Prescribing for Minor Ailments – The Fundamentals – OnPharm United

This series of multimedia modules, directed at pharmacistspharmacy students and other healthcare providers, provides current information about common conditions and highlights the difference between over-the-counter consults and minor ailment prescribing services.




Prescribing for Minor Ailments – The Fundamentals is developed as a collaborative effort between the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) and the University of Waterloo (UW) School of PharmacyDr. Nardine Nakhla, Clinical Lecturer at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacyacted as lead author

In this course, you will learn the principles of providing a minor ailment service, including the application of a structured approach to patient assessment and prescribing. You will receive the knowledge and tools needed to implement this evidence-based service, shown to improve patient access to timely and cost effective care.  

Note: This course does not focus on the legal requirements for pharmacists prescribing for minor ailments in each jurisdiction. Please refer to the regulatory authority in your jurisdiction for more information.

Learning objectives:

For each minor ailment condition, participants should be able to*:

  • Describe the pathophysiology
  • Identify possible causes and risk factors
  • Apply the Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process (PPCP) necessary for a patient consultation


*Note, specific learning objectives for each individual module may differ slightly.

Course outline:

The course includes a total of 6 units, designed for self-directed learning. The introduction unit is mandatory, with the rest of the therapeutic/condition units optional: 

  • Introduction (Author: Nardine Nakhla) – 1 hour
    Introduction to Minor Ailment Assessment and Prescribing 
  • Infectious Diseases (Author: Brett Barrett) – 1.5 hour
    Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Impetigo and Lyme Disease (post-exposure prophylaxis)
  • Dermatology (Author: Kristi Butt) – 1.25 hour
    Dermatitis (atopic/eczema, allergic and contact skin rashes), Hives and Insect Bites & Stings
  • Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat (Authors: Karen Riley and Nardine Nakhla) – 1.25 hour
    Conjunctivitis (bacterial, allergic, viral) and Allergic Rhinitis
  • Gastrointestinal and Oral (Author: Michael Boivin) – 2.5 hour
    Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Hemorrhoids, Herpes Labialis (cold sores)  and Candidal Stomatitis (oral thrush)
  • Pain (Authors: Kelly Grindrod and Nardine Nakhla) – 1.5 hour
    Musculoskeletal sprains and strains and Dysmenorrhea

We suggest you start with the Introduction unit. While many of the regulatory elements in the Introduction unit are specific to the province of Ontario in Canada, the therapeutic elements and assessment principles are consistent with best practices internationally. 

Throughout the course, you may encounter various interactive learning activities. These are part of the learning experience and are not saved or graded. At the end of each module, you are asked to complete a final exam.  

Copyright statement

All rights, including copyright, in the content of the course are owned by the University of Waterloo, Ontario Pharmacists Association and the authors, unless otherwise stated. The use of the course material is for the registered student only. Not to be copied or distributed without written permission from the University of Waterloo and Ontario Pharmacists Association. Permission inquiries should be addressed to: [email protected].


The patient care wheel image and process used in the course were adapted (with permission) from the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (  

Course at a glance:

  • 9 Hours to complete
  • 9 CEUs
  • Expiration Date: June 1, 2023
  • Accreditation: 8003-2021-3236-I-Z
  • Online
  • Completion requirement: Complete the mandatory introductory unit and any other optional therapeutic/condition units of interest. To receive a Letter of Completion, participants must achieve 70% or more in each module’s final exam (maximum two attempts per exam) and complete course evaluations before the course expiry date.

Who should take this course:

The course is primarily developed to train pharmacists in prescribing for minor ailments. However, this course is open for pharmacy students and technicians as well as nurse practitioners and other clinicians who would like to gain and/or refine their knowledge on how to deliver a robust, high quality minor ailments service.  

Development team:

Academic Lead 

  • Nardine Nakhla, PharmD


  • Nardine Nakhla, PharmD
  • Brett Barrett, BScH, BScPhm
  • Kristi Butt, PharmD
  • Karen Riley, BScPhm, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, BCACP, CDE, DPLA
  • Michael Boivin, BScPhm, CTH, CDE, CTE
  • Kelly Grindrod, BScPhm, PharmD, MSc

Expert Reviewers

  • Jeff Taylor, BScPhm, MSc, PhD
  • Emily Black, BScPhm, ACPR, PharmD
  • Natalie Kennie, BScPhm, ACPR, PharmD, Dip Adult Education
  • Ravina Sanghera, BScPhm, PharmD
  • Sandra Knowles, BScPhm
  • Jon Hunchuck, BScPhm, PharmD
  • Marko Tomas, BScPhm, ACRP, PharmD
  • Miriam Weinstein, BSc, BScN, MD
  • Alina Lalani, BScPhm, ACPR, PharmD, BCGP

Practitioner Reviewers

  • Kathleen Leach, BScPhm
  • Omar Haddad, BScPhm