On-call: Learning outcomes

Last updated: Wednesday, June 19, 2024


After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Know the right questions to ask when faced with a clinical question about a medicine out-of-hours.
  • Know where to look for information about medicines
  • Outline why some clinical problems may be harder to solve.
  • Describe strategies for managing these clinical problems safely.

You should allow 60-90 minutes to complete this tutorial.

You can download a PDF of the clinical scenarios.


This tutorial is aimed at hospital foundation pharmacists who are preparing to undertake an on-call role. It may help you meet many competencies within the RPS framework including:

  • 1.1 Applies evidence-based clinical knowledge to make suitable recommendations or take appropriate actions.
  • 1.2 Provides the multidisciplinary team with information and education, for example, on clinical, legal and governance aspects of medicines.
  • 1.6 Uses own pharmaceutical knowledge to positively impact the usage and stewardship of medicines at an individual and population level.
  • 1.7 Undertakes a holistic clinical review of a person’s medicines to ensure they are appropriate.
  • 2.1 Keeps the individual at the centre of their approach to care at all times.
  • 3.1 1 Draws upon own knowledge and up-to-date guidance to effectively make decisions appropriately and with confidence.
  • 3.2 Critically appraises appropriate information to make a decision in an efficient and systematic manner; adopts evidence-informed solutions.
  • 3.3 Demonstrates awareness of where to seek appropriate information to solve problems and make decisions.
  • 3.4 Asks the appropriate questions when engaging with other healthcare professionals to support own decision-making process.
  • 3.5 Manages uncertainty and possible risk appropriately, while ensuring high attention to detail is maintained when making decisions regarding the individual receiving care.
  • 6.5 Uses effective questioning when working with individuals receiving care or other healthcare professionals.
  • 7.2 Is accountable and responsible for own decisions and actions, understanding the potential consequences of these decisions across the whole care pathway.
  • 9.4 Effectively and efficiently manages multiple priorities; manages own time and workload calmly, demonstrating resilience.

    Continuing professional development

    Finally, here are some CPD activities you could consider:

    ★  Find out how your department records clinical enquiries about medicines received out-of-hours.  Can you review some of these enquiries to look for common themes and tips on managing them.
    ★  Book in with your local medicines advice pharmacist. How do they advise on the best course of action when faced with little or conflicting information on a particular topic? Use MiDatabank to review some past enquiries that presented more challenging clinical decisions.
    ★  Shadow the current on-call team to observe how they answer clinical questions about medicines out-of-hours.