The medic's guide to prescribing: Rational prescribing
In the first of a seven-part educational series on prescribing, Lucy J Thomas and Jamie J Coleman explore the fundamentals of rational prescribing
It's your first day on the job and, like you, all around the country junior doctors are putting pen to paper doing something they have never legally done before-prescribing. Medical students have a broad and lengthy period of study including some basic and clinical pharmacology where drug mechanisms of action and indications are taught. The practical act of prescribing is, however, a more complex issue that requires both knowledge and experience, something which many feel is being increasingly neglected in many medical schools1. Other than copying up the occasional drug chart while on the wards, many students will have very little hands-on experience by the time they start work. Couple this with an ever increasing number of complex drugs, an ageing population, increased patient expectations, and reduced training, and you will appreciate that serious implications are imminent.
Not only are doctors under an increasing threat of litigation but the consequences