A prescribing e-tutorial for medical students

Clin Teach. 2014 Feb;11(1):33-7. doi: 10.1111/tct.12100.


Background: UK medical students' confidence in their prescribing skills is low, and a significant proportion of prescriptions written by foundation year 1 (FY1) doctors contain errors. The Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) is a new national examination aimed at ensuring prescribing competence in undergraduates, but few PSA-specific preparatory resources are available to students.

Methods: A needs analysis was performed and an online e-tutorial (Prepare for the PSA) was designed. The e-tutorial consists mainly of a practise exam that closely mirrors the format of the PSA itself. After completing each question the user receives personalised feedback, and is given the opportunity to further their knowledge using interactive learning activities. A facility for users to contribute their own questions is included, and the e-tutorial also explains the rationale underlying the PSA and directs users to further learning resources. Numerous attempts were made to encourage the use of the e-tutorial amongst UK medical students and educators. A total of 248 final-year students at a UK medical school were asked to evaluate the e-tutorial and rate their prescribing confidence before and after completing it.

Results: The response rate in the evaluation was 72.7-73.9 per cent. The results show that completing the e-tutorial is associated with highly significant (p < 0.0001) increases in confidence across all prescribing skills.

Discussion: Our e-tutorial is effective and meets the needs of medical students. Once the e-tutorial is disseminated more widely and is expanded by user-contributed questions, we hope that it will become established as a national platform for collaborative prescribing education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Prescriptions*
  • Students, Medical*