University of Sussex

File(s) under permanent embargo

Optimal teaching and learning methods in practical prescribing for medical undergraduates

posted on 2023-06-09, 15:58 authored by Maria Kennedy, Inam Haq, Gordon FernsGordon Ferns, Sian Williams, Michael OkorieMichael Okorie
Background and Aim Prescribing errors remains a major challenge that undermines the safe and effective use of medicines and can lead to serious patient harm. The landmark EQUIP study, performed in the UK, showed that junior doctors were responsible for most of the prescribing but also had the highest prescribing error rates. Ironically, medical students do not feel adequately prepared for prescribing after graduation. This justified the main recommendations from the study which were an increased emphasis on undergraduate and early postgraduate practical prescribing education. Historically, the focus has been on core curriculum content, intended learning outcomes and assessments in safe and effective prescribing with little emphasis on appropriate methods of teaching and learning. This study aimed to achieve a consensus amongst experts on the optimal methods of teaching and learning of practical prescribing in medical schools. Summary of work and outcomes A modified Delphi technique was performed and consensus was defined as a minimum of 75% agreement of the expert panel members. Forty-seven experts were sent the questionnaire and 34 responded (72.3%). There was 100% panel agreement for inclusion, in the medical school undergraduate curriculum, of following methods of teaching and learning of safe and effective practical prescribing: validated pre-prescribing i.e. having prescribing validated by a qualified clinician; small group teaching; shadowing a clinical pharmacist; problem and case based studies; teaching on awareness of prescribing sources of information. Less than 60% of the panel agreed that peer teaching was an acceptable method and over 80% of the panel agreed on other methods. Experts also indicated that some of the most favoured teaching and learning methods were more relevant in the later undergraduate years. Discussion This study highlights methods considered by experts to be most appropriate in the teaching and learning of practical prescribing and this might equip curriculum developers in medical schools. These results complement the existing evidence on core content, learning outcomes and assessment and might help align teaching and learning to enable medical students to become safer and more effective prescribers on graduation. Conclusion This project informs on effective methods of teaching and learning safe and effective practical prescribing at undergraduate level. Potential long term effects include an improvement in prescribing competence which might ultimately lead to a reduction in prescribing errors. However, we recognise that further studies are required for this outcome to be elicited.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version

Presentation Type

  • other

Event name

British Pharmacological Society Annual Meeting

Event location

Queen Elizabeth 2 Conference Centre, London

Event type


Event date

18-20th December 2018

Department affiliated with

  • BSMS Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected