Language barriers can make everyday situations challenging. This can be especially true for people seeking medical care. When someone is ill, worried, or in pain, even strong language skills may fade temporarily given the stress of the situation.
Our economy is global, and our communities are increasingly global, as well. That’s why bilingual workers are desired in both low- and high-skill jobs, and sectors such as banking and healthcare are particularly in need of employees who speak a language other than English.
When people are in need of a service, such as banking or healthcare, as noted above, or something else, a language barrier can be a major obstacle. In some cases, it may even prevent them from getting the services they require. That’s why healthcare providers looking to serve the immigrants in their communities, as well as patients traveling to the United States for medical care, are beefing up their staffs with people who can understand, and convey, their concerns.
Why are bilingual employees so valuable?
Clearly, this is not an area for any sort of fuzziness, confusion, or lack of clarity. It’s important for bilingual employees to have very solid language skills; fluency is a key for this field in particular since medical conditions and treatment often require specific and scientific language. The finer points can be lost in translation if the speaker is not up to the task of conveying and understanding the message.
Bilingual employees are very valuable, and bilingual employees who have cultural awareness are even more valuable. Multilingual healthcare providers who have awareness of cultural and religious values can ensure communication between patients and peers is clear and accurate. This can be valuable for patients in another way, as well: having someone on their side can make non-native speakers more trusting of their health care team, improving overall satisfaction and well-being.
Reducing barriers to care
Before healthcare providers can improve overall satisfaction and well-being, though, they have to ensure that people have access to care in the first place. Because factors such as language, unfamiliar customs, and misconceptions about health care can keep foreign residents from seeking medical care, bilingual [healthcare providers] can help to ease a patient’s fears and even reduce barriers to clinical preventative care.
Here, too, cultural awareness can be a major factor. Bilingual healthcare workers with cultural awareness can help people unfamiliar with the healthcare system learn to navigate it – and that can make it easier and more comfortable for people to seek care. When one network of primary care clinics in Nashville hired a Spanish-speaking nurse practitioner, for example, Spanish speakers flooded in.
Do you have bilingual skills?
At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. Are you a bilingual healthcare worker? We would love to help you find your next assignment, so give us a call at 310.436.3650 today!