Final year MPharm students approach to questioning when responding to symptoms

Paul M. Rutter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The advisory role of the community pharmacist in helping patients manage self-limiting conditions is well established. Recent trends promoting patient self-care coupled with greater availability of non-prescription medicines has focused renewed attention on this role. Graduate pharmacists must therefore possess good consultation skills to elicit information from patients. A retrospective descriptive analysis of questions asked by final year students studying at Portsmouth University was undertaken. Data was drawn from six simulated patient scenarios that were part of a series of observed structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) students sat in the final semester.

Results show that questioning patients centred on the use of the mnemonic known as WWHAM, although supplementary questions were always asked to gain further information. Questions not directly related to the presenting complaint were least asked. Despite possible shortcomings in their approach to questioning the correct diagnosis was achieved in the majority of cases and appropriate recommendations made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacy Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Diagnosis
  • Questioning technique
  • Response to symptoms
  • Undergraduate


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