Introduction Demand from local NHS stakeholders identified a gap for a taught education course tailored to the niche requirements of paediatric healthcare staff wishing to become non-medical prescribers. This was seen as an excellent opportunity to review and develop the pharmacology module within the Non-medical Prescribing (NMP) course by giving it a paediatric focus.
Aim To develop a pharmacology module with an emphasis on paediatric prescribing that meets the professional requirements of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Method Knowledge of curriculum design and structure was utilised in developing the paediatric pharmacology module. This ensured that the underpinning theory of prescribing medicines safely for children was delivered at the right academic level. The content, delivery and learning outcomes were dictated by the Prescribing Competency Framework for All Prescribers (RPS, 2016).1 But the cognitive teaching and learning methods arose from the rigid expectation to meet the regulatory requirements of each professional body. To ensure consistency across the whole NMP programme, the structure of the pharmacology module assessments (both formative and summative) was kept the same. The summative (final) assessments consisted of a multiple choice question (MCQ) paper requiring the students to answer a total of twenty MCQs, with the pass mark set by the regulatory bodies at 80%; a drug calculations paper consisting of five questions with a 100% pass mark; and a 5 minute information giving OSCE (objective structured clinical examination). The whole module was looked at a fresh from a paediatric perspective. The content and timetable were compiled and reviewed jointly by a paediatric pharmacist and a paediatric nurse. Both were experienced academics already teaching on the NMP course. While some of the lectures were delivered by in-house university academic staff, the majority of the sessions were delivered by specialist paediatric guest lecturers who were actively working in their respective clinical fields. This ensured that the knowledge imparted to students was practical, current and relevant to prescribing for children.
Results All students had to be practising in paediatrics for a minimum period of two years and have evidence of studying at level 6 (graduate level) or equivalent. The target audience consisted of allied healthcare professionals specialising in paediatrics, including nurses, pharmacists, optometrists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, dieticians and therapeutic radiographers. However, the first cohort of 51 students comprised entirely of paediatric nurses. The majority of students passed each assessment first time. All students passed the 5-minute information giving OSCE, but 25% of the students had to re-sit the pharmacology MCQ paper and 17% had to re-sit the drug calculations paper. Following the resits the remaining students all passed except for one student who failed the course.
Conclusion Overall, the course was well received, with positive feedback from most students and stakeholders. Valuable suggestions were also received for further improvements to the course and pharmacology module. These are currently being implemented with intake of students.
Royal Pharmaceutical Society ( 2016) A competency framework for all prescribers. Available from: http://www.rpharms.com/Portals/0/RPS%20document%20library/Open%20access/Professional%20standards/Prescribing%20competency%20framework/prescribing-competency-framework.pdf [Accessed 25/6/19]
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