Not only is the need for skilled healthcare workers growing in the U.S., but so is the need for those professionals to be bilingual.

According to Minority Nurse Magazine, just two percent of all RNs in the U.S. are of Hispanic/Latino heritage. And, even if non-Hispanic healthcare workers speak Spanish, cultural differences still can make communication between patient and healthcare worker difficult.

The website InterHispanica.com reported in 2010 that “[i]n just a few years, the United States will have the second largest Spanish speaking population in the world.” Mexico will be the only country in the world with more.

But before you rush out to learn Spanish, understand that bilingual healthcare workers are needed in a number of foreign languages, especially languages that hail from Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Phillippines, etc. ). In fact, here at MedPro Healthcare Staffing, several of the bilingual positions we fill for hospitals and other medical facilities are for those who speak Southeast Asia languages, particularly Tagalog (number one language of the Philippines).

It naturally follows that if you can speak another language, you greatly increase your chances of being hired. If you’re already a native foreign language speaker, great! If you’re wondering what career to explore, we highly recommend one in healthcare. As stated above, bilingual healthcare workers are critically needed.

But if English is your first language and you want to learn another, you have several options when it comes to learning a new language. Many medical facilities now offer what is known as “medical Spanish.” While you won’t be fluent, this can help you communicate (albeit in a fairly rudimentary) way, with Spanish-speaking patients.

Community colleges and night schools also offer foreign language classes. The going can be slow, however, and the class schedule may not be conducive to your work schedule.

There are many online foreign language learning programs, of course.

If you have the time and the funds, a foreign-language immersion course may be the ticket. Be prepared to live and sweat your new language. But the fact that these courses are so short and are so intense can mean you can learn the language quickly.

If you’re a healthcare professional who’s heard about the great opportunities working as a traveling nurse, PT, speech therapist, radiologist, phlebotomist, and more, contact a recruiter at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We look forward to hearing from you