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Ronnie Meechan, Helen Jones , Tracey Valler-Jones
British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 20, Iss. 13, 12 Jul 2011, pp 817 - 822

Aim: To examine the efficacy of the early introduction of a medicines management 'objective structured clinical examination' (OSCE) into an undergraduate adult nursing students' programme of education and to determine if the acquisition of applied drug/pharmacology knowledge and drug administration of medicines had improved prior to qualification. Method: A longitudinal comparative design was selected for this study. A convenience random samples method of three cohorts of adult nursing students (N=90) undertaking a pre-registration nursing programme was used to identify participants. Participants were assessed at the following points during their preparatory educational programmes. Cohort one (N=30) had completed 8 months of their programme, cohort two (N=30) had completed 20 months of their programme and cohort three (N=30) had completed 30 months of education. Students were asked to undertake a drug administration simulated activity (DASA) to generate the data for this study and differences between the students' performance was compared against the criteria of the DASA. Results/Findings: There were statistical differences observed on almost every criteria of the DASA between the three groups of students. Students who had been previously exposed to medicines management OSCEs as an assessment method demonstrated superior medicines management skills and pharmacology knowledge than the control group (group three). Conclusion: The authors of this study conclude that early introduction of clinical examinations, namely OSCEs with an integrated approach to pharmacology and medicines management teaching, does facilitate and improve students drug administration and applied pharmacology ability.

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