Agreements and schedules help learning in practice

The learning experience of non-medical prescribing (NMP) students during their learning in practice period was significantly improved if they drew up a learning agreement and time schedule at the start with their designated medical practitioner (DMP), according to the results of this survey of 57 NMP students.

Learning agreements and time schedules were very important in ensuring that the students’ learning needs were met, despite time constraints and workload in practice settings. Spending more than 30 per cent of the practice hours under direct DMP supervision was significantly associated with student satisfaction and this was more common where a time schedule was in place. Formative assessment, resulting in greater student satisfaction, was also more likely if a prior learning agreement had been done.

The students identified barriers to learning, including: time and workload constraints, organizational issues and peer support. One recommendation that emerged was having a qualified, practising, non-medical prescriber acting as co-mentor. Other suggestions included providing incentives to doctors, giving them more information about NMP to encourage them to take up the DMP role, and that sponsoring organizations should have systems to support supervised periods of learning in practice.

Ahuja J. Evaluating the learning experience of non medical prescribing students with their designated medical practitioners in their period of learning in practice: Results of a survey. Nurse Educ. Today 2009; published online.