A Context-Learning Pharmacotherapy Program for Preclinical Medical Students Leads to More Rational Drug Prescribing During Their Clinical Clerkship in Internal Medicine

Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacy, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Clinical Pharmacology &#38 Therapeutics (Impact Factor: 7.9). 11/2008; 84(4):513-6. DOI: 10.1038/clpt.2008.82
Source: PubMed


The irrational prescribing of drugs seems to be a general problem in medical practice, occasionally leading to serious consequences. In order to improve the drug prescribing performance of medical students, a compulsory context-learning pharmacotherapy module was implemented in 1998 in the medical curriculum of 2nd-4th-year medical students at theVU University Medical Center (VUmc), Amsterdam, The Netherlands. As part of this program, preclinical medical students are taught how to select, prescribe, and evaluate a drug regimen rationally. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of this preclinical pharmacotherapy program on the quality of rational prescribing during the ensuing clinical clerkship of these students in internal medicine. The results of this study indicate that preclinical context-learning in pharmacotherapy leads to the use of more rational prescribing modalities by medical students during their ensuing clinical clerkship in internal medicine. This effect was obtained not only with respect to the clinical topics in which training had been given as part of the pharmacotherapy curriculum, but also for other disease situations that the students dealt with. This implies that students not only remember the specific information they have learned during the training, but are also able to apply the acquired skills in new situations (transfer effect).

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    • "In the Netherlands, preclinical medical students were taught to select, prescribe, and evaluate a drug regimen [7]. Preclinical learning in context led to the use of more rational prescribing modalities by students during their internal medicine clerkships. "
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    ABSTRACT: Concern has been raised about inadequate pharmacology teaching in medical schools and the high incidence of prescribing errors by doctors in training. Modifications in pharmacology teaching have been carried out in many countries. The present study was carried out using a semi-structured questionnaire to obtain students' perceptions of their knowledge, attitudes, and skills with regard to different subject areas related to rational prescribing at the end of two-year activity-based pharmacology practical learning sessions in a private medical school in Nepal. The effectiveness of the sessions and strengths and suggestions to further improve the sessions were also obtained. The median total knowledge, attitude, skills and overall scores were calculated and compared among different subgroups of respondents. The median effectiveness score was also calculated. Eighty of the 100 students participated; 37 were male and 43 female. The median knowledge, attitude, and skills scores were 24, 39, and 23, respectively (maximum scores being 27, 45, and 36). The median total score was 86 (maximum score being 108). The effectiveness score for most subject areas was 3 (maximum 4). The strengths were the activity-based nature of the session, use of videos and role-plays, and repeated practice. Students wanted more sessions and practice in certain areas. They also wanted more resources and an internet connection in the practical room. The skills scores were relatively low. The immediate impact of the sessions was positive. Studies may be needed to assess the long term impact. Similar programs should be considered in other medical schools in Nepal and other developing countries.
    Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions 11/2011; 8:12. DOI:10.3352/jeehp.2011.8.12
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    • "To improve rational prescribing, medical curricula should pay more attention not only to diagnostic reasoning but also to therapeutic reasoning. Incorporation of specific clinical pharmacology and therapeutics courses into the medical curriculum [20] may help students bridge the gap between (pre-clinical) theoretical learning and (clinical) practical learning, and between undergraduate and postgraduate training. Presenting students with clinical therapeutic problems early during undergraduate training will not only give them a chance to gain experience in solving medical problems but will also give meaning to what they are studying as opposed to merely reproducing what they learn or copying what they are told [21, 22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although the importance of rational prescribing is generally accepted, the teaching of pharmacotherapy to undergraduate medical students is still unsatisfactory. Because clinical teachers are an important role model for medical students, it is of interest to know whether this extends to therapeutic decision-making. The aim of this study was to find out which factors contribute to the drug choices made by medical students and their teachers (general practitioners and clinical specialists). Final-year medical students (n = 32), and general practitioners (n = 29), lung specialists (n = 26), orthopaedic surgeons (n = 24), and internists (n = 24) serving as medical teachers from all eight medical schools in the Netherlands participated in the study. They were asked to prescribe treatment (drug or otherwise) for uncomplicated (A) and complicated (B) written patient cases and to indicate which factors influenced their choice of treatment, using a list of factors reported in the literature to influence drug prescribing. Final-year medical students primarily based their drug choice on the factors 'effectiveness of the drugs' and 'examples from medical teachers'. In contrast, clinical teachers primarily based their drug choice on the factors 'clinical experience', 'effectiveness of the drugs', 'side effects of the drugs', 'standard treatment guidelines', and 'scientific literature'. Medical teachers would appear to base their drug choice mainly on clinical experience and drug-related factors, whereas final-year medical students base their drug choice mainly on examples provided by their medical teachers. It is essential that medical teachers clearly explain to their students how they arrive at a specific choice of medication since medical students tend to copy the therapeutic drug choices from their teachers, mainly because of a lack of experience. Presenting students with clinical therapeutic problems early during undergraduate training will not only give them a chance to gain experience in solving medical problems but will also give meaning to what they are studying as opposed to merely reproducing what they learn or copying what they are told.
    European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 11/2009; 66(4):407-12. DOI:10.1007/s00228-009-0743-3 · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess ability of interns immediately before starting clinical practice in New South Wales (NSW) teaching hospitals to prescribe medications safely and appropriately and to describe their impressions of the adequacy of their clinical pharmacology training in medical school. A cross-sectional study was performed on all interns (n= 191) who attended intern orientation programmes at four NSW hospitals in January 2008. A clinical case scenario that tested prescribing ability and a survey investigating impressions of clinical pharmacology training in medical school were administered to the interns in exam format. Outcome measures were: (i) ability to prescribe medications safely and appropriately for the clinical case scenario and (ii) interns' impressions of their training in clinical pharmacology at medical school. No intern completed all prescribing tasks correctly. No intern charted the patient's usual medications on admission completely correctly, only six wrote an accurate discharge medication list, and none wrote both an accurate discharge medication list and a legal Schedule 8 discharge script. None of the respondents strongly agreed that they felt adequately trained to prescribe medications in their intern year and 84% would have liked to have more training in pharmacology as medical students. Interns about to commence clinical practice in NSW teaching hospitals demonstrated significant deficits in prescribing of regular medications, initiation of new therapies, prescribing of discharge medications, and particularly prescribing of Schedule 8 medications. Most interns recognized these deficits and would have liked more clinical pharmacology training at medical school.
    Internal Medicine Journal 04/2009; 39(7):428-34. DOI:10.1111/j.1445-5994.2009.01942.x · 1.64 Impact Factor
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