Practical drug prescribing for inpatients
Oliver Jones sets out a few markers
For many newly qualified doctors, being handed a drug chart on their first day at work can be bewildering. Although basic and clinical pharmacology are covered at medical school, students are often unfamiliar with the actual mechanics of prescribing.
Always check that the patient in the bed corresponds to the name on the drug chart that you are holding. Always ask patients if they have any drug allergies and what form the allergic reaction takes. You should not rely on the (often inaccurate) information either in the notes or written on the chart itself.
Much of the preregistration year is spent in clerking and admitting patients to hospital. Patients may be admitted electively for investigation or surgery. In these instances, almost invariably their usual medications should be written on to their drug charts unless these are likely to interfere with their reason for admission, such as warfarin and surgery. It