Purpose: To determine medical students’ perspectives on the provision for the teaching and learning of processes that lead to and include the writing of a clear, safe and legal prescription (practical prescribing) in UK medical schools. Methods: We designed a cross-sectional survey of UK medical students in years three, four and five. Students were asked about their experiences and views of practical prescribing teaching and learning they had encountered on their medical course. Results: A total of 1023 medical students responded (7% response rate), from 25 UK medical schools: 22%, 37% and 41% in the third, fourth and final years, respectively. Teaching of practical prescribing was widespread, with 94.3% of final year (n = 396, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 92–97%), 86.8% of fourth year (n = 328, CI = 83–90%) and 73.8% of third year (n = 166, CI = 67–80%) students reporting they had received it. Availability of this teaching appeared to vary by medical school. Self-directed learning was the most frequently reported mode of delivery (90.9%, n = 809). Validated pre-prescribing and simulation were perceived by students in each year group as the most effective methods. Clinical pharmacologists, clinical pharmacists and junior doctors were perceived by the students as being the most effective professional groups at teaching practical prescribing. Conclusions: UK medical students reported a variety of methods utilised in the teaching and learning of practical prescribing. However, methods they perceived to be very effective (simulation and pre-prescribing) do not appear to be widely available or are only reserved for the final year of study. Combining such methods with involvement of professional groups perceived to be most effective should be explored.
- Medical education
- Medical students