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From The Angry Intern, a student of UOP (who is just an Angry Pharmacist in Training) on a “Cultural Competency” class that is given for $55k/yr
Why this is part of our curriculum still puzzles me. Yes we should be aware of other cultures; but that’s also saying we should sterotype people to some extent as well. Why do I bring this up now? Mostly because the professor teaching us how to be culturally competent is in fact the least culturally competent person I’ve met.
A class to teach how to become culturally competent? Oh, it gets better!
Speaking to the class on monday before Thankgiving Day break, she so proudly stated
“Some people think we have Thanksgiving to celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus to Plymouth Rock. His journey on the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria” ….”Oh yeah, thats right…..are you smarter than a fifth grader?” (in that “damn right I know my shit” tone)
Uh… Yeah… Now I think classes like this for pharmacists are just outright stupid. For doctors I can sorta see having something like this, because you are at least touching and examining the patient and dont want to offend her by not bowing a certain direction before you stick your hand up her hoo-hah for that annual. What the hell are we to use one of these classes for? To bow before we give out vicodin and soma to a certain class of patient? Or maybe face all of the tablets East or South or maybe North?
“Stereotyping (or racial profiling) didn’t exist until after 9/11” (I don’t know the exact words but this is pretty close)
Thats right, no pharmacist thought to themselves “Oh god, I wonder if I have norco by qualitest in stock” when they see a crackhead of a certain race/color/creed/religion/disability waltz in the front door. Nope, never happened before 9/11 or even before 9:11am for that matter. “No maam, would of never of guessed you wanted trade-name Vicodin judging by all that fake mall-island bling you are wearing and that just-about-repo’d escalade with the 1 spinner rim taking up 2 parking spots in the lot”.
Someone needs to give me some dirt other than UOP. Come on hoards of STLCOP students out there!
Comment by Nicole on 2007-12-03 09:16:17 -0800 #
I’m a StLCoP student and all the electives we have to take with reguard to culture are completely bogus. If this next statement sounds racist, I apologize in advance: but we’re learning alot about Middle Eastern culture (b/c 60% of our students are Middle Eastern) yet they know nothing about Christian culture, etc. though the majority of the American culture they will be serving are in fact… of American culture and Christian values. The professor we have for ‘World Religion’ is fascinated by the Muslim and Hindu cultures and that is ALL she focuses on. I’m sorry but in the area I will be working when I graduate, I might have a total of 2 Middle Eastern patients in a year. It’s a waste of my time, but honestly, these are the easy grades. They buffer out the C’s students get in the important classes, like Pharmacuetics and Medicinal Chemistry. Therefor, I grin and bear it, knowing as long as I write what they want to read on the paper, I’ll actually get through pharmacy school with a few A’s!
Comment by RpHHound on 2007-12-03 09:31:16 -0800 #
Im a pharmacy student, and i have the pleasure of experiencing the STLCOP try at making us culturally competent. Its a joke. In my Clinical Epidemiology class we have to write position papers after reading a senario, and then form a culural competent response…let me put this in perspective. In our last paper we were working at ‘La Clinica’…a pharmacy with a predominantly hispanic population, and after reading several articles/papers on the barriers and cultural beliefs we are supposed to write a 2.5 page paper on what we would do to overcome these. Almost everyone that wrote a 2.5 paper got an F- and the people not bending to the rules and wrote 7 page papers got better grades. The lectures are a joke, i along with most of the class dont even go to them, one ‘professor’ was quoted “You guys do realize that you’re going to have to know how to do this.” Give me a break. He would have been correct if he was taking about holding your tongue when you’re ringing out a pt/customer and another henous bitch with her blood shot eyes who reeks of cigarettes, and is no doubt stoned out of her mind, is yelling at you and carring on about you not filling her duragesic patches for the brand name b/c the doctor didnt write DAW 1 on there(ture story).But i digress, in my schools, and im sure other schools defense it is not there fault for having to teach this complete BS. The fault lies with the accredidation standard board. they make the schools comply with all these yuppie peace-love-and-happiness rules for them to continue to be accredited. Lets face it there is no Rx school that is going to be a non-accreditted and be worth a shit. Summary – stupid classes are rampant, screw the unrealistic accredidation board, and i swear if i see that stoner bitch again i am going to have a few stern words about respect for her.
Comment by AngryWhiteChic on 2007-12-03 14:09:43 -0800 #
How sad, even pharmacy schools are not immune to indoctrination of groupism. Remeber, every culture other than American culture, should be respected, understood and embraced. Press 1 for english.
Comment by Pre-PharmD on 2007-12-03 15:09:31 -0800 #
I can imagine there is some way the class could be useful.. some other cultures may have different views of using drugs (versus like homeopathic nonsense or something) and being sensitive to this might help you better explain, yes I know you aren’t used to this, and it seems weird, but this will help you get better..?
Although it sounds like the classes are nothing like that.
Comment by debbie on 2007-12-03 15:39:18 -0800 #
I work in healthcare as well and at our last endless staff meeting one of the agenda items was to discuss topics for seminars related to “cultural awareness” with which we can bore our employees. My eyes glazed over and I spent the whole time deciding which ailment I would have on the day of the seminar, when I call in sick.
Comment by mattyperch on 2007-12-03 17:18:59 -0800 #
I’m going to have to agree with Nicole on this subject. I had to take a world religions class this past semester, which is one of three theology classes included in the curriculum. Complete waste of time. Why would knowing about different religions matter when the patient is coming into an American store. Last time I checked, America had no national religion. Seriously, why should I have to have all this bogus knowledge (not that I remember any of it anyway) about someone’s religion, because when it comes down to it, I’m pretty sure the patients are not gonna give a crap what you learned way back in the day about their religion, I’m pretty sure they’re just gonna say something like “yeah, I just want to pick up my Rx’s”, and I’m pretty sure I’m paying $XXXX a credit to learn all about this when I’m pretty sure, no wait, definitely sure that I’m never going to use any of this “knowledge”….. But then again, I really don’t mind the easy A that comes along with the class to bolster my GPA after all the real pharmacy classes have degraded my solid 3.something … And by the way, in regard to the post, “Some people think we have Thanksgiving to celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus to Plymouth Rock…” blah blah blah, I’m pretty sure Columbus never went to Plymouth Rock… I’m pretty sure it was just those silly pilgrims and the big ol’ Mayflower, no Columbus included… no wait, wikipedia confirms, no Columbus… I love how these ‘professors’ just make things up, it just makes my day…
Comment by MrIncognito on 2007-12-03 18:54:18 -0800 #
The problem with the Cultural Competency classes, and much of Pharmacy School in general, isn’t the larger topics. There are probably things worth knowing about dealing with other cultures and languages. For example, speaking through an interpreter is difficult. There are probably ways of phrasing things that make it more likely your message gets across. Unfortunately, rather than spending time on the topics most relevant to practice, we spend most of our time on BS topics and busy work.
Problems like this extend to the rest of the curriculum as well. For our biochemistry class, I wrote long essays on biochemical pathways which have no known disease states and contain no drug targets, while we completely skipped the inflammatory pathways in asthma.
One of the constants in life is that the people closest to the action, who are best equipped to understand operations, are the last to be consulted. You don’t see VPs from Walgreen’s asking their techs the best way to design the computer interface, and you don’t see school administrators take advice from their students on the curriculum. Decisions made by detached people who sit in offices far away from day to day operations will always be bad, because they will always be a fundamental lack of understanding of the processes at work. This is why every work place has mountains of pointless paperwork and thick procedure manuals that everyone ignores, and this is why pharmacy school curricula never focus on the material most relevant to practice.
Comment by Satan’s Intern on 2007-12-03 19:21:57 -0800 #
Glad to know that our COP isn’t the only one…About half of our entire first year curriculum is spent learning this stuff! Only difference is we have the Indian Health Service guru who has delivered babies in elevators and I swear seeks out those who might need a tracheostomy (with a government issue pen no less). All I’ve learned about real cultural awareness has been in my pharmacy, this blog, and our friendly neighborhood DrugNazi. Now as a second year student cramming all the relevant information into my head that should have been started last year, I look back and think…well damn, I’m so glad I know not to make eye contact with a Navajo…the things we do for degrees…
Love your site by the way, keep it up =)
Comment by frustrated intern on 2007-12-05 20:34:56 -0800 #
Anything useful that I know about retail pharmacy I’ve learned from time in the trenches. School seems more concerned with making sure that I’m aware of the fact that everyone is different and that’s OK. It’s like the Death Camp of Tolerance.
Comment by this makes me sad on 2007-12-28 23:51:56 -0800 #
So, okay, I guess I will be the devil’s advocate here…
Wide-eyed pharmacy student ready to take on the world… GUILTY
BUT, those days are OVER. I rehabbed by working in retail pharmacy for a couple of years now. [Finally! I get what TAP is talking about, I love it, and I agree (mostly). TAP, you’re so eloquent, it’s amazing]. However, there is still this part of me that gives a shit about the patients that I come in contact with. I care if their meds are working for them, or whatever, the list goes on. I like to take a little bit of time (as much as possible in retail) to ask them what’s going on. I would say 95% of the time, patients are grateful for this. The other 5%, I couldn’t have gotten to anyway, but what the hell, I TRIED.
So, here goes… cultural competency, hell yeah, it’s important. Maybe… just maybe… the schools have good intentions, but have not gotten the curriculum down yet. I’ll begin by saying that I am not white. The reality is that our cultural map is changing. (Regardless of everyone’s opinions or values on cultural diversity, not going there!) Either way, it’s changing. There is a huge disparity between the number of practicing health professionals of different cultures and the amount of culturally diverse patients who need them. (Again, another tangent I wish not to get into, I realize that this is a whole other issue). I would say that pharmacists will have to deal with some sort of cultural experience while in practice.
And sadly, students don’t care. I’ve heard:
“Who needs me to read their patient education insert for them, can’t they read?”
“Why is this thing so dumbed down to 6th grade reading level?”
“We should pay more attention to people who don’t speak English because they are all uneducated.”
“If I get a patient who doesn’t speak English, I just won’t consult them.”
“Who doesn’t dispense Plan B, religious reasons my ass, it’s just a lazy cop-out.”
Etc. etc… WTF? Okay, maybe it’s not all of them, hopefully, this is a small percentage of the class, but seriously? Are you not educated “professional” students? I would hope that they would be a little more open-mined to cultural competency. If not to give learning about cultural competency a chance, but to at least acknowledge that cultural diversity is real. I find myself dealing with people of other cultures as well, so this is not aimed at just one culture in particular. EVERYONE can benefit from a little awareness.