English Is Our Second Language!

English Is Our Second Language!

By: Noel D. De Ocampo, MSN/ED, RN
April 7, 2010

I don’t want to create animosity, I don’t want to chastise or be chastised, and I will never say I am best in written or spoken English. I can’t say my command of the English language is perfect because I know it’s not, but I think it is very important that Filipino nurses discuss the importance of knowing, speaking, and writing (in) the English language. Katulad ng karamihan, sa mahal kong Pilipinas din ako ipinanganak at lumaki. Mahal ko ang aking sinilangang bansa at mananatili akong marunong magmahal sa ating wika. I’m not saying that all of us are using English primarily at work. Of course it depends on what country you are residing, but English is still the preferred way of communicating, even here on Facebook.

How can we promote ourselves to be the best nurses around the world if we can’t correctly express ourselves in English? How can Filipino nurses convey a message if constructing simple English sentences is considered a challenge by some? I admire those who are continuously posting Facebook messages in English, but I think we all need to be cognizant of how we construct our statements. You can get angry at me, but I’m just trying to be constructive.

Why talk about it? All of us knew that wherever we go, even in countries where English is not used, we tend to speak to locals in English until we realize that they don’t understand the language as well. In nursing school, we use American books, or English language books, as the most common method of learning (and teaching). We had English courses since grade school and half (or more) of our college courses are also in English. We, Filipino nurses should set higher expectations for ourselves. If we were able get through nursing school, we should at least be able to know if the way we are using the English language is right or wrong, verbally or in writing.

There are many ways to improve command of the English language. Read, read, and read. Watch English talk shows. Use Microsoft Word when writing, even for short sentences in Facebook (just copy and paste it). It will tell you if you’ve done something wrong. Use the Thesaurus option to check your choice of words. Practice, practice, and practice, again and again and again. Accept criticisms.

I won’t blame anyone for getting angry at me for saying these things, but I want to again reiterate that I didn’t write this piece to promote myself or to say my command of English is better than all of you. The fact is, Filipinos are still better than most non-English speaking countries as far as command of the English language is concerned. North Americans, Australians, and Europeans respect us for having this asset. Let’s keep that respect coming. Thank you!

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About Noel De Ocampo 8 Articles
Hi All, Thank you for visiting. Not much content yet, but I hope to create a site for us, Filipino nurses, to have a place where we can exchange information and help each other to better ourselves and all the Filipino nurse communities around the world. I'm based in California, USA and have been living here since 1992. Please feel free to send me questions or inquiries regarding issues about nursing and issues faced by Filipino nurses here in the U.S. You may also send me important information to post if you think it will benefit our fellow nurses. I'm looking forward to hearing from you all. Thank you very much!!!
  • Anonymous

    fuck you men

  • Marie – Your English Language Blogger

    Well done, Noel. As a native English speaker and a linguist who has dedicated her entire life to teaching and learning languages, I commend your honesty and applaud your sense of realism.

    I would like to add to what you've said by saying that my job is to support world-class professionals and help them in whatever way they want and need so that they can let their world-class expertise shine through English in the workplace.

    One month ago,I was accepted by a very innovative member of the Filipino Nurses team in this FB group to blog for all you Filipino nurses on the topic of English language and I was so excited that I told all my close friends and colleagues about it because for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to share my teachings online to a large audience of WORLD-CLASS professionals and the icing on the cake for me was that you are nurses and Filipino! : )

    I've taught thousands professionals for years
    on the topic of English for Business but last year I taught my first group of nurses and I LOVED it because I started to realise that alongside teaching, nursing is the greatest career in the world. I learned also that the words nurses use with patients can empower or disempower the patient and directly affect the patient's recovery. I studied this topic for many months and I made a commitment to myself then that I would try to help more nurses shine through English so that you can help your patients to recover by empowering them with your words.

    As you said Noel, it just so happens this century that the language of business is English so to communicate your expertise, the vehicle is English. If we'd lived a couple of centuries ago, we might have been talking about learning in French and in a few more centuries, we might all be speaking Chinese but for now, the #1 international language of business is English.

    I want to let all you Filipino nurses know that over the coming weeks and months, I will be sharing tips for you to show your expertise in your own (Filipino) way through English.

    Check out this week's blog on here today! Again, well done Noel for your honesty and realism. I have never met you but I would love to share a virtual coffee with you some day soon and talk about how I can support world-class nurses like you : )

    Until then,
    Warm Wishes from Ireland.