The medic's guide to prescribing: Safe and effective prescribing
In the second part of our series on prescribing skills, Kate Wilkinson and Simon Maxwell explain how to write safe and effective prescriptions
As a junior doctor you will be expected to do certain tasks from your first shift. Of these duties, newly qualified doctors probably approach directing the giving of drugs with least confidence. Writing prescriptions is an essential procedure that ensures patients receive the correct dose of the appropriate drug at the right time. Despite much exposure to drugs and therapeutic problems in the medical curriculum, there is often a paucity of training on prescribing.
Evidence of poor understanding of this process has been documented in many audits of hospital prescription charts12. Indeed, it is estimated that prescription errors cost the National Health Service in the United Kingdom £500m (€730m; $990m) a year3, and most errors in hospital are made by junior medical staff because they write most of the prescriptions4. The consequences can be extremely serious for the patient and the prescribing doctor. This article highlights a small number of