Free online course teaches responsible antibiotic prescribing

Antimicrobial Stewardship: 'Managing Antibiotic Resistance' returns after early success

According to the World Health Organisation, antimicrobial-resistant infections currently claim at least 50,000 lives each year across Europe and the US alone. Tackling this growing health problem requires education of healthcare professionals on a global scale, which is why the University of Dundee has launched a course that can be studied anywhere in the world.

The Antimicrobial Stewardship: Managing Antibiotic Resistance MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) will start on 23 May 2016. This will be the third time the course has run – last year nearly 1,500 people from countries as varied as Suriname, Australia, Myanmar, Greece and Bahrain completed the course, under the supervision of top experts in the field.

'Excessive and improper antibiotic prescribing is a key driver for antimicrobial resistance that needs to be addressed urgently,' says programme leader and Honorary Professor of Infection at the University of Dundee, Professor Dilip Nathwani, OBE. 'One of the unique strengths of this course is its emphasis on effecting behaviour change in prescribing – on understanding what factors might lead to improper prescribing, and looking to change them.'

Created in collaboration with the British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC), the MOOC is delivered through FutureLearn, an online learning platform from the Open University. It is free to join, with participants able to study at their own pace, and encouraged to discuss the content with their peers and teachers.

A certificate of completion is available and an optional examination can be taken at the conclusion of the course. Those who completed the MOOC are already making changes to the way they approach antibiotic use in their workplace and in their studies.

'I can’t emphasise enough how important this MOOC is as it highlights the increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance and the need for good antibiotic prescribing and stewardship,' said Daniella Ross, a doctor in her foundation year at NHS Tayside. 'The course has definitely improved my antibiotic prescribing as a junior doctor -- particularly with ensuring we are prescribing the right antibiotic, right dose, for the right length of time via the right route.'

To find out more, or to sign up, visit https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/antimicrobial-stewardship.