Quality Use of Medicine (QUM) means selecting management options wisely; choosing suitable medicines if a medicine is considered necessary; and using medicines safely and effectively. Even though QUM has been a key component of the national medicines policy since 1992, there is much concern that it is not widely known or understood by nurses, one of the professional groups responsible for its implementation. The challenge for nurse educators is to try and incorporate QUM into the nursing curriculum. Unfortunately, lecturers are already pressured by the insufficient time allocated for teaching pharmacology. These time pressures force students to memorise long lists of drugs, rather than allowing them to develop a framework of QUM principles that would facilitate life-long learning.

Notre Dame School of Nursing Sydney has worked with the National Prescribing Service to adapt their online QUM module for use with undergraduate students. The module enables students to explore the principles of QUM in a moderated online environment, maximising valuable teaching time. The module uses LAMS (learning activity management system) a new Web 2.0 tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities. The module uses vignettes; forums; discussions; and student reflection to foster an environment that promotes concept construction. QUM as a concept, rather than a discreet set of knowledge or skills, benefits from this social constructivist learning approach.

The online environment is not without its challenges but with planning, can be a useful adjunct for the teaching of Quality Use of Medicine.


Quality use of medicines, nurse education, nursing, elearning


The conference was convened by the Australian Nurse Teachers Society and the conference website may be accessed here

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Nursing Commons