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J Clin Pharmacol. 2016 Aug;56(8):1028-34. doi: 10.1002/jcph.692. Epub 2016 Feb 22.

Prescription Writing in Small Groups as a Clinical Pharmacology Educational Intervention: Perceptions of Preclerkship Medical Students.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Bahrain.


Medical students do not perform well in writing prescriptions, and the 3 variables-learner, teacher, and instructional method-are held responsible to various degrees. The objective of this clinical pharmacology educational intervention was to improve medical students' perceptions, motivation, and participation in prescription-writing sessions. The study participants were second-year medical students of the College of Medicine and Medical Sciences of the Arabian Gulf University, Bahrain. Two prescription-writing sessions were conducted using clinical case scenarios based on problems the students had studied as part of the problem-based learning curriculum. At the end of the respiratory system subunit, the training was conducted in small groups, each facilitated by a tutor. At the end of the cardiovascular system subunit, the training was conducted in a traditional large-group classroom setting. Data were collected with the help of a questionnaire at the end of each session and a focus group discussion. A majority of the students (95.3% ± 2.4%) perceived the small-group method better for teaching and learning of all aspects of prescription writing: analyzing the clinical case scenario, applying clinical pharmacology knowledge for therapeutic reasoning, using a formulary for searching relevant prescribing information, and in writing a complete prescription. Students also endorsed the small-group method for better interaction among themselves and with the tutor and for the ease of asking questions and clarifying doubts. In view of the principles of adult learning, where motivation and interaction are important, teaching and learning prescription writing in small groups deserve a serious consideration in medical curricula.


clinical pharmacology; medical education; medical students; prescription writing; problem-based learning; rational therapeutics; small-group learning

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