Each year many nurses emigrate to English speaking countries such as the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and Australia. Learning to speak English is a huge challenge. The form of English spoken in each of these countries can vary along with the slang, the accents and the pronunciation and spelling.
Additionally they need to learn about the culture and the practice of nursing in these countries. It may be very different from the practice of nursing in their homeland.
Learning to speak another language can be a challenge for all of us. As our countries become more and more global and diverse, the need to speak other languages in order to provide quality care increases. Sometimes we can understand a language much better than we can speak it and we become self conscious.
We know that to provide quality nursing care sometimes we have to make decisions quickly and give very direct, short instructions. There isn’t always time to repeat ourselves or to ask questions. So learning to effectively communicate is essential. When time does allow, foreign born nurses need to ask questions and soak up as much knowledge about the language, gestures and other non-verbal techniques, slang and appropriate uses of past, present and future tenses.
SupportForNurses.com also has some terrific booklets and toolkits to help foreign born nurses assimilate into the American Hospital setting. These can be effective teaching tools for nurse educators as well.