April 10, 2009 by admin
More education of doctors about the role of nurse prescribers is needed to address remaining misunderstandings and concerns, if the full benefits of this development are to be realised and nurse prescribers are to feel supported.
This is the conclusion of a review of recent changes, particularly those affecting community nurses. More than 30,000 nurses in the UK are now qualified to prescribe from the Nurse Prescribing Formulary (NPF) for community practitioners, with many also qualified as independent/supplementary prescribers (NIP/NSP). Although the available evidence suggests that prescribing from the NPF for community practitioners is fairly limited, most of the 14 000 NIP/NSP in the UK prescribe much more regularly, and 20% of these have been reported to be working in the community. In addition, those nurses who do prescribe from the NPF for community practitioners report benefits. As policy changes move healthcare from hospitals into the community, many patients with long-term conditions now see nurses as their first point of contact. Community staff nurses without specialist practitioner qualifications can now access the training needed to prescribe from the NPF for community practitioners, and the increasing numbers of community nurses becoming qualified as NIP/NSP also reflects this shift. The benefits of nurse prescribing exceed those predicted originally by the Department of Health, and more robust training standards are in place. There is still confusion and concerns, however, among doctors about the role, its professional limitations and nurses’ clinical skill base which are at present hampering its implementation more fully.
Courtenay M. Nurse prescribing, policy, practice and evidence base. Br J Comm Nursing 2008; 13(12): 563-566.