Personal Drug Selection: Problem-Based Learning in Pharmacology: Experience from a Medical School in Nepal


At the Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal, Pharmacology is taught during the first four semesters of the undergraduate medical course. Personal or P-drug selection is an important exercise. The present study was carried out to obtain student opinion about the P-drug learning sessions, the assessment examinations, and on the small group dynamics.The practical sessions on P-drug selection are carried out in small groups. Student feedback about the session was obtained using focus group discussions. The focus groups were selected to represent both genders and the three main nationalities, Nepalese, Indians, and Sri Lankans. There were four Nepalese, five Indians, and three Sri Lankans. Within each nationality and gender category the students were randomly selected. The respondents were explained the objectives of the study and were invited to participate. Written informed consent was obtained. The discussion lasted around two hours and was conducted in the afternoon in two groups of six students each. The first author (PRS) acted as a facilitator. The responses were recorded and analyzed qualitatively.The overall student opinion was positive. Around 25% (3 respondents) of respondents were confused about whether P-drugs were for a disease or a patient. Group consensus was commonly used to give numerical values for the different criteria. The large number of brands created problems in calculating cost. The students wanted more time for the exercise in the examination. Formative assessment during the learning sessions may be considered. The group members usually got along well. Absenteeism was a problem and not all members put in their full effort. The physical working environment should be improved.Based on what the students say, the sessions on P-drugs should be continued and strengthened. Modifications in the sessions are required. Sessions during the clinical years and internship training can be considered

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Last time updated on 9/18/2018

This paper was published in Public Library of Science (PLOS).

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