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Prescription writing skills of residents in a family practice residency programme in Bahrain
  1. K A J Al Khaja1,
  2. R P Sequeira1,
  3. T M Al-Ansari2,
  4. A H H Damanhori2
  1. 1
    Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
  2. 2
    Ministry of Health, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
  1. Professor K A J Al Khaja, Arabian Gulf University, Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, PO Box 22979, Kingdom of Bahrain; khlidj{at}


Purpose of the study: To evaluate the prescription writing skill of final year residents in a family practice residency programme (FPRP) in Bahrain, and to compare skill of residents who have graduated from medical schools with problem based learning (PBL) versus traditional (non-PBL) curricula.

Study design: Prescriptions issued by the residents were prospectively collected for two consecutive cohorts in May 2004 and May 2005. Prescription errors were classified as errors of omission (minor and major), commission (incorrect information) and integration (drug–drug interactions).

Results: In 69.6% of medications with major omission errors, dosage form (39.4%) and length of treatment (18.5%) were not specified. In 24.7% of medications with commission errors, dosing frequency (19.9%) and incorrect strength/dose (2.2%) were the most common errors. Integration errors comprised 5.7% of all prescribing errors. No significant differences were observed between PBL and non-PBL graduates with regard to the total number of prescriptions with errors, drugs per prescription, polypharmacy, and the total number of drugs with errors. The proportion of prescriptions with a potential for drug–drug interactions was comparable between PBL and non-PBL graduates. PBL graduates prescribed medications using brand names at a rate greater than non-PBL, whereas non-PBL graduates prescribed medications on inappropriate “as required” basis, and injections at a rate greater than PBL residents.

Conclusions: Prescription writing skill of the final year residents in an FPRP programme was suboptimal for both PBL and non-PBL graduates. Integration of prescription writing skill and a rational pharmacotherapeutic programme into the FPRP curriculum is recommended.

  • family practice residency programme
  • Middle East
  • prescribing errors
  • prescription writing skill
  • problem based learning
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  • Competing interests: None declared.

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