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  • Australia-first toolkit helps students prescribe medicines safely and effectively

    Author: HealthTimes

Prescribing medicines is a common healthcare intervention requiring specific knowledge and skills. Teaching students to safely prescribe medicines is difficult, yet critical. Now, for the first time, a Toolkit is available to help universities teach students the skills they need to prescribe safely and effectively.

Researchers at QUT collaborated with the University of Western Australia, the University of Sydney and James Cook University to develop a ‘Prescribing Assessment Toolkit’ to improve understanding of what skills are needed to prescribe medicines and how those skills can be assessed in students.

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Funded by the Commonwealth Government Department of Education and Training, the Assessment of Prescribing in Health (ASPRINH) project investigated the current teaching and assessment practices of prescribing in a range of health professions, including dentistry, medicine, nurse practitioner, occupational therapy, optometry, paramedicine, pharmacy, physician assistant, physiotherapy and podiatry.

“Prescribing medicines is challenging, and made increasingly difficult by the ever-growing number of medicines available to health professionals and the fact our patients are often troubled by multiple diseases and receiving multiple medicines,” said ASPRINH project lead and pharmacist, Lynda Cardiff from QUT’s School of Clinical Sciences.  

Ms Cardiff hosted a gala dinner at QUT last month to launch the Toolkit to research collaborators, clinicians and representatives of national regulatory boards, accrediting councils and professional organisations.


The Toolkit was created following research based on the Australian standards for prescribing and highlights assessment methods with proven evidence of effectiveness for skills such as those needed to prescribe.

“It appears many students don’t feel confident to prescribe medicines, which presents a challenge for our universities,” Ms Cardiff said.

“I hope our research will help universities understand what skills are needed to prescribe safely and how best to ensure students are capable of performing those skills before they are required to do so.

“The Toolkit may help design or redesign the curriculum to more clearly teach and assess prescribing skills. It may also be useful to those who set the standards for teaching e.g. accreditation councils and the representative professional organisations who support practice development and review.”

The toolkit is available online at the NPS MedicineWise website:


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