I hate that everyone knows I speak Spanish !

Published

Okay so I'm super frustrated lately, I work on a med/surg floor and quite frequently we have spanish only speaking patients. All my coworkers know that I along with a few other nurses are bilingual. I love my coworkers but it's so annoying that I'm constantly being pulled away to go translate for them. At my hospital we don't get paid more for this. Yes I want what's best for the patients and I do think I'm a team player and am always willing to help out but it is so time consuming for me and I end up behind trying to catch up. I have a hard time saying no because I know how much my coworkers hate using our translation service the hospital provides. The other day I worked my but off to finish all my charting and med pass on time only to find out I'd be giving up 2 of my patients because another nurse didn't "think it was safe for her to care for Spanish only patients" her charting or med passes weren't done of course... if the hospital provided extra pay for this I think I wouldn't be upset but I just don't know how to approach my boss about this. I don't want to seem like I'm not willing to help and it might be a bad idea???! I also hate that I get pulled by surgeons constantly to translate for them because they hate using our language translation service ... sometimes they even pull me from my floor to the OR floor to translate for consent !! Argh next time I'm just going to say no because I'm over it, I'm doing double work and charting. Working was easier when no one knew I spoke Spanish. Next time if I move to a different hospital I'm not letting my coworkers know! End of my rant ������������������

Wuzzie

4,896 Posts

At my facility it is completely verboten to use a non-certified person/staff member as a medical translator. Although I'm not entirely sure it might actually be a law in my state. Either way it is a fire-able offense as it is considered not in the patient's best interest and could be construed as an abuse of power as a staff member is not a "neutral" party.

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 37 years experience.

Had I been bilingual, I would have used those talents to become one of the admissions/discharge nurses, and left the bedside duties to those who'd no longer have a choice but to use the translator phone. I'm just saying...;)

SmilingBluEyes

20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 26 years experience.

I am bilingual (well nearly trilingual) and speak Spanish fairly fluently. I don't mind minor translation but issues of consent, or other such serious items are handled by the Language Line, no ifs ands or buts.

NanaPoo

762 Posts

Specializes in School Nursing, Hospice,Med-Surg. Has 18 years experience.

I learned quickly not to let people know I spoke Spanish because nurses were constantly asking me to interpret for them to save time waiting for the hospital translation services to arrive to the floor. BUT, when the nurse manager became aware she made it very clear that legally they weren't allowed to use any interpreter except the hospital's official interpreters. I was relieved and, after that, didn't make it publicly known that I spoke Spanish.

Sour Lemon

5,016 Posts

Has 13 years experience.

Make sure you're asking for favors in return!! "Sure, I'll go talk to your patient ...but could you start tying to get a working IV in room 302? I'm falling a little behind."

heron, ASN, RN

3,511 Posts

Specializes in Hospice. Has 51 years experience.

Not only should bilingual workers be paid a differential, but facilities should pay for certification. I work in ltc and my bilingual coworkers are my rock in dealing with residents who are getting sick or acting out and my pitiful few words of Spanish don't cut the mustard.

chare

3,771 Posts

Not only should bilingual workers be paid a differential, but facilities should pay for certification...

This. As well as having an adjusted assignment to account for what could be an incredibly time cosuming responsibility.

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

Check your policy -- like Wuzzie said, at my hospital they are very clear: even if we are conversationally fluent, unless we have been vetted and are certified as a medical translator, we cannot translate. It's considered an equal access issue.

quazar

603 Posts

Has 20 years experience.
Check your policy -- like Wuzzie said, at my hospital they are very clear: even if we are conversationally fluent, unless we have been vetted and are certified as a medical translator, we cannot translate. It's considered an equal access issue.
Yep yep yep. It's a legal/safety thing. I have worked with enough spanish speaking patients for so long that I have picked up plenty. I get by pretty well on my own, but still use an interpreter for the big stuff like consent, or if I flat out don't know how to say something. At any rate, you are not the unit translator. They may not prefer to use the hospital's translation services, but too bad so sad. Unless you are a paid/vetted/official translator for the hospital, nope.

Green Tea, RN

138 Posts

My institution clearly prohibits a nurse to serve as an interpreter unless s/he is certified.

I'm bilingual (English is my second language), but I'm not comfortable to interpret at work especially for informed consents. I studied Nursing in English only, so I am not 100% certain if I can speak medical terms in my native language accurately.

DeeAngel

826 Posts

Request that your facility provide you with a written policy on using floor nurses as medical translators, a request which takes them away from their assigned patients. You know, for your clarification of your role as a nurse. That request alone might nip it in the bud. In the meantime clarify this issue and your state BON's position on the issue, you may potentially be doing something forbidden by the BON.