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The Great Bilingual Nursing Shortage

It’s no secret. The number of nurses across the country is declining.

In Colorado, many are nearing retirement age which means from 2007 to 2017, an approximate 15,000 new nursing jobs will need to be filled in the Centennial State, according to the The Governor’s Nurse Workforce and Patient Care Task Force’s report, “Nursing in Colorado: Measuring Quality and Supporting Patient Safety“.

More Nurses Are Needed

By 2015, there will be a projected 20 percent shortage of RNs, which is a sharp increase compared to the 6 percent nursing shortage in 2000. The overall decline means there are even fewer nurses who speak more than one language, which helps cross cultural barriers in clinical settings.

An article in Minority Nurse Magazine‘s Fall 2014 issue encourages nursing students to wow recruiters with specialized skills, including bilingual abilities, previous work with specific populations and electronic medical records training. These niches should be highlighted on a resume and discussed during job interviews to make you stand out against other candidates.

Bilingual Nurses Are Needed

Nurses who speak more than one language are in demand for multiple reasons:

  • They instantly build a trusting relationship with patients who don’t speak English. This makes patients feel more at ease and able to explain medical concerns comfortably.
  • Bilingual nurses are more cost effective for medical institutions to employ. Hiring a staff interpreter or using one on a contract basis can be costly.
  • Clinics offering bilingual nurses can work with a larger demographic, making the medical facility more diverse and well-received in communities where several ethnicities are present.
  • Bilingual nurses can help patients understand legal documents, take-home care instructions and educational pamphlets, giving the patient a feeling of security and empowerment.

A Specialized Career Option is Needed 

The takeaway: If you’re naturally bilingual and plan to work in the medical field, consider getting your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). At Colorado Christian University, students can expand upon bachelor’s degrees by getting an MSN through online or classroom studies. The 39 credit hour-program focuses on teaching leadership skills, nursing education strategies and clinical care management for adults and geriatric patients — all backed by Christian principles.

Are you ready to put your nursing skills and talent for speaking a foreign language to good use in Colorado?

Learn more about the MSN program at CCU today!