UQ School of Pharmacy embraces diversity

24 May 2013

A team of Pharmacy academics from the University of Queensland (UQ) have received a Vice-Chancellor’s Equity and Diversity Award, which recognises UQ staff and students who have made a significant contribution to equity and diversity.

The team from Skills for Communicating and Relating in Pharmacy Training program (SCRIPT) was presented with the award, worth $5000 at a ceremony at the University on Thursday May 23rd, 2013.

Historically, between 36 and 53 per cent of pharmacy students don't speak English at home, a language assessed in all years of the undergraduate pharmacy program.

Importantly, students and graduates need to have a high quality of discipline-specific and colloquial English to be successful.

SCRIPT recognises the challenges that these students face and developed the program, which teaches effective English communication skills.

SCRIPT is the result of multi-disciplinary collaboration between pharmacy academics from the UQ School of Pharmacy, specialist language teachers from the Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ), and higher education experts from the UQ Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI).

Project team leader Jacqueline Bond from the UQ School of Pharmacy said the program aimed to identify and address the language barrier issues for non-native English speakers, such as Australian colloquialisms, early on in their studies. 

“Someone might tell a pharmacist they have a gut-ache, had a chunder, caught a wog, chucked a sickie, couldn't eat brekkie or got bitten by mozzies,'' said Ms Bond.

“These sayings can completely bamboozle student pharmacists from non-Australian backgrounds. 

“It's vital that graduates have excellent communication skills when they enter the pharmacy profession, to ensure that medicines are used safely and effectively.” 

Ms Bond said the program was established in 2008 to better prepare undergraduates for their experiential placements in pharmacies, and oral communication assessments, which begin in their first year of study. 

The SCRIPT team: 
School of Pharmacy: Ms Jacqueline Bond, Ms Leigh McKauge, A/Prof Kathryn Steadman and ICTE-UQ: Ms Mary Cole, Ms Michele Feinberg, Ms Alex Rossi, Ms Marg Cannell and TEDI: Dr Wendy Green, Ms Terrilyn Sweep. 

For more information contact: Jacqui Bond of the School of Pharmacy, +61 7 3346 1982 and j.bond@pharmacy.uq.edu.au.