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A prescription for a new exam

What does the future hold for prescribing training?

  • By: Emilie Green
  • Published: 05 October 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e6253
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e6253

The prescription of medicines is the most common therapeutic intervention.1 Good prescribing requires not only knowledge of drugs, but clinical judgment, diagnostic proficiency, team working skills, and the ability to assess risk.2 It is a fundamental responsibility of all junior doctors, and is arguably the intervention that has the most potential to harm or benefit patients. Why then is there such strong evidence that undergraduate training in this area is inadequate?3

The publication of Tomorrow’s Doctors in 1993 revolutionised the UK undergraduate curriculum, but attempts to turn away from traditional, fact based courses weakened the clinical pharmacology component dramatically.24 At present, the practical aspects of prescribing are often not given due attention within the undergraduate medical school curriculum, and many doctors and medical students reportedly feel deprived of knowledge.56 Furthermore, the provision for clinical pharmacology teaching in medical schools and the extent to which they assess competency of their graduates

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