Case-Based Assessment of Medical Students’ Knowledge and Skill on Principles of Drug Prescription
Prescription of drugs follows some principles about which the medical students should be aware, and they should practice them efficiently so that they become experienced in the field. This study aims to determine the practice and knowledge of drug prescription in senior medical students. A cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample of 140 students from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. Data were collected using self administered questionnaires in the format of case study and essay questions. The questions were designed based on principles of drug prescription presented to the interns in Shiraz University of Medical Sciences on the subjects including drug indication, interaction and side effects; contraindication of drugs in pregnancy; maximum drugs prescribed in one prescription letter; and the rules of insurance organizations in Iran. The data analysis was performed using SPSS, version 15. Content validity of multiple choice questions was confirmed by expert opinion and the consensus of four reference texts. 120 students participated in this study with a response rate of 85.7%. As to the knowledge of medical students, only 34.18% of them were competent in prescribing drugs; however, no one got a full score in the exam. 27.73% of them answered the questions incompletely, and 30.09% of them showed wrong prescription. Most mistakes were related to drug interaction, antibiotics and analgesics drugs (68.3%). As to the reference books of pharmacology, 16.9% had complete knowledge, 54.8% moderate level of knowledge, 28.3% had no information about that. This study shows that the knowledge of medical students as to drug prescription is inadequate. Also, many studies have approved that effective education has a significant effect on improvement of drug prescription by physicians. We recommend interventions such as curriculum development to increase the students’ skills. This should be taken into account in further research and by public health professionals and health policy makers.
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