CPD needs for nurses prescribing in diabetes

Although the provision of continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities for nurse prescribers who care for people with diabetes has improved, according to this survey, pharmacological knowledge is still the area identified as being of concern. This is something education providers may wish to consider when developing CPD programmes to meet the needs of nurses prescribing in diabetes.

The article considers the finding from 439 respondents, all prescribing medicines for patients with diabetes, who completed a questionnaire as part of a larger group randomly selected from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) database. Many (63%) worked in general practice and most (more than 80%) said they had accessed CPD to support their prescribing. The results suggest that there has been recent and considerable improvement in the provision of CPD for this group, although the authors point out that this may also reflect established CPD opportunities in diabetes management for health professionals.

CPD in pharmacology has often been identified as a concern (albeit mostly either in the early groups of independent prescribers or in prescribing by health visitors and district nurses) and it arose again here – though possibly for rather different reasons. A large proportion of those nurses saying they had CPD needs (often not the more senior nurses) said they were in pharmacology for diabetes (including insulin and oral hypoglycaemic agents). Given the high numbers working in general practice the authors suggest that this may reflect policy changes that mean nurses in general practice are becoming more involved in starting people on insulin or managing more complex cases. Another are identified was on prescribing policy, which is not surprising given the rapid pace of change recently.

Carey N and Courtenay M. An exploration of the continuing professional development needs of nurse independent prescribers and nurse supplementary prescribers who prescribe medicines for people with diabetes. J Clin Nursing 2010; 19: 208-216