MCM5606 - Issues in general practice prescribing - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of General Practice


Dr Ian Chenoweth

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Online)
  • Second semester 2017 (Online)


In order to prescribe in the most appropriate manner, the prescriber needs a broad perspective. Rational prescribing needs an understanding of the pressures affecting a prescriber which may influence his or her prescribing patterns. As well, the prescriber must be aware of consumer and other factors which impinge upon optimal use of medication, and the subtle and not so subtle influences of manufacturers and government. This unit aims to have such a perspective, covering topics from the practical philosophy of rational prescribing, to the future of clinical pharmacology, to the planning for quality improvement within a primary care health setting.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the Australian and international use of prescribed medication in terms of research directions, funding, rates of prescribing, the major stakeholders, the influences on prescribing and policy directions such as quality use of medicines initiatives.
  2. Demonstrate the use of a particular model for deciding the most appropriate therapeutic medication for a particular condition.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge, practice and skill in a chosen prescribing situation in general practice, including the therapeutic medications used, and the particular steps necessary for safe prescribing.
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking in reviewing the evidence about a medication via a planned and recorded interview with a pharmaceutical detailer.
  5. Create a plan for improving the quality of prescribing in your own practice or within the clinic, using audit and feedback.


Students are already working in the field - no extra time is needed for completion of this unit.


  • Clinical Research Task - Written essay (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Clinical Decision Task - Case report (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Clinical Decision Task - Case report (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Clinical Decision Task - Case report - hurdle
  • Clinical Research Task - Written plan for quality improvement (1,500 words) (25%)

Workload requirements

Approximately 10-12 hours per week for 12 weeks for private study which will involve reading, doing activities, searching online for associated materials, planning and implementing the assessment tasks where indicated.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Applicants must have a medical degree or other health practitioner degree and be currently registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), or a similar local national registration body. Applicants who do not have a registrable degree with AHPRA or similar will be required to have the appropriate bachelors degree or equivalent. A minimum of 2 years vocational experience in a general practice setting is essential for both Australian and International applicants. Applicants will find the assessment tasks easier and more worthwhile if they are working in a primary health care setting at least two days per week.