Nurses who can't communicate with their Patients

  1. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009...unication-gap/

    So I see that many Internationally educated nurses (IEN) are having a hard time communicating with their patients despite the fact the past their English test.

    I also see that according to CMS, nurse patient communication is lower then national standards.

    http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/H...eHospitals.asp


    Do you think there could be a link between IEN and patient satisfaction?
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    About Ginger's Mom, MSN, RN

    Joined: Oct '05; Posts: 3,336; Likes: 2,626

    18 Comments

  3. by   cassrn28
    Did you know that there are states that will allow the nurse to take the test in their own language and not require them to pass an english test. I have known many asian nurses to get by with doing this.
  4. by   Nurse008
    what is wrong with you people? where i work internationally educated nurses (ien), despite the fact that english is their second language they do communicate very well with their patients. let's accept that there are people who look and speak different from us and from what we are use to.
  5. by   cardiacmadeline
    I work with a few people that speak english as a second language. I think they overall have a good grasp of the english language, but with their accents, I have a hard time understanding them sometimes and sometimes need them to repeat themselves. Now with that said, I can only imagine being a patient who had a CABG 24 hours ago, who is in pain and nauseated, and the nurse comes in the room and I can't understand what he/she is saying due to their accent or the way they are speaking the language, I would be frustrated. I can understand how this would affect patient satisfaction. The program in the article sounds interesting, it would be interesting to see how well it goes over.
  6. by   pretty_nurse33
    helloooooo..... i am Asian and im working here in the hospital for 3 years now but i didn't hear any complaints about "not communicating" with my patients. In fact they like me and they understand me better esp my patients because i am more attentive, caring and can communicate well. I don't care if i have accent. Whats up with that? everybody has their own accent. Just accept the fact that many hospitals preferred to hire international nurses because we are more willing to work esp.overtime and we don't complain very much.
  7. by   Straydandelion
    Quote from pretty_nurse33
    ......because we are more willing to work esp.overtime and we don't complain very much.
    I don't think that is a fair statement and in fact it appears prejudicial. As far as the original post however, there are accents to overcome even from north and south, the sign of a good nurse is to make sure a patient can understand their teaching...i.e. people skills. This wouldn't matter if English is the original language or not and wouldn't have an effect on the outcome of hospital satisfaction. If a nurse was not communicating effectively with her/his patients, this would be addressed by the NM/supervisor IMO.
  8. by   Ruby Vee
    i work with a number of nurses from the phillipines, and they're some of the smartest, nicest, hardest working people i've ever worked with. their english language skills far exceed my skills in any foreign language, and most of them write very well. but many of them have very thick accents, and it's difficult even for me to understand them sometimes. our patients, who may be sedated, confused, hard of hearing or just not used to the accent have even more difficulty. i think that can be a real problem.
  9. by   Ginger's Mom
    Quote from pretty_nurse33
    helloooooo..... i am Asian and im working here in the hospital for 3 years now but i didn't hear any complaints about "not communicating" with my patients. In fact they like me and they understand me better esp my patients because i am more attentive, caring and can communicate well. I don't care if i have accent. Whats up with that? everybody has their own accent. Just accept the fact that many hospitals preferred to hire international nurses because we are more willing to work esp.overtime and we don't complain very much.

    Working overtime is dangerous, most quality places cap how much over time a nurse works since it effects patient safety.

    It has been my experience IEN don't participate in the hospital community - How many committees do you serve on?

    Nurses "complaining" have been the change agents that produce better patient outcomes, you should be thankful for the nurses who "complained" or you would be working all three shifts in one week, working every weekend , working every holiday, working without a nurses aide or unit secretary, etc.
  10. by   Ginger's Mom
    Quote from ruby vee
    i work with a number of nurses from the phillipines, and they're some of the smartest, nicest, hardest working people i've ever worked with. their english language skills far exceed my skills in any foreign language, and most of them write very well. but many of them have very thick accents, and it's difficult even for me to understand them sometimes. our patients, who may be sedated, confused, hard of hearing or just not used to the accent have even more difficulty. i think that can be a real problem.
    sounds like you work with a great group of nurses. when i worked in icu most of my patients were either vented, in a coma therefore unable to communicate.
  11. by   showbizrn
    wow...
    therapeutic communications skills
    (role-playing)
    as i know it
    as i teach it
    crosses the cultural/language barriers
    that seem to resonate in this thread.

    you learn
    what to say
    how to say it
    and
    what to do
    while you're saying it.

    supportive verbal nursing interventions + customer service = therapeutic communication skills

    no arguments, no misunderstandings, no hurt feelings, no bruised egos

    happy mothers' day!!!
    happy nurses' week!!!
  12. by   Honnte et Srieux
    It would be disingenuous to pretend that there aren't some people who struggle to understand RNs whose second language is English.

    Where I work, it's a mixed bag. It seems that half of them do very fine, and the other half have to be let go...and the end result is that we won't hire them anymore because those few generate many complaints and place us at the greatest risk.

    And just a few months ago, one of the physicians (excellent social skills), came to me to ask me what I thought one of my colleagues was asking him, because he couldn't understand her. He was afraid to give an order because he couldn't even figure out what she was talking about, let alone what she was asking him. He knew that we were good friends, and he was hoping I could help her express herself a little better.

    Personally, I wish we had more Filipina nurses in our facility, because they sure are nice to look at!
  13. by   kafluknik
    The original post automatically assumes that IEN are the main cause of miscommunication in the health care environment. It fails to consider that clients also come from different cultures and age groups.

    With that said, I think we should all go back to Nursing Theory 101-Therapeutic Communication. And begin reflecting on ourselves before we start blaming co-workers and/or clients.

    Nurses help each other...not find fault with each other.
  14. by   Honnte et Srieux
    It seems to me that the original post was rationally based on an article which recognizes there is a problem with miscommunication related to the English skills of international nurses.

    I hardly think that Yu Xu, the nursing professor born in China, was blaming his coworkers in recognizing and addressing this issue.

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