Education programmes preparing independent prescribers in Scotland: An evaluation
Watterson, Andrew E.
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Boreham, N., Coull, A., Murray, I. D., Turner-Halliday, F. & Watterson, A. E. (2013) Education programmes preparing independent prescribers in Scotland: An evaluation. Nurse Education Today, 33(4), pp. 321-326.
Background Nurse prescribing (NP) is part of the modernisation of the health care workforce and contributes to patient care by improving access to quality services and medication, through utilisation of advanced professional skills. Nurses and midwives need to complete additional education in order to prescribe. This paper explores pedagogical issues relevant to professional training programmes.Objectives To assess if programmes of education for nurse prescribing in Scotland were fit for purpose, from both the student and educator perspective with recommendations for future educational delivery.Design Data were collected using several methods: a questionnaire to all course members on prescribing programmes followed by focus-groups; and interviews with programme providers.Results Nurses and midwives training as prescribers work in a wide range of healthcare settings, in different geographic environments. They tended to be experienced, educated to degree level and most are over forty years of age. Most undertook the course to develop professionally and to improve patient care. Existing provision of education for prescribing is deemed appropriate and fit for purpose. The NP programme greatly enhances pharmacological knowledge building on existing clinical experience. The nature of these programmes works well and should be retained. However, whilst the educational programmes were centrally funded, less than half of students were provided with any allocated study time from their employers preventing nurses from maximising the gain from the educational preparation for prescribing.Conclusions Nurse and midwife generic preparation for independent nurse prescribing in Scotland greatly increases professional expertise and is appropriate and fit for purpose. As other countries beyond Scotland and the UK seek to further progress nursing roles, learning from this controlled and structured development of prescribing underpinned by evidence could be of significant benefit.