SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • medical students;
  • national prescribing curriculum;
  • nurse practitioner students;
  • pharmacy students;
  • prescribing;
  • therapeutics

Aims

To evaluate the effectiveness of a national approach to prescribing education on health professional students’ prescribing and therapeutics knowledge, across multiple disciplines.

Methods

In a university examination setting, 83 medical, 40 pharmacy and 13 nurse practitioner students from three different universities completed a set of multiple choice questions (MCQs) before and after completing an online module from the National Prescribing Curriculum (NPC). To minimize overestimation of knowledge, students had to indicate the level of certainty for each answer on a three-point scale. MCQs were scored using a validated certainty-based marking scheme resulting in a composite score (maximum 30 and minimum −60). Students were asked to rate their perception of usefulness of the module.

Results

At the pre-module phase, there were no significant differences in the composite MCQ scores between the medical (9.0 ± 10.3), pharmacy (10.2 ± 10.6) and nurse practitioner (8.0 ± 10.7) students. The scores improved significantly for all groups at the post-module phase (P < 0.01 for all groups) by similar extents (post-module results: medical, 14.5 ± 9.6; pharmacy, 14.4 ± 9.9; nurse practitioner, 12.1 ± 9.6). 39.4% of the MCQs answered incorrectly with high level of certainty at the pre-module phase were still answered incorrectly with high level of certainty at the post-module phase. Almost all students (with no significant difference between the groups) found the NPC modules, post-module MCQs and feedback useful as a learning tool.

Conclusions

A national online approach to prescribing education can improve therapeutics knowledge of students from multiple disciplines of health care and contribute towards streamlining interdisciplinary learning in medication management.