Do educational interventions improve prescribing skills of medical students compared to no additional learning? A systematic review

Mokrzecki, Sophie M., Mallett, Andrew, Sen Gupta, Tarun, Perks, Stephen, and Pain, Tilley (2023) Do educational interventions improve prescribing skills of medical students compared to no additional learning? A systematic review. Medical Education Online, 28 (1). 2259166.

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Research suggests that medical students are not confident and may be ill-prepared to prescribe competently. Therefore, changes to standard education may be required to fortify medical student prescribing skills, confidence, and competence. However, specific education to write a safe and legal prescription is generally lacking. Furthermore, the term prescribe and the skill thereof is not clearly defined. This review compares additional education for medical students to no identified additional education or another educational modality on the skill of prescription writing. Secondary aims include review of education modalities, prescribing skill assessments, educator professional background, and timing of education within the medical curriculum. This systematic review was conducted and reported using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Databases searched included: CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Emcare (Ovid), MEDLINE (Ovid), PubMed and Scopus. Search terms included: medical education, medical undergraduate, medical student, medical school, and prescriptions. The search was conducted in February 2023, and quantitative outcomes were reported. Of the 5197 citations identified, 12 met the inclusion criteria. Eleven studies reported significant improvements in prescribing skills of medical students after additional educational intervention(s). Various educational modalities were implemented, including case-based teaching (n=3), patient-based teaching (n=1), tutorial-based teaching (n=2), didactic teaching (n=1), and mixed methods (n=6). There were no commonalities in the professional background of the educator; however, five studies used faculty members. There was no consensus on the best assessment type and time to implement prescription writing education during medical training. There are a range of interventions to educate and assess prescribing competencies of medical students. Despite heterogenous study designs, there is evidence of the superiority of additional prescription writing education versus no identified additional education to develop prescription writing skills. The introduction of formal teaching and standardised assessment of prescribing skills for medical students is recommended.

Item ID: 80924
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1087-2981
Keywords: drug prescriptions, medical education, medical school, Medical student, prescriptions
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2024 04:36
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4299 Other health sciences > 429999 Other health sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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