A common theme that we discuss in many
clinical inquiries is a very specific meaning of certain words and phrases.
Over the next two minutes I would like to share with you three common examples
or where words really do matter. Firstly, should and must. When we’re
writing College guidance were very careful to ensure that we only use word
must when there’s a clear legal or regulatory requirement to do something.
We use the word should when in the College’s view it’s good practice. Where
we use should you can use your professional judgment to decide whether you wish
to follow the guidance or not. However if you deviate from the guidance you need
to have a good reason for doing so and you need to record it on the record card. Secondly, evidence-based practice. So
evidence-based practice doesn’t mean picking one particular paper, recently
published paper, that supports a particular view or opinion.
Evidence-based practice is a decision-making methodology. It enables
you to ensure that decisions made are the highest quality and they’re centered
on the patient’s needs and preferences. It involves three different components,
the first component is research evidence, so where possible that’s using
high-quality, systematic reviews. Secondly it’s about your clinical expertise, so
that you as a practitioner, it’s about using your professional judgment applied
to the particular individual clinical case. And finally it’s about the
patient’s preferences and their choice, and so you need to present information
to the patient in a clear and unbiased way. And you combine those three elements
and in partnership the patient come up with a decision. And finally unlicensed and off license.
So an optometrist independent prescriber must not prescribe a medicine unlicensed,
whereas an optometrist independent prescriber should not normally prescribe
a medicine off license. So there you have it must and should in action. If you’d like
more information or have any further questions follow the links below or
contact us on the clinical advice line.