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Why Bilingual & Bicultural Nurses Should Study in Canada

April 19, 2021 | By inscol@admin

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The ability to converse in a second language is a valuable asset in the present world. Other than looking for inspired professionals who have the right knowledge and skills, healthcare organizations look for candidates who can provide much more about cultural diversity. In the present ecosystem of nursing in Canada, nurses are required to take care of patients coming from diverse cultural backgrounds, which may often lead to communication barriers. Canada has a multicultural population with so many immigrants from all across the world coming to and settling in the country. With the diverse population of patients, a bilingual nurse can be of great assistance and a source of comfort for almost any healthcare facility. Bilingual nurses are hired right after completing nursing courses in Canada as they can handle patient communication easily, meaning fewer chances of any misinterpretation. Canada – A Multilingual Country Canada is a multilingual country, which makes studying nursing in Canada an excellent opportunity to boost prospects for a successful nursing career. As a country that is known for having a rich cultural and community life, Canada is home to different kinds of people. This is the reason why it is important for the healthcare workforce in the country to speak the patient’s language. The nurses who speak the patient’s language find it easy to explain the course of medical treatment to the patients and families. Not just this, these nurses are also able to build trust and advocate for the patients with the healthcare team. Bilingual nurses understand the cultural challenges that arise with moving to an entirely new country, which enables them to relate with patients in a better sense. Hence, in a multilingual country such as Canada, it is preferable to have nurses who know two or more languages. Reasons Why Bilingual Nurses Should Study In Canada:
  1. Better Chances of Employability: With the nursing positions increasing in Canada, there is a need for more applicants and this is why employers are looking for additional skills like being bilingual. In fact, bilingualism is one of the most sought-after skills that job seekers should have.
Any healthcare organization that is looking to serve patients will look favorably on a nursing applicant who is not only culturally aware but also has the requisite linguistic abilities that will benefit the company. Being able to converse in a second language can make a nurse look much more attractive and capable to healthcare employers. In addition, it pays to remember that nurses are demanded in Canada. There is a need for thousands of nurses to catch up with the national ‘nurses to population’ ratio. Changing demographics coupled with an increased prevalence of chronic disease means that there will be an increased demand for nurses who are bilingual. Nurses are needed to provide health promotion and preventive care, and when they know how to converse in two languages it is an add-on. Nurses in Canada are fortunate to work in one of the best and robust health care systems in the world. Hence, making the decision to study nursing in Canada is the best that an international nurse can make for a bright career.
  1. Being an Asset for Healthcare: It is never an ideal situation when a patient comes for treatment and no one in a healthcare organization understands the patient’s language. This has the potential to result in frustration, misunderstanding, and also incorrect diagnosis. In this scenario, being a bilingual nurse makes you an asset and most importantly, a better nurse.
You can understand a patient’s clinical condition, socioeconomic status, and medical history while ensuring that proper care is provided. Furthermore, from a patient’s perspective, having the support of a healthcare provider who speaks the same language is much more comforting and invites the patient to discuss his/her condition more freely. When there is no language barrier, a nurse can exercise efficiency by informing the patients about everyday medications, conditions, tests, and his or her daily routine. After the completion of postgraduate nursing courses, a bilingual nurse is preferred for getting hired because he/she can communicate with patients about daily medical conditions, test reports, changes in medicines, and much more in the patient’s native language. This helps in offering a much better experience to the patients.
  1. Lucrative Career: Bilingual nurses can get a decent pay package because of having a useful skill of understanding the patient’s language. This in turn helps in increased popularity for a healthcare centre. Being able to speak a second language also helps in increasing employment options.
Many healthcare organizations have been and will be listing second language abilities as an important requirement. This also means that the nurses who can speak another language will be preferred to the ones who do not. Being fluent in more than one language makes nurses a competitive force. It is important to understand that nursing in Canada and healthcare, in general, is a growing field with many good job prospects for the future and the hospitals are always seeking nurses who speak a second language to meet the needs of patients from different cultures. Hence, if you want to work in the healthcare industry, adding a second language will facilitate communication between you and your patients. It will increase your chances of getting hired and eventually put you in a position of earning decent pay and having a respectable job.
  1. Bridging Cultural Gap: An ability to communicate in two languages is valuable, but relating with people who come from different backgrounds is also very important. Being mindful, considerate, and accommodating with foreign patients goes a long way in bridging the cultural gap in one of the most important industries in any country, healthcare. It also sends out an important growth-oriented message amongst the masses.
For example; shaking hands is considered a customary gesture in the western world for greeting a patient. However, if you travel to India, folding your hands is considered a more appropriate gesture. On the other hand, in the Philippines, some people shake hands while some others take the hand of an elder person and press it on one’s forehead to show respect. A bilingual nurse is aware of little things like this and puts forward the behavior that is acceptable and most importantly, makes the patient feel at home. Thus, right from the time of studying nursing courses in Canada to eventually, working at any one of the healthcare facilities, the bilingual nurses are able to bridge the cultural gap in a seamless way. This ultimately puts the healthcare system of Canada in a good position on the world map. More than anything, healthcare is a facility that must be equal for all and when bilingual nurses study nursing in Canada, they do an excellent job of promoting an inclusive and welcoming place for people from diverse backgrounds.  This way, nurses can make the most out of their bilingualism by promoting a multicultural and rich healthcare ecosystem where everyone regardless of their cultural or ethnic background will be seen, heard, and cared for.
  1. Bilingual & Bicultural Nurses Offer Better Healthcare: Having added language skills is a strong addition to any resume, particularly in healthcare. Being a bilingual nurse is not limited to communicating information to patients. It is also about making the patients feel at ease and cared for, and the bilingual nurses can offer hospitals in Canada an additional cultural context while tending to patients from diverse backgrounds.
For example, a nurse who is fluent in Punjabi will have no problem in discerning that an old Punjabi patient prefers hot drinking water with his/her medication, rather than cold. Although this might seem like a small thing, it is because of these small and culturally specific examples that trust and understanding can be built with the patients. Without this, providing high-quality care is much more difficult. The bilingual nurses play a monumental role across the language gap while ensuring everyone has unhindered access to quality care, irrespective of their native language. Hence, if a nurse speaks more than one language or is deliberating about learning a new dialect then that can be a powerful add-on. Conclusion: The bottom line is that there will be open communication when it comes to verbal and listening skills, which are essential in assessing a patient’s problems and finding out an appropriate treatment plan. As a bilingual nurse, you have an awareness of healthcare issues that are prevalent in your community. Since Canada is a multicultural country, you can be extremely effective in delivering a high standard of healthcare while putting the patients of your community at ease.

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