Background: A fundamental skill in the practice of medicine is the ability to safely and rationally prescribe drugs. This research aims to estimate the percentage of newly registered medical officers who reported confidence in writing prescriptions.
Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to 200 medical officers employed at public health tertiary institutions throughout Trinidad and Tobago. These comprised medical interns (provisionally registered) and house officers (fully registered). Participants indicated their confidence or reluctance to prescribe with or without supervision. Estimates and comparisons between the two groups were obtained using Fisher’s exact and Chi-square tests.
Results: The response rate was 73.5%. More medical interns (68%; n = 41) than house officers (56%; n = 42) stated that they were ‘Confident’ or ‘Very Confident’ (p = 0.126) to prescribe. Approximately eighty-four per cent (83.6%; n = 51) of medical interns and 89.2% (n = 66) of house officers felt confident to prescribe antibiotics (p = 0.465). A greater percentage of medical interns (84.2%; n = 50) than house officers (66.7%; n = 49) agreed that undergraduate training equipped them to write prescriptions safely and rationally (χ2 = 6.17, df = 1; p = 0.012).
Conclusions: While most recent medical graduates felt confident about their prescription writing, there is a need to objectively measure this ability.