Regardless of the industry, being multi-lingual will make you a more valuable candidate for almost any job. The ability to understand and communicate in other languages will allow you to serve more clients effectively, and, in an increasingly diverse society, that is essential. As a nurse, you interact with patients from all walks of life daily and provide them with care in unpleasant situations. It’s imperative that you understand their concerns and problems to give them the proper care, regardless of their first language. That’s where being multi-lingual comes in handy.
Population diversity in the United States
Although the most predominant language spoken in America is English, there are millions of citizens who speak other languages, many of whom do not speak English at all. All of these citizens, whether they speak English or not, will require healthcare at some point. It could be a common ailment, such as a cold or a severe emergency or injury. Having a staff member on-site who can understand non-English speaking patients could mean the difference between life or death in these dire situations.
In the US, English is the official language, but there are other languages commonly spoken, including:
– Spanish (43,200,000)
– Chinese (2,900,000)
– Tagalog (1,610,000)
– Vietnamese (1,400,000)
– French (1,281,300)
Depending on which area of the country you live in, the languages spoken will vary. If you have decided to learn an additional language, it is helpful to choose one relevant to your local state. Tagalog is common in the Western states of California, Nevada, and Washington state. It’s not very common as you move northeast, so learning it wouldn’t be relevant if you lived in Montana or Wyoming. Instead, learning German would provide the most useful, since it’s one of Montana and Wyoming’s most common languages.
Find out what people speak in your area and focus on boosting proficiency in those languages.
The benefits of being multi-lingual as a nurse are vast. Being able to communicate with patients from different backgrounds will make you an asset to any healthcare facility. Here are some of the ways that understanding multiple languages can help you in your nursing career:
1. Boost your appeal
If you are looking for a registered nurse job, you’ll have some competition when applying for roles. Speaking more than one language will set you apart from other candidates and could be the difference between securing the job of your dreams or not making the cut.
Healthcare facilities are always on the lookout for nurses who can speak multiple languages. Having a multi-lingual nurse on staff is extremely valuable as hospitals and healthcare offices attend to many individuals who don’t speak English each day. They want to provide the highest level of care to all patients, regardless of their first language. It’s essential that someone on the team can communicate effectively with these patients to ensure they are both diagnosed and treated correctly.
In some cases, you may even be head-hunted by employers when they see that you are multi-lingual. That allows you to be selective when choosing your employer and pick a position that offers the most potential for growth and success.
2. Make positive changes to the future of nursing
Being multi-lingual offers you more job opportunities, yes, but did you know that it could help you make positive changes to the future of nursing? For example, by obtaining further education through DNP programs online and becoming an executive nurse leader, you can actively make changes to improve not just the health of the patient but also the process and policies. Combining multi-lingual knowledge with further education will allow you to shape the future of nursing, where perhaps speaking a second language takes more precedence.
3. Personal fulfillment
Regardless of where you work as a nurse, your job is to keep patients safe, healthy, and help save lives. In many scenarios, time is of the essence, and every detail must be analyzed to accurately assess and treat the patient as quickly as possible. If a patient comes in that doesn’t speak English, they could miss out on vital care if no one on staff can communicate with them. You could be the person that saves someone’s life because you can understand the problem, allowing you to take swift action. Visiting a hospital or healthcare facility can be extremely stressful for those who don’t speak English since medical terminology is hard to understand. Having someone who they can talk to will put them at ease during an already uncomfortable situation.
Nurses are selfless, and work long, exhausting hours doing what they love: helping people. By learning additional languages, you will have the potential to help even more people lead healthy, happy lives.
4. More opportunities
An investment in learning a new language will always pay off, especially as a nurse. Every sector of the healthcare industry needs nurses who are multi-lingual. As nurses who speak multiple languages have more job prospects, the earning potential is also higher, too, with many jobs paying a higher wage to those who are multi-lingual.
Every facility within the healthcare sector can use nurses, with priorities given to those who speak multiple languages. You can find jobs in hospitals, schools, insurance companies, clinics, and more.
5. Potential to travel
Being multi-lingual means that you aren’t limited to job prospects within the United States. Speaking a foreign language will make you an asset to healthcare facilities in other countries. The US is known for its high level of education, especially when it comes to healthcare. The knowledge and ability to speak foreign languages combined will help your secure job roles in other countries around the globe.
If you have ever considered volunteering or wanted to help in another country, being multi-lingual will allow you to do so. Many countries are in dire need of healthcare professionals who can volunteer their services to aid their sick and injured. Being multi-lingual will provide opportunities to give back to those foreign communities where no one speaks English.
Being multi-lingual is one of the best ways to achieve optimal success and growth in your nursing career, but also possibly improve the future of nursing as well. Coupled with advanced education, you will be a valuable candidate for a variety of jobs, allowing you to be selective and pick a position in which you’ll thrive.