The impact of a summative national prescribing assessment and curriculum type on the development of the prescribing competence of junior doctors
Education committee of the Dutch Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Biopharmacy
Purpose The primary aim of this study was to investigate the effect of including the Dutch National Pharmacotherapy Assessment (DNPA) in the medical curriculum on the level and development of prescribing knowledge and skills of junior doctors. The secondary aim was to evaluate the relationship between the curriculum type and the prescribing competence of junior doctors.Methods We re-analysed the data of a longitudinal study conducted in 2016 involving recently graduated junior doctors from 11 medical schools across the Netherlands and Belgium. Participants completed three assessments during the first year after graduation (around graduation (+ / - 4 weeks), and 6 months, and 1 year after graduation), each of which contained 35 multiple choice questions (MCQs) assessing knowledge and three clinical case scenarios assessing skills. Only one medical school used the DNPA in its medical curriculum; the other medical schools used conventional means to assess prescribing knowledge and skills. Five medical schools were classified as providing solely theoretical clinical pharmacology and therapeutics (CPT) education; the others provided both theoretical and practical CPT education (mixed curriculum).Results Of the 1584 invited junior doctors, 556 (35.1%) participated, 326 (58.6%) completed the MCQs and 325 (58.5%) the clinical case scenarios in all three assessments. Junior doctors whose medical curriculum included the DNPA had higher knowledge scores than other junior doctors (76.7% [SD 12.5] vs. 67.8% [SD 12.6], 81.8% [SD 11.1] vs. 76.1% [SD 11.1], 77.0% [12.1] vs. 70.6% [SD 14.0], p < 0.05 for all three assessments, respectively). There was no difference in skills scores at the moment of graduation (p = 0.110), but after 6 and 12 months junior doctors whose medical curriculum included the DNPA had higher skills scores (both p < 0.001). Junior doctors educated with a mixed curriculum had significantly higher scores for both knowledge and skills than did junior doctors educated with a theoretical curriculum (p < 0.05 in all assessments).Conclusion Our findings suggest that the inclusion of the knowledge focused DNPA in the medical curriculum improves the prescribing knowledge, but not the skills, of junior doctors at the moment of graduation. However, after 6 and 12 months, both the knowledge and skills were higher in the junior doctors whose medical curriculum included the DNPA. A curriculum that provides both theoretical and practical education seems to improve both prescribing knowledge and skills relative to a solely theoretical curriculum.
Source (journal)
European journal of clinical pharmacology. - Heidelberg, 1970, currens
Heidelberg : Springer heidelberg , 2023
0031-6970 [print]
1432-1041 [online]
79 (2023) , p. 1613-1621
Pubmed ID
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
Research group
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Creation 30.10.2023
Last edited 02.02.2024
To cite this reference