4 Reasons Why Being a Bilingual Nurse in NYC is Important

4 Reasons Why Being a Bilingual Nurse in NYC is Important

Do you speak another language? If so, you might not realize how much you have to offer. Being a bilingual nurse has a lot of perks, especially when working in a diverse city like New York City.

Check out these 4 reasons why a bilingual nurse on a medical team is so important.

1. Almost Half the Population Speaks Another Language

With NYC being listed as one of the top diverse cities in the United States, it is no surprise that people here speak a language other than English. According to the American Community Survey, nearly 50% of the people living in NYC speak a language other than English at home. Being bilingual in NYC means that you have an increased ability to connect with more people. Quite often, New Yorkers who speak more than one language at home live with an older person who is not fluent in English, as well.

2. An Interpreter May Not be Needed

Healthcare facilities are mandated to have a medical interpreter available. This mandate is in place because it is well recognized that clear communication between the patient and healthcare providers is critical. However, there is often a shortage of interpreters available.

Becoming a medical interpreter takes time and training. There may also be a limited number of interpreters working in a facility at one time. This can result in medical interpreters having a busy schedule and patients waiting on them.

Nurses have to speak with their patients multiple times a day. Therefore, a language barrier can be a huge strain for the patient, nurse, and medical interpreter. Healthcare facilities use technology to connect interpreters with patients when in-person services aren’t available. However, during unforeseen times such as COVID-19, the demand for interpretation is high.

Being a bilingual nurse can alleviate this strain during pandemic and non-pandemic times.

3. It Can Build Patient Rapport and Trust

Being misunderstood while being ill can feel isolating and scary. Having a nurse that speaks the same language as you can be a huge relief and strengthen patient rapport and trust. Furthermore, when someone speaks the same language as you, it opens up conversation to discuss shared culture, values, experiences, etc. Healthcare facilities understand this, and therefore put a lot of time and effort to ensure that their healthcare team is diverse.

4. More Job Opportunities Available

Bilingual nurses have more leverage in NYC where almost 50% of the population speaks another language other than English. Healthcare facilities recognize that importance of communication in healthcare and therefore are more inclined to hire a bilingual nurse than a nurse who only speaks one language.

Also, if you ever need a break from NYC, there is always the opportunity to be a as a travel nurse. Being bilingual can be a huge advantage in this area, too.

What if You aren’t Bilingual or Need to Brush Up on Your Skills?

Many of us do not know a second language, and that is okay. There is always opportunities to learn! If you don’t know a second language or need to brush up only our skills, there are many resources that can help. Consider learning a new language online. Or, if you want to focus on just the basics and on healthcare, check out this continuing education opportunity.

Are you a nurse who speaks a language other than English? We want to hear how speaking different languages at work has helped you. Comment below and share your story.


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About the author

Kristie Cabrera

Kristie is an occupational therapist, mental health advocate, and amateur urban farmer. Her experience with taking care of others in the healthcare setting and taking care of the land are both important pieces that make up who she is. As a life-long learner and creative, she hopes to create content that is centered around wellness and healing.

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