Background: In an era of antibiotic resistance, medical students must be prepared to prescribe antibiotics responsibly.
Objectives: To assess self-reported preparedness among final-year medical students at European universities, using a comprehensive set of topics related to prudent antibiotic use.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional, multicentre, web-based survey. All medical-degree students in their final year of studies at European universities were eligible to participate. A preparedness score was calculated for each student and mean scores were compared at medical school and country levels. Comparisons were made with national-level data on resistance among four common bacterial pathogens.
Results: In total, 7328 responses were included from 179/296 eligible medical schools in 29/29 countries. Students felt at least sufficiently prepared on a mean of 71.2% of topics assessed, ranging from 54.8% (Portugal) to 84.8% (Latvia). The proportion of students wanting more education on prudent antibiotic use or general antibiotic use ranged from 20.3% (Sweden) to 94.3% (Slovakia), with a mean of 66.1%, and was strongly inversely correlated with preparedness scores (Spearman's ρ = -0.72, n = 29, P < 0.001). Higher prevalence rates of antibiotic-non-susceptible bacteria were associated with lower preparedness scores and higher self-reported needs for further education (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Most final-year European medical students feel they still need more education on antibiotic use for their future practice as junior doctors. Patterns of preparedness on specific topics were identified, were highly consistent across countries, and correlated with both perceived need for further education and levels of antibiotic resistance among common bacteria.
- Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
- Bacterial Infections/drug therapy
- Cross-Sectional Studies
- Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
- Professional Competence/statistics & numerical data
- Self Concept
- Students, Medical/psychology
- Young Adult