Background: As the main tool through which doctors treat the medically unwell, prescribing is a practice that is undervalued and under-taught within modern medicine. Paradoxically prescribing not only has the potential to cure, it also has the potential to cause great harm if carried out incorrectly and unsafely.
Context: Prescribing errors have remained an issue in patient safety for many years, yet education in safe prescribing at both undergraduate and postgraduate level appears to be lacking.
Innovation: 'Check and Correct' is an innovation developed at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex to educate both medical students and junior doctors on the importance of safe prescribing. As a final-year medical student I used 'Check and Correct' on busy post-take ward rounds for 2 weeks. The aim was to research the main areas where prescribing standards set by the hospital had not been met, whilst improving awareness in safe prescribing for both myself and the post-take team. The process involved checking the drug chart of every patient seen on the post-take round and addressing errors on the chart with the team for correction at the bedside.
Implications: 'Check and Correct' reaffirms the assertion that further education is required in safe prescribing. The success of the process is highly dependent on the consultant leading the ward round ensuring that errors are vocalised and addressed. If conducted correctly, this exercise can educate doctors and medical students by addressing errors and emphasising the importance of prescribing, whilst ensuring the safety and care of patients.
© Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2011.