More than 28,000 nurses in the UK can prescribe the same medicines as doctors provided that it is in their level of experience and competence. A new study looks at whether there is added value of having nurse prescribers, compared with nurses without prescribing capability, care for people with diabetes in primary care practices.
The study found no differences over a period of 6 months in reported self-care activities or diabetes-related test results between patients of prescribers and non-prescribers. While holding an independent prescribing qualification may enhance career prospects and add to job satisfaction for nurses, budget-conscious primary care practices may question the rationale of investing in more expensive nurses when outcomes are similar under the care of nurses who command a lower salary.
"Given the key role that nurses now play in the care of patients with diabetes, the findings from this study provide reassurance that these nurses achieve positive health outcomes, and patients are very satisfied with the care they receive," said Dr. Molly Courtenay, lead author of the Journal of Advanced Nursing study. "The findings suggest that if primary care practices are to realize the benefits of investing in prescribing nurses, they must plan care carefully so that nurses are working to their full scope of practice and level of prescribing competence."