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Student and pre-registration pharmacist performance in a UK prescribing assessment.

Power, Ailsa; Stewart, Derek; Craig, Gail; Boyter, Anne; Reid, Fiona; Stewart, Fiona; Cunningham, Scott; Maxwell, Simon


Ailsa Power

Derek Stewart

Gail Craig

Anne Boyter

Fiona Reid

Fiona Stewart

Simon Maxwell


Student and pre-registration pharmacist performance in a UK Prescribing Assessment': room for improvement and need for curricular change Background Increasingly the global policy direction is for patient-facing pharmacist prescribers. The 'UK Prescribing Safety Assessment' (PSA) was developed for medical graduates to demonstrate prescribing competencies in relation to the safe and effective use of medicines. Objectives To determine PSA performance of final year undergraduate student pharmacists (year 4) and pre-registration pharmacy graduates (year 5) and explore their opinions on its suitability. Setting Scotland, UK Methods Final year undergraduates (n = 238) and pre-registration pharmacists (n = 167) were briefed and undertook the PSA. PSA questions were mapped to specific thematic areas with 30 questions over 60 min. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics. A questionnaire was completed to gauge opinions on appropriateness of the PSA. Main Outcome Measure PSA scores Results Mean total PSA score for pre-registration pharmacists (64.4, SD 10) was significantly higher than for undergraduates (51.2, SD 12.0,) (p [less than] 0.001). Pre-registration pharmacists performed significantly better across all question areas (all p [less than] 0.001 other than 'adverse drug reactions', p [less than] 0.01). Hospital pre-registration pharmacists performed statistically significantly better than community with higher overall scores (67.4, SD 9.8 v 63.2, SD 9.8, p [less than] 0.05). Positive views on the appropriateness of the approach and the usability of the online interface were obtained from participants. Conclusion Hospital pre-registration pharmacists performed better than the undergraduates, but there is a need to improve prescribing skills in all, most notably in diagnostic skills. The PSA is acceptable to the participants. These results will help inform pharmacy curricula development and provides a cross-disciplinary method of assessment of prescribing competence.


POWER, A., STEWART, D., CRAIG, G., BOYTER, A., REID, F., STEWART, F., CUNNINGHAM, S. and MAXWELL, S. 2022. Student and pre-registration pharmacist performance in a UK prescribing assessment. International journal of clinical pharmacy [online], 44(1), pages 100-109. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 11, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 8, 2021
Publication Date Feb 28, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 21, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 9, 2022
Journal International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Print ISSN 2210-7703
Electronic ISSN 2210-7711
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 1
Pages 100-109
Keywords Competency; Prescribing skills; Pharmacy education
Public URL


POWER 2022 Student and pre-registration (AAM) (376 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedited version of an article published in International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy. The final authenticated version is available online at: The accepted manuscript is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use,

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