UK medical students’ perspective on the impact of the national prescribing safety assessment on their practical prescribing skills

Kennedy, Maria, Haq, Inam, Ferns, Gordon, Williams, Sian and Okorie, Michael (2018) UK medical students’ perspective on the impact of the national prescribing safety assessment on their practical prescribing skills. In: Pharmacology 2018, 18-20 DEC 2018, Queen Elizabeth 2 Conference Centre, London.

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Background and Aim
Prescribing errors continue to compromise patient safety. However, in spite of its obvious importance in health care, medical students do not feel adequately prepared for the complex task of prescribing.
The prescribing safety assessment (PSA) has become an established component of UK medical school assessments with the purpose of driving the learning of practical prescribing skills.
This study aimed to investigate UK medical students’ perspectives on the impact of the PSA on the acquisition of practical prescribing skills.

Summary of work and outcomes
1023 medical students in years three (22%; n=225), four (37%; n=378) and final (41%; n=420) from 25 UK medical schools responded to an online questionnaire. 54% of final year students reported that their medical school helped them prepare for the PSA (n=227) while 72.4% of third year (n=163) and 56.3% fourth year (n=213) students were not aware of teaching aligned with the PSA; [ χ 2(2, N=1023) =0.72.31, p<.001]. Majority (72.1%; n=303) of final year students opined that preparing for the PSA will or had already improved their practical prescribing skills, compared with 66.9% of year 4 students (n=253) and 59.6% of year 3 students (n=134); [ χ 2(2, n=1023) =10.646, p=0.005].
The main student justification for indicating positive impact of the PSA was that skills acquired in preparation for the PSA were relevant and directly transferable for use on graduation. Furthermore, the PSA enables focus on aspects of prescribing that otherwise might not have been covered in as much detail – calculations; side effects; familiarity with sources of information. Students also reported that PSA preparation might highlight individual learning needs and introduce the notion of prescribing standards.

This study highlights medical student perspectives on the impact of the PSA on practical prescribing skills. Overall, the students find the PSA exerts a positive influence on practical prescribing skills. However, there needs to be a greater consistency in medical schools providing targeted teaching in preparation for the PSA which might in turn translate into effective learning. The results also suggest that the introduction of similar assessments to the PSA in the lower years might highlight individual learning needs and lead to an earlier exposure to expected standards for prescribing competence.

From a medical student perspective, preparation for the PSA might optimise practical prescribing skills. Although this represents the views of medical students, the role of student feedback in curriculum development cannot be underestimated.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Keywords: medical students; practical prescribing skills; national prescribing safety assessment
Schools and Departments: Professional Services > Set for harvesting test Dec 19
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R690 Medicine as a profession. Physicians
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R728 Practice of medicine. Medical practice economics
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R735 Medical education
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0031 Internal medicine. Practice of medicine
Depositing User: Michael Okorie
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 16:20
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2019 09:45

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