Doctors have to be good communicators when they discuss and explain matters to patients and their families. Language skills can help when dealing with patients and families who have poor English or who do not have the right vocabulary. If you want to gain experience working abroad or join a humanitarian gap year, you may meet nothing but non-speaking patients and families. You may wish to do an internship abroad. In Ireland, if you have a home language other than English or speak a foreign language well, you can be the doctor helping people from that community.
The medical profession involves keeping on top of your field and the latest developments in research and cures. Attending conferences, dealing with pharmaceutical companies, sourcing medical devices, networking with colleagues and reading research material will all be easier if you have language skills. You will be more confident at situations where you are dealing with people from international backgrounds. A medical degree may also lead to other careers in public health area, in state bodies or at EU level. Having language skills will give you confidence and will be beneficial in creating networks.
Nursing & Midwifery
Nurses and midwives need to be quite skillful in managing the communication channels between those they are caring for and their families. Language skills will enhance your role in being able to care with more confidence, especially if you work in a place where you are likely to meet people from different backgrounds. Cultural awareness may be crucial in sensitive situations.
Nursing and midwifery are professions which travel well, and you may want to gain experience abroad. A nursing qualification is a way to an international career, or gaining experience from working abroad.
Working in a laboratory or with radiology machinery may seem like something where languages do not matter, but you will need to communicate with your team and colleagues when language skills may be required especially if you work in a setting with multilingual teams. Any training or practice carried out abroad will require language skills. Occupational therapy or nutrition also involve being engaged with international developments and peers who work in the area.
In the last few years dental treatments abroad have become a norm, making dentistry an internationally accessible healthcare area. As a dentist you might work abroad, but even if you work in Ireland you will treat patients who will appreciate your language skills. Listening and engaging with patients is an important element of dental treatment, and will be enhanced by having language skills. Interacting with peers at conferences or sourcing equipment from abroad will require some level of language skills.
Pharmacists work in customer service and benefit from having language skills to deal with the diverse customer base which exists in Ireland. Some pharmacists display the languages spoken in the premises, giving customers an opportunity to source a pharmacist where they can be served in their own language. Pharmacists deal with pharmaceutical companies, may attend international conferences and source materials from abroad. Language skills will assist you in feeling confident.
Paramedics respond to emergencies, and never know who they may come across. Language skills are helpful in dealing with most basic information which is required. Cultural awareness will be necessary in sensitive situations, and may be very important in cases where cultural practices can impact on the care given.