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The Added Benefits of Being a Bilingual Certified Nursing Assistant


The world is becoming increasingly diverse and interconnected. The ability to read, write and speak a second language is a valuable asset to any career. But if you work as a certified nursing assistant, it can reap exceptionally high benefits.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 1980 and 2010, the number of people nationwide who spoke a language other than English grew by 158 percent. Following English and Spanish, the 2011 census showed that there were six leading languages spoken at home by at least one million people: Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, German and Korean.

Breaking Communication Barriers

Bilingual CNAs provide an important means of bridging language and cultural gaps that may occur in patient care. The benefits of knowing more than one language as you vie for your next CNA position include:

Enhanced Patient Safety

Imagine entering a doctor’s office, hospital or other healthcare facility and not being able to explain your symptoms to clinicians. As a result, those providers might miss out on critical information that could be essential to a timely, accurate diagnosis. A CNA who speaks your native tongue can be a lifesaver.

More Job Opportunities

Most healthcare employers are centered in major cities, which tend to have high immigrant populations with geographic areas dedicated to specific cultural groups. For instance, Seattle’s Little Saigon is the economic and social hub of the region’s Vietnamese community. Experienced, successful CNAs who can communicate with patients in their native tongue are in high demand. Being bilingual makes you more competitive for top jobs and puts you in a better position when negotiating for a higher salary.

Higher Job Satisfaction

This comes with the knowledge that you are significantly enhancing patients’ quality of life, as you not only assist them in routine medical ways, but also enable them to understand critical medical terms, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment options.

Added Value to Employers

Bilingual healthcare providers can assist more diverse groups of people. In doing so, they market their organizations as being open and welcoming to those from different language and cultural backgrounds. Even more importantly, being bilingual is critical to ensuring the accuracy of data. Larger organizations usually have translation services in place, although many are by telephone – which is sufficient, but simply doesn’t compare with personal, face-to-face communication. And this isn’t the case in smaller offices, clinics or practices. Even in best-case scenarios, errors occur. With a bilingual CNA on staff, a company can help ensure that data is accurate and that patient files are correctly uploaded and stored.

As you search for your next great CNA job, consider working with an experienced recruiting manager from MedicalPros Recruiting + Staffing. For more than two decades, we have been the Northwest’s leader in healthcare recruiting. Contact us today to learn more.

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