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Reality

I work in a medical facility. It is culturally rich and diverse. We have medical providers, mental health professionals, patient advocates, therapists and support staff, all with one daily goal – provide the best and most ethical services and care for all our patients. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, services may appear to “fail”, though not due to poor decisions, but due to lack of good communication skills. The reality is, when you are a successful professional, whether it be in the medical field, sales, finances or any business endeavor, if your native language influences your Standard American English productions too heavily, you are at higher risk of missing out on potential positive reviews, advancements, or nabbing that next client. This is the reality I see every day. Patients will share with me their experiences of not understanding the recommendations from their physicians. They tell me the accents they hear overpower the words they are attempting to express. This can most definitely affect patient carryover of treatment plans, missed recommendations and poor follow through. I have been in the field long enough to witness and personally experience some of these occurrences. This may hurt to hear, but the reality is, many professionals do not want to work on reducing their native language influences because they are already successful, have gotten “this far”, so what’s the point of doing this now? I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s ego, but the reality is, if native language influences Standard American English pronunciations too heavily, it will be identified by those with whom you meet, and it may not be in the most positive light.

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