Quote from LarryG
Katie -- I'm very interested in how this was handled at your hospital. Wanted to ask a few additional questions to see how something like this would go over where I am. If you have a few minutes...
Did you ask to take the test? Was HR involved? Did you enroll in a preparatory course for the exam? Does your passing impact your annual review in any way or otherwise factor in your compensation? Have you been publicly recognized or commended by your facility for this accomplishment? Have you been asked to assist other units needing interpreation services? How long / tough was the exam? Do you need to be re-cert periodically?
Actually, the interpreters I worked with encouraged me to take the test, since they essentially stood around while I gave the discharge instructions. I called the interpreter service and they agreed to give me the test. I'll admit it was a rather casual thing.
I did not take a prep class, if you are qualified to translate, a prepatory class should not be needed.
I don't think it did anything for my compensation, and it has not come up in my annual review.
I do not assist ANYONE but myself with interpretation- except on occasion. I am at the job to be a nurse, not an interpreter. We have Interpreter services 24/7 and the nurses call them. It would be really hard for me to do my job in the ED if I had to run around to other units. (its an 800 bed hospital...) I do tend to pick up most of the hispanic patients, just because it makes things easier, and the patients like it, so I tend to be popular on my shift...but if there is something that I am not going to be around for, or Social Work, or the Physician need to have a really long conversation with the patient and family, I still call the interpreter. I don't have the time to sit and translate with 6 other patients. I suppose if it was in a small hospital, where there are few hispanic patients, and no translator service, I might be more inclined to help out in other units...
The exam itself is not hard (The one I was given), essentially it was just a test to see if you can comprehend and answer questions. They also had a verbal part- giving directions to the hospital and the like. The thing is, if you don't speak the language well, it is probably quite a difficult test. People tend to learn Medical Spanish and then oddly, they have trouble comprehending the "whole" story which will include a lot of non medical terms, or they can ask the questions, but not comprehend the answers at all.
One of the biggest reasons I did it was to legally cover myself. Before if I gave instructions without an interpreter and the patient later stated they didn't understand, I would have been in big trouble. Now, I am certified to be as good as the hospital translators, so no more legal issues.
I think its great that more and more nurses are learning Spanish. Even if it just a little, its nice for the patient, and it builds a lot of trust.