Home' Australian Pharmacist : December 2011 Contents Vol. 30 -- December #12, 2011
Slang course wins award
Pharmacy students from international
backgrounds are learning Australian
colloquialisms -- as a matter of life
'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,
project team leader Jacqueline Bond
from The University of Queensland
(UQ) School of Pharmacy.
'These sayings can completely
bamboozle pharmacists from
The innovative language program
-- offered to first-year pharmacy
students -- last month won the 2011
UQ Teaching and Learning Awards.
Ms Bond said, 'In a serious situation,
someone might urgently seek advice
from a pharmacist saying: "He's
cactus, he's carked it, call the ambo!"
They might hear that someone has
been out raging all night, got rotten,
been on the plonk, on the turps or on
the grog, had a liquid lunch, and now
feels rooted or stuffed. They might
complain about not being able to
'A patient might ask a pharmacist
if something is ridgy-didge or fair
dinkum, or say: "Are you having
a lend?" They might offer to give
something a burl, say a child has
been screaming like a stuck pig,
or that someone has gone troppo.
Pharmacists deal with all sorts of
questions -- customers might ask
about their old fella, their map of
Tassie, whether they can buy some
frangers or should see a gynie.
'Pharmacists working in beachside
locations might hear how someone
got stung by a bluey or had a brush
with a Bondi cigar. Someone might tell
a pharmacist they don't like injections
because they are a real wuss, or don't
want a product because it is too exxy.
'If there are communication
difficulties, the clients could be
mad as a cut snake and accuse
the pharmacist of being a drongo
and having kangaroos loose in the
Ms Bond said the language program
was developed as a multi-disciplinary
collaboration between UQ academics
in the fields of pharmacy, language
and higher education.
'It's vital that pharmacists have
excellent communication skills when
they enter the profession, to ensure
that medicines are used safely and
effectively. For cultural or linguistic
reasons, some students face
challenges in using both the colloquial
language required for interactions with
patients, and the clinical language
required for interactions with other
' she said.
The project team comprised
10 experts from the UQ School
of Pharmacy, UQ's Institute of
Continuing and TESOL Education,
and the Teaching and Educational
'Unlike other generic language
courses, students in our program
develop their competence using
scenarios that have been customised
specifically for pharmacy, like talking
to patients about medications for
coughs and colds,
' Ms Bond said.
'In these instances, we teach students
the type of language that patients may
use to communicate their symptoms,
such as "I feel under the weather"
or "I'm crook"
. In addition, we have
created specific activities to ensure
students learn the correct clinical
language to work with pharmacists,
doctors, specialists, physiotherapists
and other professionals in health.
The course was introduced in 2008
and students have since shown
improved performance in oral and
written exams, as well as greater
engagement in their studies.
'A really important benefit is the
students' increased confidence when
they complete their placements in
real pharmacies, in the community,
Ms Bond said.
'From a teaching perspective, it has
been very rewarding to collaborate
with language and diversity
specialists to deliver learning
outcomes that, eventually, impact the
First national pharmacy
National data on pharmacy is available
for the first time ever in the Pharmacy
Board of Australia's information in the
AHPRA and National Boards' annual
report released last month.
The 2010--11 annual report gives an
insight into Australia's 530,115 health
practitioners across 10 professions
regulated under the National
Registration and Accreditation Scheme
(the National Scheme).
It says that pharmacy has the largest
proportion of young practitioners, with
the typical pharmacist being female,
aged 25 to 29 years and practising in
New South Wales. As well as profiling
the professions and practitioners, the
report provides the first national data
on notifications (complaints) involving
health practitioners and the actions
taken by National Boards to protect
Chair of the Pharmacy Board of
Australia (PBA) Stephen Marty said
the annual report demonstrated
transparent and accountable reporting
Jacqueline Bond with 4th year international pharmacy student Shirin Hui Tan.
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