BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Recent recommendations to help tackle the complex task of safe prescribing within healthcare education have included inter-professional, practical workplace-based interventions (1). Learning Outcomes for an undergraduate prescribing curriculum have also been revised recently using a Delphi process. Here we describe a new intervention at University College Cork incorporating the above, the student responses to it from a disciplinary and interprofessional learning perspective, as well as results of ongoing assessment of ward-based simulated prescribing exercises by medical students. What will the effect of this intervention be with regard to prescribing practice and readiness for interprofessional lifelong learning?
This is a mixed method study. Inter-professional student teams consult with patients, their kardexes and charts in order to decide what should be transcribed more accurately onto a simulated kardex and written on a simulated discharge prescription. Pre and Post RIPLS (Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale) as well as student reflections and minute paper (classroom assessment technique) exercise post intervention will be analysed. Quantitative data analysis by SPSS and qualitative data analysis by NVivo 9, with two independent coders are ongoing. A prescribing portfolio with exemplars of weekly written prescriptions/transcriptions onto simulated kardexes and discharge scripts are formatively assessed using a rubric devised by the author, based on the literature5.
Themes emerging include the fact that pharmacy and medical students feel they can learn a lot from each other with regard to prescribing legally, controlled drug prescribing, the importance of communication for prescribing safely. Lack of patients’ knowledge about the medications they take has truly surprised them. Pharmacy students really appreciate the chance to consult with patients in the hospital environment and their medication counselling skills for patients have impressed medical students. Prospective analysis of written prescriptions by medical students before and after this intervention is ongoing.
Following a successful pilot project last year with a randomized selection of students, all Final Year Medical and Pharmacy students now participate in a practical prescribing ward-based activity. Results to date have shown that this is a comprehensive exercise that can achieve most of the learning outcomes for an undergraduate prescribing curriculum.
1. Dornan T, Ashcroft D, Heathfield H, Lewis P, Miles J, Taylor D, Tully M, Wass V. An in depth investigation into causes of prescribing errors by foundation trainees in relation to their medical education. EQUIP study.2010