Nurses have a potentially important contribution to make to educating patients about medications. This nursing role is likely to acquire increasing significance as the number of nurses independently prescribing medicines grows, in addition to those nurses occupying autonomous and extended roles that involve ongoing assessment and monitoring of patients' medicine-taking behaviour. As part of a study1 commissioned to evaluate nurses' educational preparation for, and practice of, medication education, a national survey of nurse education institutions was undertaken. A postal questionnaire was distributed to identified individuals within 51 education institutions in England. Respondents were asked about a number of curriculum design and delivery factors related to subjects central to medication education: pharmacology, patient education and communication skills. Analysis highlighted a number of themes: the teaching of pharmacologyis generally integrated within other curricular modules; respondents were dissatisfied with insufficient curricular timedevoted to taught pharmacology; the importance of lecturers' ability to apply theory to practice; a lack of clarity concerning pharmacology learning outcomes applied to medication education; and respondents' perceptions that opportunities for integrating pharmacology knowledge, patient education and communication skills were available within practice settings. The significance and implications of the findings are discussed in the context of current educational policy.
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