Dr. Sanah Hassan lectures on ‘Language competence in pharmacy education’

Dr. Sanah Hassan of College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Ajman University, Ajman delivered a lecture on ‘Language competence in pharmacy education’ during the Faculty development seminar organized by the Gulf Medical University’s College of Pharmacy on 14 February 2018.

Dr. Sanah began the talk by mentioning that ‘communication’ is an important component of seven primary responsibilities of pharmacists laid by the World Health Organization. She also emphasized that Center for the Advancement of Pharmaceutical Education (CAPE) outcomes recommend pharmacy curricula teach students to provide ‘culturally and linguistically appropriate pharmaceutical care services to diverse patient populations’ and cited the US and Finnish pharmaceutical curriculum emphasizing communications skills to their pharmacy students.

Dr. Sanah shared her experience on an innovative course ‘Communication skills and counseling’ for pharmacy students consisting of five tutorials covering principles of communication and their application in healthcare with specific objectives. Each tutorial had 20 minute lecture about the topic under consideration followed by a role-play on patient-pharmacist interactions embedded with listening and empathic responding, non-verbal communications, interviewing skills, assertiveness, counseling in special situations: conflict, anger, worry or rushed situations, and existing area of professional decision making in infectious disease, asthma and hypertension. Upon completing the course, the student feedback was positive.

The presentation stressed upon the fact that competence in ‘language and language skills’ and ‘communication skills’ are not the same. Communication skills imply the effective use of language to convey information and ideas whereas language ‘competency’ surfaced as an important element of communication in the same way as cultural competency.

The Dean of the College of Pharmacy, Dr. Sherief Khalifa commented: I am happy to see faculty exchange between colleges of pharmacy in the UAE in such seminar series. It is a great opportunity for faculty development and brings about opportunities for collaborative research. It also enriches the experience of our faculty and students and serves our educational mission and goals.