Objective: To highlight the added value of bilingual Hispanic pharmacists in the care of Hispanic patients by sharing their patients’ language and culture.
Summary: Inability to speak and/or write in the patients’ native language severely impairs our best efforts to deliver good health care. This is a widely recognized cause of non-compliance or less than favorable possible health outcomes in Hispanic patients. What has received less attention, however, is that the ability to speak Spanish alone may not remove completely the barrier for non-compliance among Hispanics. Bilingual Spanish–English pharmacists do not have the language barrier, but if they do not recognize and accept cultural differences, their impact in their patients’ response may still be limited.
Conclusion: It is time to recognize the added value of Hispanic pharmacists to Hispanic patients’ health outcomes. Understanding and sharing a culture allows the pharmacist to make medication education and interventions relevant to the patient and spark interest in their own health care. Thus, in caring for the health of our patients, cultural barriers may be more challenging to conquer than language barriers; deep appreciation and acceptance of our patients’ belief system cannot be acquired by just reading about it, having a computerized program, or hiring an interpreter.
Cipriano, Gabriela C. and Andrews, Carlota O. (2015). "The Hispanic pharmacist: Value beyond a common language." SAGE Open Medicine 3, 1-8.
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