The Challenge of
Language in Nursing
More than Mere
Nurses International
Let us list:
• The nations represented in this room or with
those with whom you work or associate.
• The nations Nurses you know have visited
• The languages spoken by Nurses in NZ and in
the Nation of your heritage.
Our World
• Six continents defined by the UN
• Cyprus is included in Europe
• There are at least 237 States and territories
• Languages – 13,511 and 30,000 dialects identified in the World
Christian Encyclopedia
• Largest Languages (Mother tongue): Chinese 1,000m; English
350 m; Spanish 336m; Hindi-Urdu 263m; Arabic 248m; Bengali
217m; Portuguese 184m; Japanese 128; German 106m
• Official Languages: populations in countries with English 1,895;
Chinese 1,290m; Spanish 373m; French 289m; Arabic 242m;
Portuguese 215m; Russian 107m; Turkic 130m; German 110m;
(Not all these countries speak the official language).
In the Nursing World
• Quality patient care is significantly threatened by the
Language Barrier within every nation of the world.
• The greatest resource Nurses have to overcome the
language barrier to ensure truly effective good patient
care at all times is found in ‘GOD’s LOVE’
constraining our every action and flowing through us to
them and to all other health workers – professional and
The Source
• “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not
perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
• We have the freedom to ask and receive:
• “And in all things, whatever you ask in prayer
• “You have not because you ask amiss…
• “Whatever you ask in My name that I will do”
The Source made Available to every
Nurse in every Nation.
• Jesus said
• “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me
you may have peace. In the world you will have
tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have
overcome the world.” John 16:33.
• “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
• So we may boldly say the LORD is my helper, I
will not fear. What can man do to me? Hebrews13:5-6
Word Power
• Words either heal or hurt, denigrate or educate,
drag down or edify and build up
• Identify helpful ways for Nurses to help Nurses
communicate with all people groups.
The Language of Love
Crosses barriers and bridges potential chasms
• Let us take a short time in silent reflection
• Pray for the Nurses of the nations and for Nurses
within each nation.
• Turn to Song No 11 in our Song Book and sing
‘What a Friend We have in Jesus,
All our sins and grief ’s to bear…’
• Nurses have a responsibility to communicate with all
peoples irrespective of the barriers that exist.
• Sign language and genuine caring that is enfolded in
love demonstrates and allows God’s wisdom and
intervening power to guide and encourage.
• But development of language facility cannot and
must not be ignored or neglected.
• Some Nurses have a natural love of language but
most of us find it hard up hill work. Don’t give up.
Language made Easier
Nurses can overcome and fulfill their moral obligation
through his/her personal relationship with God and by
being specific in prayer for:
• Genuine conviction and commitment to use
appropriate language for all peoples.
• A listening ear and receptive mind to hear what is
• An alert mind and heart to facilitate comprehension
and His Spirit of understanding.
Language Barriers Overcome
• God alone can give us a spirit of humility and
grace to ask the colleague who is socially
different and tragically too often unacceptable to
oneself, yet competent in the language that you
need to fulfill your moral obligation to provide
effective good Nursing Services.
• The blessings that come through gracious
acceptance of another’s natural gift of language
cannot be appreciated until they have been
PRIDE eats into both SUPERIOR
and INFERIOR alike.
Let PRIDE not be your or my self-made barrier
and therefore downfall, in providing the very best.
Let our Masterpiece of Nursing for every person in
every situation bring us the pride and joy hither-tounknown.