Archived News | Return to News Center

February 14, 2007

Students ask, Foreign Languages Department and College of Pharmacy deliver

Last fall several ambitious pharmacy students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe wanted to hone their Spanish-speaking skills and improve their abilities to work with diverse patients. Their ambitions resulted in the Medical Spanish course at ULM.

Ruth Smith, foreign languages department head, was impressed with the pharmacy students’ initiative in requesting the course. “These students are keenly aware of how important it is to have personnel who can communicate with clients and patients in Spanish. I think it's particularly exciting because the students took it upon themselves to request the course.”

The College of Pharmacy administration considers the Medical Spanish course an elective. Before students enroll in Medical Spanish, they must first take two basic Spanish courses. The advanced class offers ULM pharmacy students a competitive edge in the healthcare field and it ensures better patient care, said Edwin Adams, College of Pharmacy director of student and professional affairs.

“With a growing number of Hispanic-speaking persons in our geographic region, pharmacists must communicate important medication information through translators. This Spanish elective course broadens the abilities of pharmacists to communicate directly with patients,” Adams said. “Communicating with patients is the pharmacist’s first priority in assisting the patient to reach their healthcare goals. This patient-pharmacist relationship is grounded in consistent, caring communication. Course opportunities, such as this one, are an important step in removing the cultural barriers that exist in our society.”

College of Pharmacy Dean Lamar Pritchard, who hopes to learn conversational Spanish himself, also has aspirations for his pharmacy students. "I would like to see 100 percent of our students graduating with basic, conversational Spanish-speaking abilities.”

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.