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Nursing: Reflection: Non English Speaking Patients Essay

1235 words - 5 pages

For any mother the birth of a newborn child can be a challenging experience. As nurses it is part of our job to ensure their experience is positive. We can help do this by providing the information they will need to affective care for their newborn. This information includes topics such as, breastfeeding, jaundice, when to call your doctor and even how to put your baby to sleep. When the parents have an understanding of these topics before discharge it can largely reduce their natural anxiety accompanied with the transition to parenthood. Health teaching for new parents is seen as such an important aspect of care on post-partum floors it is actually a necessary component that needs to be covered before the hospital can discharge the patients. At the moment the strategies most hospitals use in Durham Region are Video’s and Parenting Booklets that are primarily based in the English Language. In such a culturally diverse region this becomes a barrier to providing the health teaching to patients who do not speak English as a first language (ESL). This reflection will explore the challenges I faced when providing health teaching to an ESL patient as well as the importance of health teaching in the post-partum area.
One of my assignments for a clinical rotation day this semester on the post-partum unit was an ESL mother and her newborn. The charting stated the mother was ESL, but she actually spoke almost no English, and the ESL father translated throughout our care. Although, the patient care is fundamentally the same, I chose this as the topic for my reflection because it was challenging, and a unique experience as a student nurse. Both parents despite our obvious barrier were very receptive of health teaching as well as patient throughout our assessments and communication. The father had only recently learned English in the last 6 months. He could speak English rather well, but struggled with finding meaning or concepts of certain words. For example, when discussing the mom’s lochia and clots he did not understand what a clot was. To explain the meaning of the word I used descriptive words like sticky, thick, chunk of blood. I also explained that when you bleed and it stops that thick dark red thing is what we call a clot. Once we both mutually felt the concept was understood the father would pass the information on to the mother, or ask her a question using descriptors from their first language. Although, are health teaching was eventually completed it took much more time then dealing with an speaks patient. The biggest obstacle I faced was whether or not the patient was receiving all of the information she needed as a new mother. In some situations I knew she had received my teaching because I could see her demonstrating it such as, changing her pad whenever she used the bathroom or at least every 3-4 hours. However, other information I felt I could never truly know if she completely understood such as, the concept of jaundice. I informed my nurse...

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