How should teaching of undergraduates in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics be delivered and assessed?

Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University of Edinburgh, Clinical Research Centre, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK.
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.69). 02/2012; 73(6):893-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04232.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics is the academic discipline that informs rational prescribing of medicines. There is accumulating evidence that a significant minority of prescriptions in the UK National Health Service contain errors. This comes at a time when the approach to and success of undergraduate education in this area has been called into question. Various stakeholders are now in agreement that this challenging area of undergraduate education needs to be strengthened. The principles that should form the basis of future educational strategy include greater visibility of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics in the curriculum, clear learning outcomes that are consistent with national guidance, strong and enthusiastic leadership, a student formulary, opportunities to practice prescribing, a robust assessment of prescribing competencies and external quality control. Important new developments in the UK are Prescribe, a repository of e-learning materials to support education in clinical pharmacology and prescribing, and the Prescribing Skills Assessment, a national online assessment designed to allow medical students to demonstrate that they have achieved the core competencies required to begin postgraduate training.

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