. Do you think this is a valuable skill in your nursing practice? Would it be worth the time and effort it takes to learn it?
  2. Visit one2one profile page

    About one2one

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 34; Likes: 13

    12 Comments

  3. by   HappyNurse2005
    Depends how large your area is, how large the hispanic population in your area is, if you are in a large tourist area (may have spanish speaking tourists)

    I wish I knew more spanish than I did. I work L & D in the large hospital in my area, known growing hispanic population in my city, plus, we get all the ladies froms nearby cities, and all the high risk/moms who's babies will need nicu/pretermers for the area. So, we often have spanish ladies.

    I know "tienes no dolor, pequeno dolor, o mucho dolor?" (do you have no pain, a little pain, or a lot of pain?" how to say push, etc.

    Spanish would really be an extremely useful thing for me to know. You? it depends, but it certainly can't hurt!
  4. by   SillyLilly
    It could not hurt to know another language! Valuable!
  5. by   Larry77
    I sooooo wish I knew more Spanish! I know enough to get around but if the pt starts going into their story oh boy...way too fast for me...lol. I live in the NW and we have a very large Mexican population but as earlier poster said, it depends on the population in your area.

    Only problem occurs when you are discussing "legal" paperwork or instructions you must use a certified interpreter, so even our fluent docs have to use the AT&T interpreter service for their instructions (is what our hospital uses for interpreters).
  6. by   drpsrn
    In Texas it is a must to know at least conversational Spanish. Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca Mexico has a wonderful program for learning Spanish quickly. University of Texas at Arlington has a program like an exchange program for credit through the School of Nursing where the students spend time in Cuernavaca.
  7. by   Nurseterr7
    I live in south Florida and it is WAY useful to know Spanish. I am not fluent myself but know enough to get by. They even offer a class at the college here called Spanish for health care professionals. One of the hospitals here has phones that connect you to interpretors if the Pt. can not speak English. Spanish is much easier to learn than English . I went to central American and took classes. Guatemala has great language schools and family stays that are really cheap, fun and interesting. The best way to learn is by immersion. Good Luck and go for it....
  8. by   santhony44
    I don't know that there is any place in the US today where Spanish would not be useful.

    The answer is a big yes! I can fumble around a bit but still need an interpreter most of the tims.
  9. by   LPN_mn
    Some places even pay more if you speak a second language.
  10. by   blueberry21
    Si!!!!!! In my neck of the woods -Miami, FL--- more people than not either are bilingual or speak only spanish. I can understand a bit more than I can speak it.

    I have some tapes that I listen to in my car--"learn spanish in your car"" tapes--I dont know how they came up with that name-- They are helpful.

    I also noticed the same course that Nurseterr77 noted--spanish for healthcare workers-- I think i might be taking that class after I graduate.
  11. by   VivaLasViejas
    That's the only thing I miss about hospital nursing..........I used to have the opportunity to speak Spanish almost every shift, but we have no Hispanic residents at my ALF and I'm getting rusty. I've programmed my cell phone en espanol and watch Telemundo every so often, but it's not the same as coaching a woman through her first few attempts at breastfeeding, or interviewing an injured farm worker during admission.

    At least my 15-year-old is taking Spanish at school this year........it's weird, we have so many Latinos here in Oregon, and yet his teacher is not a native speaker, nor does she apparently even speak the language that well---I've had to correct his pronunciation any number of times because hers is often incorrect.

    Oh, well, even mediocre instruction is better than none; two years of a foreign language used to be a requirement for high school graduation here, but now when it's needed more than ever, they've abolished the requirement AND cut back on the number of courses offered. Say what you will about the necessity for immigrants to learn English to be able to participate fully in the life of this country---and I believe they should---it's never a waste of time to learn another tongue. Europeans almost take this for granted, many of them being fluent in three, four, or even more languages, while Americans tend to think that being able to use a few foreign words or phrases makes them sophisticated.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Oh Si Si. I have found it very useful in my practice.
  13. by   socishan
    Absolutely- it is VERY helpful. I'm sure it's helpful when conversing with Spanish-speaking patients, but what's neat is that I've ALSO found it to be helpful when working with Spanish-speaking co-workers, too. I'm certainly not fluent, but I do know enough to carry on a basic conversation, and it's helped many times already in my job as a CNA for LTC. In the facility where I work, most of the housekeeping and kitchen staff, and some of the other CNAs are all Spanish-speaking. It's very helpful when you need a grilled cheese sandwich made quickly for a resident who won't eat her chicken. The kitchen staff seems to really appreciate it when I ask in Spanish and they seem to be more helpful since they see I'm making an effort to understand and use their native language. Or, if I need more bath towels from the laundry staff... I can get them quicker if I ask in Spanish and the staff seems to know me already and are all very friendly to me. I think it's very rewarding. Many native Spanish-speakers who live here are making the effort to learn English if they haven't already... and it only takes me 5 seconds to ask about a new word in Spanish and then try to learn it. I enjoy making the effort too.

    And, here's food for thought- I once read a study that suggested people who are multi or bi-lingual are less likely to suffer from dementias like Alzheimer's in their later years. You never know- it can't hurt, right?
  14. by   TinyNurse
    Most definitely!
    I really wish I would have taken Spanish rather than French in high school.
    Although I have picked up some medical spanish just from working, I wish I knew more. I have even suggested a medical spanish class to our unit educator, and she told me that they have tried it in the past, and no one wanted to enroll.
    Last edit by TinyNurse on Oct 2, '06

close