Which non-technical skills do junior doctors require to prescribe safely? A systematic review

January 27, 2016

Source:  British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

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Date of publication:  November 2015

Publication type:  Systematic review

In a nutshell:  The aim of this review was to develop a prototype non-technical skills (NTS) taxonomy for safe prescribing, by junior doctors, in hospital settings.  As a result of this research, a prototype taxonomy of relevant categories (situational awareness, decision making, communication and team working, and task management) and elements was constructed.  This prototype will form the basis of future work to create a tool that can be used for training and assessment of medical students and junior doctors to reduce prescribing error in the future.

Length of publication:  12 pages

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A simple flashcard: big impact for junior doctors!

November 26, 2014

Source:  The Clinical Teacher 11/6 pp. 454-60.

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Date of publication:  October 2014

Publication type:  Journal article

In a nutshell:  Reducing prescribing errors is crucial for ensuring patient safety. Many studies have reported that foundation-year doctors (FYs) have been found to be major contributors to prescribing errors; however, few studies have introduced meaningful interventions. Questionnaires were sent to FY2s to find the 15 most commonly prescribed medications on call. The medications and instructions were incorporated into a flashcard that was disseminated to new FY1s at a hospital in the UK. The FY1s were asked to complete a pre- and post-flashcard questionnaire, giving instructions for 10 medications and their confidence in prescribing these medications. A control group at another hospital were given the same questionnaires, but not the flashcard. No significant difference in confidence was seen in FY1s at either hospital before the flashcard was issued. At week 4, 93% of FY1s still used the flashcard 2.2 times per day, claiming that it saved time on call. The authors say they have introduced an inexpensive and simple prescribing aid, which has been statistically shown to improve prescribing confidence in FY1s.

Length of Publication:  7 pages

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS Library for the full text of the article. Follow this link to find your local NHS Library


Improving patient safety through feedback on prescribing errors

July 30, 2014

Source:  The Health Foundation

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Date of publication:  June 2014

Publication type:  Webinar

In a nutshell: Discusses a case study video from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Bryony Dean Franklin from the Trust talks about the Shine 2012 project, which aimed to improve patient safety through feedback on prescribing errors. In UK studies of the causes of prescribing errors, a common theme is that junior doctors are often unaware of making errors and receive little feedback on errors and how to prevent them. According to research, providing feedback on aspects of clinical performance can improve quality of care and lead to professional behaviour change. There is little experience with this approach in the UK hospital setting though so this project proposed a practical low-cost intervention building on hospital pharmacists’ existing practice to identify and rectify prescribing errors.

Length of Publication:  1 web page


Reducing prescribing errors

May 28, 2012

Source:  The Health Foundation

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Date of publication: March 2012

Publication type:  Evidence scan/review

In a nutshell:  Prescribing accounts for a large proportion of medication errors. This review examined strategies to reduce prescribing errors.

Length of publication:  36 pages