Foreign Nurses Given Dialect Training

Foreign Nurses In Lancashire Are Being Taught To Understand Local Dialects


Incoming nurses in Lancashire are being given classes on how to understand local phrases and expressions.

The sessions, which are being run by the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, aim to reduce issues raised by some foreign nurses who claimed they found it difficult to understand some patients who spoke with particularly broad accents.

While this may not at first seem like a particularly serious endeavour, the increasingly global nature of the NHS's workforce means that educating staff on the nuances of local dialect will be vital if patients are - as is required by NHS rules - to be involved in decisions about their care.

One nurse who is taking part in the training explained why it is so important that these types of classes are held.

"We learnt English in the way people speak in London and when we came here it didn't sound the same," 23-year-old Italian Greta Veneruz, who lives in Blackburn, told the Daily Express.

"It was difficult to understand words like 'but', 'much', 'blood' and 'bath' and there were other phrases like 'I'm starved', which means I'm cold."

This sentiment was echoed by fellow Italian nurse Giuseppe Valenzano, 24, who said the accent was a barrier to him providing effective treatment at first, before adding that he is now much more confident.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust recently announced that it has employed a large number of new staff in the last few months in order to calm fears of understaffing.

Around 117 nurses, 141 support staff and 12 consultants have been brought in, but with 30 from abroad the trust is keen to ensure that communication between patients and its workforce is not an issue going forward.

This is not the first time that this type of training has taken place. In the early 2000s, managers at Walsall's Manor hospital educated 40 nurses from the Philippines on how to understand Black Country slang.

Expert Opinion
Patient safety is a fundamental priority for the NHS and communication is a key part of ensuring that the necessary standards are met.

"Through our work, we have seen numerous cases in which people have suffered serious injuries, or in some cases died, as a result of failures in care which have emerged due to poor understanding and communication issues.

"It is absolutely vital that everyone working in the NHS is able to work to the required standard and being able to communicate clearly and effectively is absolutely vital."
Mandy Luckman, Partner