How should teaching of undergraduates in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics be delivered and assessed?
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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ABSTRACT: To develop and evaluate for the National Prescribing Service (NPS) a web-based interactive prescribing curriculum for Australian senior medical students based on the World Health Organization's Guide to Good Prescribing. Teachers of prescribing from all Australian medical schools in 2000 wrote 12 case-based modules which were converted to on-line format. Objective evidence was provided for selecting first-line medicines from available alternatives by comparing efficacy, safety, convenience and cost. The curriculum was made available to final year students in 2001 and was evaluated by measuring use from web statistics and by semistructured interviews with 15 teachers (2003) and on-line surveys of 363 students over 2003 and 2004. By 2004 the curriculum was used by nine of 11 possible medical schools. Uptake increased each year from 2001 and all 12 modules were accessed consistently. Student access was significantly (P < 0.001) greater when prescribing was an assessable part of their course. Teachers' evaluations were uniformly supportive and the curriculum is seen as a valuable resource. Student responses came from a small proportion of those with password access but were also supportive. Over half of student respondents had created their own evidence-based formulary. A collaborative venture initiated by the NPS with Australian medical schools has been successfully implemented in most courses. Teachers find the resource of high quality. Student respondents find the curriculum valuable in developing their own prescribing skills. It is best delivered by self-directed study followed by tutorial discussion of prescribing decisions.British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 01/2007; 62(6):653-9. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Prescribing drugs is a key responsibility of a doctor and requires a solid grounding in the relevant scientific disciplines of pharmacology and therapeutics (PT). The move away from basic science disciplines towards a more system-based and integrated undergraduate curriculum has created difficulties in the delivery of PT teaching in some medical schools. We aimed to develop a web-based strategy to overcome these problems and improve the PT learning experience. We designed and introduced 'eDrug', a dynamic interactive web-based student formulary, as an aid to teaching and learning of PT throughout a 5-year integrated medical curriculum in a UK medical school of 1300 students. This was followed by a prospective observational study of student-reported views about its impact on their PT learning experience. eDrug was rated highly by students and staff, with the main benefits being increased visibility of PT in the curriculum, clear identification of core drugs, regular sourcing of drug information via direct links to accredited sources including the British National Formulary, prioritization of learning, immediate access and responsiveness. It has also served as a focus of discussion concerning core PT learning objectives amongst staff and students. Web-based delivery of PT learning objectives actively supports learning within an integrated curriculum.British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 01/2007; 62(6):673-81. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Since the discipline expanded during 1970-1990, the number of UK consultant clinical pharmacologists has fallen. This paper describes the results of a questionnaire survey of the work patterns of 53 UK consultant clinical pharmacologists, including 35 (66%) employed by universities and 13 (25%) employed by the National Health Service (NHS). The range of activities undertaken includes: teaching medical students and others the principles of clinical pharmacology and practical therapeutics; research in a wide range of pharmacological and therapeutic areas; patient care, mostly in acute and general hospital medicine and in out-patient clinics; service both locally and nationally on a wide range of committees related to drug therapy; editorial work on learned journals and preparation of written teaching materials, including journal articles, didactic textbooks, reference books, and e-learning materials. The median amount of time that a UK consultant clinical pharmacologist spends on these activities is 50 hours per week; several work more than that. The time is spent as follows: teaching 10%; research 40%; clinical work 30%; policy and administration 12%; editorial work and writing 8%. The numbers of physicians who have been newly registered with the General Medical Council as clinical pharmacologists each year has so far been undiminished, but the number of consultant posts has fallen in 1990-2010. Many trainees therefore leave the discipline when they become consultants.British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 08/2011; 73(2):161-9. · 3.58 Impact Factor