Learning to prescribe is an essential part of medical training. Due to various high profile serious prescribing errors, the GMC have introduced stricter prescribing standards which medical students must meet, and a prescribing exam is soon to be compulsory on all medical programmes. This book helps medical students learn the essentials of safe prescribing practice, and is aimed directly at their needs. It covers all the aspects of prescribing required by the GMC, including principles of prescribing, law and ethics, professional responsibilities, patient communication, at-risk groups, avoiding common errors and what to do when things go wrong.
Introduction: The Challenge of Prescribing
This introduction is to whet your appetite to the challenge of prescribing and alert you to its complexity and human dimension.
To write prescriptions is easy, but to come to an understanding with people is hard.
(Kafka, 1983, p. 223)
Kafka's much-quoted aphorism is naive in two respects. First, it understates the challenge of prescribing. Second, it implies that prescribing is a mere technical skill that does not require the meeting of minds between prescriber and patient that is vital to all clinical encounters. This book will demonstrate the need for skill in prescribing. It will also show how interpersonal skills are as important as technical knowledge if prescribing is to be effective and safe.