How to prepare for the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA)
Three people who have been involved in designing the PSA test, teaching students about prescribing, or have successfully passed the examination, provide tips on how to approach the assessment
- By: Matthew Billingsley
Prescribing is a fundamental part of being a foundation year 1 doctor. It is a complex task, and you need a broad knowledge of medicines, their dosages, and the risks and benefits of treatment. A 2009 investigation commissioned by the General Medical Council found that prescribing errors were present in 8.4% of prescriptions written by foundation year 1 doctors.1 One of the major reasons cited for the errors made was that prescribing experience was limited.
To remedy the lack of preparedness experienced by newly qualified doctors, an online pilot of the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) was launched in 2013 across most UK medical schools. This examination aims to test students on the most common prescribing scenarios they are likely to encounter when they start work as a foundation year 1 doctor.
The examination is either a formative or summative form of assessment in UK medical schools—meaning that some medical students