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Research

Key curricular outcomes for clinical pharmacology and therapeutics education in Europe

Period: March 2017 - October 2017
Prescribing drugs safely and effectively is a fundamental skill that medical graduates must acquire, because after graduation they will prescribe drugs on a daily basis, often with minimal supervision. Effective undergraduate education in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics (CPT) is therefore essential. However, recent studies have shown that final-year medical students in Europe lack essential prescribing competencies and that there is marked variation in quantity and quality of CPT education within and between European countries. This has potential consequences for patient safety. To redress this situation, a collaborative effort is required to harmonise and modernise the CPT teaching and assessment at an undergraduate level. A first step towards an unified core curriculum is to define key curricular outcomes that European medical students should have acquired at the point of graduation. Previous studies on this topic lack methodological quality, sufficient details and are merely focused on local settings in the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden. In this Delphi study, we aim to establish key curricular outcomes for teaching and assessing clinical pharmacology and therapeutics during the undergraduate medical curriculum in Europe. Read the study protocol for more information (see below).

Are dentists competent prescribers? A cross-sectional study

Period: October 2016 - May 2017
Dentists are allowed to prescribe drugs within their area of specialty, for example analgesics and antibiotics. In order to prescribe safely and effectively, dentists should have sufficient prescribing competencies (i.e. knowledge, skills and attitudes). Insufficient competencies may lead to prescribing errors, resulting in patient harm and avoidable healthcare costs. Studies suggest that dental students lack prescribing skills and that dentists do not follow treatment guidelines properly. However, there are no large studies in the Netherlands investigating whether (future) dentists have acquired the necessary prescribing competencies. Therefore, the aim of this study was to gain insight into the level of prescribing competencies of dental students and dentists in The Netherlands. Read the study protocol for more information (see below). Results can be used to improve the prescribing education during the under- and postgraduate dentistry study programmes.

Postgraduate follow-up study of therapeutic knowledge and skills of junior doctors

Period: July 2016 - March 2018
A common assumption is that medical students will learn to prescribe drugs during their first few years as junior doctor. However, little is known about the development of therapeutic knowledge and skills of junior doctors during this period. Studies have shown that junior doctors make many prescribing errors. Therefore it is important to get more insight into the development of essential skills such as the prescribing of medication, because this information can be used to optimize the postgraduate prescribing education for junior doctors. In collaboration with the Dutch Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Biopharmacy (NVKF&B), we have set up a new prospective cohort study. In this study, 500 junior doctors from 7 universities in The Netherlands and 3 universities in Flanders will be followed during their first year after graduation. Their therapeutic knowledge and skills will be assessed at three time points (around graduation, half year after graduation, one year after graduation) using an online assessment. Eventually their development of knowledge and skills will be analysed. Want more information? Read the study protocol for more information (see below).

 

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