Medical-school Prescribing Safety Assessment could be taken by pharmacists

Pharmacist prescribers are as competent as medical students when it comes to safe prescribing, pilot study shows.

Students in class

The Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) is taken by graduating medical students in the UK, Ireland and Malta to demonstrate competency in prescribing practices. But while pharmacists are increasingly taking on prescribing responsibilities, there is no equivalent assessment of prescribing safety for them.

To explore the feasibility of expanding the PSA to pharmacists, a team gave a 60-minute PSA test comprising questions previously used by medical students in 2014 to 59 pharmacist prescribers in Scotland.

They found that the overall PSA scores for pharmacists were similar to those of medical students in 2014, at an average of 87.5% compared with 88.5%.

Reporting in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
(online, 6 January 2017), the team says the performance of this group of pharmacist prescribers on the PSA was equivalent to final-year medical students and the assessment should be considered for integration into the pharmacist independent prescribing course.


[1] Reid F, Power A, Stewart D et al. Piloting the United Kingdom ‘Prescribing Safety Assessment’ with pharmacist prescribers in Scotland. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2016.12.009.

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, March 2017, Vol 9, No 3;9(3):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20202389

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