Pharmacotherapy In The Fourth Year?

One of the central roles of clinical pharmacists is to recognize and prevent prescribing errors, making them perfect candidates for improving pharmacotherapy knowledge in medical students. In this randomized controlled trial by RWJMS faculty, fourth year students participated in four 1-hour didactic, case-based sessions with a dynamic and highly rated clinical pharmacist which did not result in improvements in an exam administered at the end of the rotation. Although didactic sessions are commonly used to address knowledge deficiencies, this study highlights how that approach may not always be effective. Interestingly, the results are at odds with the finding that most of the participants were satisfied with the sessions and felt that pharmacotherapy should be taught formally in the clinical years. The Medical Education article on program evaluation suggests that studies should ask why or how the intervention worked or did not work. In this case, the authors propose two important possibilities, inadequate length or intensity of the intervention and a test that is too challenging to distinguish small differences, given overall poor test scores. There is still a potential that a similar intervention under different circumstances might bring to light positive results. — Shirin Hasting, MD.

Kim S, Willett L, Hughes F, Sunderram J, Walker JA, Shea JA. Pharmacist-led workshops to enhance pharmacotherapy knowledge for medical students. Teach Learn Med. 2013;25(2):118-21.

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