Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cultural Competency in Pharmacy Students




The following link will send you to an article evaluating the effectiveness of cultural competency training on 60 pharmacy students (from first year to fourth year). In this study, an 8 hour elective course was offered on cultural competency. At the conclusion of the course, a 12 item survey was given to evaluate the effectiveness of the class. Click the link to read the study, and let us know what you think. Give us a little critical evaluation!


64 comments:

Stacy said...

Ok first of all (Josh) I appologize that I am commenting at the last minute for this weeks blog, and secondly, it is nice to see that other areas of professionalism are promoting cultural competence along with social work. I mean how could they not be with such a diverse population that America has now, but you never know. I am so glad to see that something as basic as having your medicine filled at the local pharmacy is considering the appropriateness of the difference culture makes on individual understanding of the situation at hand. I suppose that because I am so focussed on social work I don't really know the emphasis on cultural diversity in other professional fields. I do know that it is a must in successfully dealing with individuals these days due to the broad array of populations that are located all around the world for successful business regardless what that business deals with. Having cultural knowledge is pertinent to working with individuals today because regardless of the reasons people need your services (social work related or not) there are so many places in the world where many different cultures mesh together and being culturally competent is the only way that one can best serve them all. I have to say that I am proud of the professions in this country for recognizing that so many diverse populations live in this country and it is just as important to serve one culture as it is the next. I also think it is pertinent as a social worker to have a basic knowledge of the other cultures outside my own that I may come in contact with in the future.

Stu J. said...

I'd like to see follow-up survey administered 6 months later rather than immediately after course to see if true learning occurred rather than the immediate moment.

Stacey L said...

I guess I had never really thought about the need for the local pharmacist to have culture training. It makes sense though, because each culture has believes about medication and the effects both positive and negative a medication might have on someone. So to better help a patient understand the benefits of the medication, if the pharmacist can educate the patient on terms that they can understand, the patient would probably be more compliant with their medication. I think that anyone that has to work with the public should be required to have some kind of ethnic/culture training. We are the melting pot and I know that we are scared of something we are not familiar with. Therefore if we are required to have a basic course on the different cultures in our area I feel that it would be beneficial to everyone. It is also worth noting that the course seemed to have had an effect on the students as evidenced by the post test results had a positive outcome. Stacey L

ojwashington said...

I think that Cultural Competency is not only needed in the field of social work but in all of the helping professions. It has been my experience with working with other helping professionals such as pharmacists, doctors, and dentists there appears to be lack of cultural competency through the fact that many of their offices do not employ employees that are representative of diverse populations. There has been many instances where these other helping professions have contacted our agency to utilize our interpreters. I have spoken with several of the professionals who inform me that when they are not able to locate an interpreter they do the best they can to understand the needs of their Hispanic clients. I would also like to state that the State of Alabama Medicaid policy states that any provider that accepts Medicaid must also provide interpreters to address the needs of the growing Hispanic community. Recently, in Fort Payne a pharmacy, and a doctor office have hired full time Hispanic employees to become more cultural competent.

ojwashington said...

Stacy in regards to the emphasis on cultural diversity in other professional fields I have seen the need for increased cultural competency. Read my post about some of the issues we are having in Dekalb County, Al regarding the need for more professionals in the helping field to become more focused on cultural competency.

Linda B said...

I think it is important for all professionals to display culture competence in their professional interactions. The Pharmacy students were given a pre-test, attended an 8 hour inservice on cultural competence, and were then given a post-test. The results of the test indicated that the participant's knowledge of cultural competence had increased. But the question in my mind is did the participates internalize this information, and incorporate it in their interaction with clients from other cultures? It is fairly easy to increase one's score on a post-test after being exposed to information, but it is much harder to internalize this information.

Linda B said...

Addressing Stu J.'s comment, I agree that a delayed post-test might give a more reliable indicator to measure the participant's retained knowledge.

scarlett holt said...

The abstract noted that schools provide cultural awareness...communication skills that are needed for these students while on the job, but that there were few tools to evaluate the effectiveness of the training provided. It is good to know that this was recognized and that this tool was implemented. When comparing the pre and post test results, it appears that the training was effective.
Scarlett H.

scarlett holt said...

Re: Stu j.
I think that the testing should have been done immediately after the training, as well as follow-up testing to allow for measure and comparison of the benefits of the training.
Scarlett H.

T M Morgan said...

Training like this would be important for individuals in all fields that deal with the public. I can see where it would be especially important for people like doctors, nurses, social workers and teachers. Misunderstanding a client or even misunderstanding a nuance of conversation could have disastrous results and far reaching consequences.

Anonymous said...

Comment on Pharmacist being culturally aware...
After reviewing the study abstract, it appears that the class was beneficial in making the students more culturally aware. As such, the pharmacy educational program should include a session to increase the cultural awareness of the students, due to the vast amount of persons residing within the countries boundaries. Because if you think about and complete a study asking for participants to identify the US culture, on average, how many would have similar replies? Just a thought. Reply to Stacy....
I agree with Stacy, that I am also so wrapped up in Social Work that I often neglect to consider other professions and their cultural awareness. I realize however, in working with clients, the environment in which the client receives his/her medication is important, and must be a concern for the social worker, so culturally aware pharmacist and medical providers is something that social workers need to advocate for. As a social worker if a I refer a client for medications, and the medical providers or pharmacist is not aware of possible conflicts of certain medications with the clients culture, then as a social worker, I have neglected to successfully advocate for my client's best interest.

V. Holloway Tusc.

Walter L. said...

The pharmacy students showed a vast improvement after their cultural competency training. We live in a country with many different cultures and this training will help anyone become familars with other or become sensivity to other cultures. We should incorporate this training at the six grade levels and maybe we can get alone with each other better. Walter L.

I agree with t.m. morgan. Misunderstanding can lead to disastrous results and far reaching consequences. Walter l.

S.Ray said...

I agree that all helping professions certainly need to possess knowledge of diverse cultures. The study completed by the pharmacy students is a step in the right direction. The objective was to have pharmacists interact “effectively” with patients with cultural backgrounds different from their own. I think the key word here is EFFECTIVELY. We all interact with people from cultures different from our own; however how well we interact is the important factor. No matter what our career choice, I believe that cultural knowledge is essential in how successful we are, not only in our profession, but in our contact with other individuals. All people, not just helping professionals, should be aware of cultural differences and respect those differences. I concur with other comments made about the appropriateness of cultural awareness training and also wonder if that training would be internalized after a period of time.

S.Ray said...

I agree with V. Holloway regarding the need to continue to be an advocate for our clients. We cannot assume that all professions will make an effort to be culturally aware. As social workers with a code of ethics that addresses this issue we continue to be in the forefront in regard to the importance of cultural awareness.

amanda said...

I thought the study was interesting. However, I am not sure that the study actually proves anything. We all know how to study for our tests in class. However it is a different ball game when you have to apply what you have learned to everyday situations, especially when working with the public and how diverse our clients’ lives are during any given day. I think there does need to be more training on cultural competency in school as well as in the actual work place. I am interested to know if the training stuck as the students started in their careers. I did not have a bit of training on cultural competency when I first started my job at family court, so needless to say I was in shock for a while. I know that training in a classroom is not nearly the same as everyday life for the clients we served, but it would have been helpful for me to have a little understanding before thrown into the field.
Amanda H

amanda said...

I agree with Stacey I on the fact that pharmacists need more cultural competency training. Not only so they can help the clients understand the medication and the dosage, but also to understand the view that different cultures may have on taking medication.

Amanda H

jefN gadsden said...

Cultural competency is a class that everyone should take, in elementary, high schools, and college. It is just taking some time for everyone to see the need for it. I am from Oxford and up until about seven years ago there were only black folks and white folks. There were ethnic groups that ran restaurants, but besides that, that was it. So, especially for this area, we are trying to catch up and I feel like we have made a lot of progress, considering.

jefN gadsden said...

As far as the post-test are concerned, Stu has a point, but immersing people in cultural competency is the only way to impart the knowledge. That’s like saying, “here’s an algebra 2 test” and if you fail it, question the validity of mathematics.

Anonymous said...

ORIGINAL POST
It is obviously a good thing for all professions, military etc... to have training in being more culturally aware. This needs to take place early in life because not everyone finishes highschool or goes on college where this is mostly taught.

With the pharmacists, I think their job is to fill the Rx and explain side effects, interactions, directions etc... in a way the person can understand. When it comes to how a particular culture views meds & illness, I think that lies more in the hands of the doctor. They are the one that actually writes the Rx. If they have a problem, it can be corrected on the spot. Once it gets to the pharmacy it is really to late to do anything about if they have a personal conflict with the medication.
Matt G. (gadsden)

Stacey L said...

I agree with Amanda in the fact that until we are placed in the situation, we really do not know what to expect. We can learn about the different cultures, but until we are placed in a face to face situation and we do not know what to expect, who can say what we might say or do. We all hope to do or say the right thing, not to offend the individual that we might be working with, but there is nothing like being all by yourself and having to make the decisions right then and there. Stacey L.

Destin C said...

Good point Jeff, I agree that continued education is where cultural competence will eventually become relevant within professional agencies and society in general. When I was a medical social worker, we were required to take a spanish class for 8 weeks; 3hours per class, class two nights per week. Because of the inlfux of hispanics on Sand Mountain at that time, the hospital needed to be able to better communicate with the patients. However,after the classes were over I came away with minimal understanding of the language and only knew basics such as months of the year, and how to identify myself as the "sociales." It didn't stay with me as some of the other comments had inquired even following the post test. This also rang true with my colleagues.Cultural competence requires pertinent knowledge of varying degrees of important cultural factorsand is a continual life-long process.

Sara S. said...

Original posting

I found the article on cultural competency for pharmacy students to be interesting. I can relate to this article because in my last nursing job I worked directly with pharmacy students and indigent patients trying to get medications. The patients that I worked with did not have any insurance, and most of them did not speak any English. We even had an incident where a Spanish speaking patient received instructions for medication in English, and ended up almost overdosing on medication. Since then the hospital has implemented a new system that prints instructions in Spanish. We also have two interpreters available at all times by phone to clarify and instructions. It is so important for not only pharmacy students, but anyone working in a professional environment with people to be culturally competent. The only thing that really stood out to me about the research article itself was the fact that the researchers used surveys to evaluate the student’s awareness of diversity. I think that sometimes surveys can be biased. I would have liked to see the survey questions. One thing that the researchers did to lessen some of the bias was to use a pre test/ post test design.

Sara S. (Tuscaloosa)

sslbama said...

In response to Stu. J.

I agree with you on administering the follow up survey six months later rather than immediately after. It seems that the students may remember more information right after the cultural competency course. I would like to see how they are implementing what they learned six months after the course. This is such an important topic for pharmacy students to grasp. Being a culturally competent pharmacist could help save someone’s life.

Sara S. (Tuscaloosa)

Destin C said...

Sand Mountain has undergone major demographic changes over the past several years.However, the culturally competent factor appears to be minimal in every aspect in our communities.From the medical professions, education systems, to the business sectors, implementation of cultural sensitivity and competence can be noted on a minimal scale. As noted in the Code of Ethics, sophisticated cultural competence does not come naturally to any Social Worker and requires a high level of professionalism and knowledge; which is a lifelong process. Progress has been attempted, but how effective have those measures been? We all have probably witnessed differences being treated as deficits in all of our counties. As we have been learning, all people are not tolerant of various heritages/differing backgrounds. This is an effort we will all have to undertake to adominately raise awareness within each system were involved with outside of our agency, and implement the mechanics for the evaluation of competence based practice within the agency.

TIF.V said...

I work at a local store that has a pharmacy and it is ironic that we would be blogging about this topic. Just the other day the pharmacist and my boss were having a conversation about how they could provide services to assist the elderly and how they could get other customers to come into the store. My boss suggested that they use one of my Spanish speaking coworkers to help with relating and communicating with our Hispanic customers. I thought it was great that the pharmacist acknowledged that we needed to do something in our store to better assist our customers. Usually when someone comes up with something pertaining to customer service in pertains to a “sale”. I think everyone is beginning to see that the world is not made of the same people. There are different cultures and races in the world that we have to interact with everyday and for other professions to realize that they have to specialize in areas outside of their basic training, is big!

Teresa D. / Gadsden Center said...

It is refreshing to see that other professionals are learning cultural competency. It is my belief that everyone who serves the public should at least be aware that cultural differences exist and that we all need to respect that. This country is mae up of such a great variety of cultures that could be served better if we all understood where they are coming from as we try to address their needs. This was only an eight hour class, so I wonder just how much they learned about various cultures. I had a class for an entire semester and am still learning. But with the results, it is clear that the 8 hours did make a difference.

Teresa D. / Gadsden Center said...

In response to Stacy;
Good point about "something as basic as having your medicine filled at the local pharmacy is considering the appropriateness of the difference culture makes on individual understanding of the situation at hand." This may be basic, but how very important it is to understand the pharmacist and his/her insturctions concerning the medications. Cultural competency could really come into play here.

Teresa D. / Gadsden Center said...

In response to V. Holloway Tusc.;
Great idea that the school of pharmacy include cultural competency in it curriculum. I think all professionals should have the opportunity to learn cultural competency.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Linda B. it would be easier to increase your acore after taking the class and you have an idea of what questions are likely to be asked. But to internalize the information and to put into practice is different.

Anonymous said...

Josh,
Sorry I forgot to sign my name to my comment. Donna A.

Anonymous said...

I can definitely see the need for training on cultural competency in other professions especially pharmacy. We all know that some groups whether they are ethnic or religious feel differently about taking medications and the neccessity of them. If a pharmacist knows this and has an understanding of what approaches he or she could use to work with this individual it could make a lot of difference. A lot of meds are life and death. One thing though I would like to see the class be made mandatory instead of an elective. Donna A

Amy H. said...

This article and topic made me think about the importance of cultural competence for pharmacists. I think sometimes people dont realize how much they depend on their pharmacist to answer those quick questions that often come up about illnesses and medications. It would be very beneficial for a pharmacist to be culturally aware since they have a lot of face to face contact with patients and their caregivers. As communities continue to change and expand cultural awareness, knowledge, and communication skills remain an important aspect and need for the healthcare field in general.

Amy H. said...

In response to Stacey L... I agree also that anyone working with the public needs some form of cultural competency training. In most instances pharmacists are often called when there are questions about medications and their uses because they are usually easier to contact than the doctor. With that being said, a pharmacist would need to understand the different cultures and beliefs that go along with medication use. I think this also deals with the older generation that become confused with generics and other drug coverage changes.

Karen P said...

This brief article sparked a number of thoughts about the area of cultural competence. First, let me offer my support of any training or educational opportunity that is geared towards the enhancement of one’s cultural competency skills. I feel it the responsibility of businesses, academic institutions, and/or other agencies/organizations, that provide services and employ individuals from many diverse, cultural backgrounds to incorporate culturally appropriate practices that promote awareness and competency.

I am not surprise that that implementation of an 8-hour elective course concluded with positive results of “raised student awareness of diversity…” However, I pose that unfortunately awareness does not always guarantee practice, whether you participant in a training program/class or not. I have worked for an organization that dedicates time and financial resources to periodic, formalized training by external professionals in the areas of cultural competence, but I have still witnessed on some occasions a blatant disregard or lack of effort to recognize and be sensitive and respect the cultural differences of employees and/or clients. Furthermore, while I do understand that this was a study, I recognized the fact that it was an elective course. With our growing society of diverse and culturally distinct citizens, I feel that professional disciplines, such as pharmacy (discussed in the article), medicine, nursing, social work, etc…necessitate required courses that emphasize cultural competence.

With that said, as I previously alluded to in the above paragraph, the practice of culturally competent behavior is a choice, as is racial or discriminatory behavior. We can have all the training and education, but how we utilize it is up to us. As Social Workers, it is our ethical responsibility and obligation to not only practice cultural competence behavior, but encourage, and in some cases, facilitate similar behavior and practices from other professionals and affiliates. Cultural competence should not be an optional skill, but one that is perceived as a required competence to make us better, more well-rounded professionals that are adequately prepared to address to needs of our clients.

Karen P said...

Response to Sara S.:

Sara, I can similarly identify with work within a prescription assistance program, and the difficulties that arise when the clients/patients are non-English speaking. My agency is fortunate to have on-site bilingual staff at some of its sites, but we have grown so large over the years that it was necessary to invest in a Language Line service to ensure we were providing culturally competent services at all our agency sites. The Language Line service provides you with a certified Interpreter via phone for many languages (including Spanish, which we access most frequently).

While we considered this to be a great investment and service to our patients as well as staff, there has been some resistance by staff to utilize the Language Line in lieu of an on-site Interpreter. This has caused patients to have extended wait times unnecessarily and reduces the level of customer satisfaction with services provided.

In our individual professional arenas, particularly in health care, we must constantly try to identifying new strategies and practices that address all the needs of the patients we serve and make them feel welcome and comfortable during their visit. However, strategies and practices are only effective if they a delivered appropriately with the right attitude, sensitivity, and compassion that an individual situation may necessitate.

SWilliams said...

Ojwashington, I have to agree with you about the need to have education with regards to the Hispanic community. In my local community there has been an influx in Hispanic immigrants within the last couple of years. I’ve noticed in the community that many of these immigrants rely on their children to interpret for them. People who have lived in the community for most of their lives do not understand the Spanish language or the Hispanic culture. Not only is the language a barrier but many of these immigrants continue with the customs of their homeland. I know that some of these immigrants are wary of people in the community because they are here illegally. I’ve also noticed that many members of the community have resentment towards the Hispanic community, for different reasons. If members of the community were more knowledgeable regarding the different aspects of the Hispanic culture, would there be some of the different feelings towards the Hispanic culture? I don’t know but I think there would be.

SWilliams said...

Cultural competency is needed in all professions. Recently I was watching a TV show where an African American doctor was attempting to give an African American patient a particular medication. The patient responded that he did not want any medication because as he referred to it that it was a white man’s medication. While the doctor attempted to explain that the medication was only created to help him over come the illness that he was suffering from he still would not take the prescription. While this was within the same race, there are issues like this that develops across all races. Professionals should be able to care for their patients/client/etc. to the best of their abilities. If a professional is unable to understand the specific culture and what their beliefs are then, how will they be able to provide the best care for their patient/client/etc. Personally I believe that each college student should take a class in cultural competency before they graduate. As social workers, by educating ourselves in the different beliefs of various cultures we will be able to provide our clients with services that will help them reach their fullest potential. By educating ourselves in cultural competency, we will become not only more productive social workers but also more productive individuals for society.

Tiffiney Brittingham said...

I never thought about going to the pharmacy and wondering if the person preparing my medication understands me or my culture. It is a great idea to have the students take the courses and improve upon their cultural competence. I never questioned a pharmacist's cultural competence because I live in a small town and the pharmacist is well known. He knows nearly everyone in the town. He even makes medication suggestions. I can see the importance of have the students take the courses.

We live in an forever growing country and cultural competence should be required for many more professions.

Linda B makes a valid point. I would have been nice to know the impact the courses had on the students in practice. How many are truly competent and how many are only competent from class and test exposure.

Tiffiney Brittingham

Anonymous said...

Guess I am a little surprised that there is not more being done with cultural competency. I am keenly aware of mistakes that can occur when there are communication gaps, especially due to language. America is the melting pot of various cultures and I would have thought most in the health care arena would be given some cultural training at some point.
My concern, as with others, is anyone can study for a test and learn what they need to at that moment. My question would be, did the students apply this knowledge in their pharmacy work? We don't know because their was only a prior and upon completion test. I think maybe more follow up is needed, possibly at 6 months to see if the results are any different.
Angel, Tusc

Anonymous said...

Re: Donna A.
I agree meds are life and death and part of the pharmacist job is to educate and explain. If there are cultural differences and the pharmacist/staff does not have general knowledge of religious/cultural beliefs, then how is he/she giving the best care possible to the patient? Working in healthcare for the past 12 years I have had to educate the staff, doctors included, when cultural issues have come up and find that most appreciate the information. Social workers can do all they can to educate, but they are not in the pharmacy.
Angel, Tusc.

bekkah_s said...

I agree with everyone else that cultural competency is an integral part of our lives as social workers as well as in other professionals. In order the have the best relationship possible with someone, respect is needed. Like others that have commented, I never thought of a pharmacist having cultural competency education.

I agree with Amanda H. when she said that she wasn't sure if the study proved anything. Even if the students were tested again after they became professionals and were working, it may be unlikely to get accurate results from a test even then. No one likes to admit that they could have discriminated against someone knowingly or unknowingly because they were not sensitive enough. I know that health care providers must work as a team. However, I feel that decisions for medication strategies would be primarily discussed with a physician or nursing staff. If the client is uncomfortable with the recommendations, then hopefully they would ask for an alternative method of treatment. If they feel uncomfortable doing this, then, as Virginia H. said it is our job as social workers to advocate for our client's needs with their permission.

R.A.Montgomery said...

Implementation and Evaluation of Cultural Competency Training with Pharmacy Students: Although I have yet to find a social work related study on evaluation and cultural competency, I thought I would post the NASW standards of cultural competency. Below you will find the link for these standards. Check them out. Are the standards what you thought they would be? Do you think anything else should be added to make them more culturally relevant? Let me know what you think.

Are the standards what you thought they would be?
Yes The NASW code of Ethics standards are precise and provide a sound guild for ethical social work practice. You know what is expected of you at all times. There are very few vague issues when it comes to the Code of Ethics. Cultural Competence is an issue, which will continue to evolve due to our changing society and consumer/client needs.

Do you think anything else should be added to make them more culturally relevant? Not at this time at the NASW, level but maybe at the college level. One thing I would like to ad is that the NASW site has a social work portal section, which provides links to relevant social work topics it would be nice if the University of Alabama provided the same type of service to its alumni. However once we graduate we will not be able to access the college library, and that is when we will need evidence based information the most.


REPLYS
Tiffiney Brittingham said...
Tiffiney, I agree,
I agree that our profession has some of the most precise standards it helps one to understand the Cultural competence and the guidelines of social work practice buy establishing a sound base for the continual development client focused social work practice.

Conteria Williams’s original post
I agree, with your post on every point. As a LBSW, I have had to research many issues that were a cause for concern and my first stop has always been the NASW Code of Ethics. It has always been a security blanket for me to know where I stand when it comes to providing quality social work practice

chadknight said...

Wow! It's hard to believe that this evaluation was completed as late as 2003. It appears some professions are way behind the curve on cultural competency. It seems to me that one of the most important thing the pharmacist does, other than filling the needed prescription, is to explain proper use of the medication, side effects, etc. Some understanding of other cultures would be necessary to do such a job...in this social worker's opinion.

chadknight said...

In response to stu:

I agree that more education is necessary. However, this evaluation was on the elective course, which obviously made some difference according to the pretest/posttest scores. But, some additional follow-up is important. Possibly make it a required course instead of elective.

LaTasha T. said...

The author of this article identifies the knowledge-based program objective as to increase awareness about cultural diversity. The logic model that is presented in the study on establishing a cultural competence program for pharmacy students appears to be plausible. It is so important that professionals are aware of the differences that exist amongst culture groups. Many other professions could learn from this example that is presented. I think that most pharmacy professionals think about how their medicine will help to benefit the client. The interaction that pharmacists have with their clients can make all the difference. I know personally I would prefer to go to a pharmacist who has a knowledge based in cultural diversity.

Again, I believe that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. Some cultures might think that it is rude for other cultures to be insensitive towards their cultural needs. In this case, I think that having that knowledge of cultural norms and how to react can be helpful for both the consumer and the professional.

According to the results of the study, the implementation of this course was effective. I think that the researchers received the desired outcome.
However, I think that an assessment should have also been administered after the students graduated and were practicing pharmacy. I think that it is a difference between taking a class and actually putting knowledge learned into action.

Tysie Baker said...

I think it is a very good idea for other occupations to focus on cultural competency as well, as the social work profession. Although, the social work profession deals greatly with the general public in terms of diversity, other occupations should also focus on communicating with diverse populations. I believe that since the United States is so culturally rich with many different populations then we should act as so, especially in serving the communities and in customer service, besides pharmacy is customer service.

Tysie Baker said...

I agree with OJ Washington's response to Stacy in regards to other occupations receiving cultural competence classes. When I worked for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, due to their rich diversity, it was mandatory for each employee to complete an eight hour class on diversity. Once the class was completed each employee received a certificate of completion. The class was very insightful because it actually gave us the ratio of each population on the campus. We were also taught how to be respectful of others.

Ariel said...

I found this article to be very interesting. It is great to see that others (besides social workers) are taking an interest in cultutral competence. It is important that every profession are given courses on cultural competency. This will reduce anxiety in both the clients and professionals.

Ariel C.

Ariel said...

I agree with Scarlett that a follow up should have been done immediately after training as well as months later. Although some people have a very short-term memory, things such as cultural differences/competence is hard to forget.

Ariel C.

Anonymous said...

The need for cultural competency in all professional programs is vital when dealing with the public. I (like many of my other classmates) never thought about the importance of a pharmacist being able explain a medication, its side effects, or alternatives in a culturally sensitive manner. The thought of going somewhere as common as a pharmacy and being misunderstood or judged for my beliefs and traditions is disconcerting. I think that as social workers we acknowledge the importance of and have respect for other cultures, and I know that I often expect that all other professions have been educated about this also. However, the fact is other professions do not see its value when placed against other subjects of their education. I feel that other programs of study should definitely implement this into the curriculum, but I think it’s a great step that pharmacy students already have.
Heather M.

Anonymous said...

In response to Amanda H.’s comment about classroom training vs. real life / hands on. I agree that there is a huge difference and classroom training by no means prepares you to deal with all the situations that real life circumstances deal out. However, I feel that it’s a great place to start. Especially if you haven’t had any experience, as we all have to start somewhere.
Heather M.

Kristie said...

I agree with Stu, a follow up survey several months down the road could help determine if the pharmacy students really learned something regarding cultural competency, other than just giving an "in the moment" response. Also, it would be good to see if what they learned is actually being put to practice.

Kim B. said...

Cultural competency is extremely important for all professions. Learning and respecting the different cultures should be something every profession should be trained in thoroughly as well as, every individual.

I enjoyed this article because it helped me to stop and think that not only is it important as Social Workers to be culturally competent, but it is also important that any person who is working with the public should be trained in cultural competence no matter what kind of service they are offering.

Kim B. said...

In response to Linda B.... I also wondered how they gauged whether or not the students applied the information learned in the pre and post test. I think some evaluation of how the pharmacy students interacted with different cultures after the testing. Maybe an evaluater could observe the students a month after the testing by doing something like a secret shopper to see how they were treated.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that this training was not previously a part of the curriculum for Pharmacist. Communication barriers could be dangerous, especially as it relates to knowledge of compatible medication and the mixture of meds with drugs and alcohol.

LDW

Anonymous said...

I agree with ojwashington, it makes a positive statement when employees that provide public services mirror their consumers in terms of diversity.

LDW

chaunp said...

This was a really refreshing article because one of my best friends is the associate director of pharmacy at the VA hospital in Tuscaloosa, Al. I shared this article with her as well and asked her what their cultural compentence trainings entelled, and what was the cultural makeup of the employees. She stated that the employees were very diverse ranging from black and white americans, asians, latino's, and africans. She stated that cultural competence training was required. The training was not a group assembly process with a speaker but was computer based with a pre and post test that has to be successfully completed for employment with the VA. With such a diverse staff population their knowledge of others different from themselves within the work place as well as the patients is essential to the well being of the client and a healthy work environment.

chaunp said...

In reference to Stacy's response I agree that it is refreshing that other professions are responsive to the need for cultural competence training. Future pharmacist will come in contact with individuals from all walks of life and they should be aware of how to effectively communicate with groups of people from other cultures, what questions to ask, knowledge of beliefs and traditions that could be extremely important to some who may try to medicate themselves through various herbs or home remedies. Having this knowledge would be very helpful and quite possibly save the individual from some serious complications. My friend did a pharmacy rotation on an Indian reservation and stated there were some communication issues and issues with various rituals and practices. She stated there was a high rate of STD's, diabetes and alcholism. In order to treat them and properly convey their prescribed treatment she had to use pictures. For example she had to draw a picture of the sun to tell them when to take their morning medications. Cultural competence within any work environment setting is extremely important to the well being of all individuals.

Stu J. said...

In response to Walter's input, I appreciate the hope expressed and the intent of the researchers.

LaTasha T. said...

Response to Stacy:

I agree that it is so imperative that when working with the public, despite which area it might be, it is important to have cultural competence. Our society is forever evolving, therefore it is so imperative that everyone be respectful of others cultures.

T M Morgan said...

I disagree with Jeff, I think we are still soooo woefully far behind culturally. There still are not a large variety of different cultures in our area, especially in the smaller communities and it seems as if people are very resistant to "outsiders."

nikkig said...

I have already commented on the cultural competency for pharmacy students, but I had to say that reading this made me think of the Wal-Mart pharmacy commercials in which the pharmacists are always so helpful to their clients, and have even gotten to know them to the point that they are able to see each client as an indivdual and offer them assistance as such. Though I love the commercials, I hate that I don't often see that same level of service in the stores. Perhaps a course on cultural competence could be beneficial.

Debbie Walker said...

I can understand why it would be so important for Pharmacists to improve their cultural awareness these days. Folks are on so many meds and many times cultural barriers may affect the way people take their meds. It is so important for pharmacists, doctors and nurses to expand their knowledge base regarding different cultures and possible “home remedies” that certain cultures may prescribe that may or may not work well with prescription medications.

Debbie Walker said...

I can understand why it would be so important for Pharmacists to improve their cultural awareness these days. Folks are on so many meds and many times cultural barriers may affect the way people take their meds. It is so important for pharmacists, doctors and nurses to expand their knowledge base regarding different cultures and possible “home remedies” that certain cultures may prescribe that may or may not work well with prescription medications.