Diabetes care enhanced by nurse prescribing

This case study of nurse prescribers caring for people with diabetes found that the care they provided was enhanced by prescribing and that their prescribing and communication skills integrated well.

The evidence and analysis from interviews, patient questionnaires and videotaped consultations highlighted their good communication skills – particularly empathy and listening. The consultations included clear exchanges of information about medicines management and self-care. These aspects of care are particularly important to people with diabetes. The process was also seen as more efficient by nurses, and the patients reported good access and short waiting times.

The nurse prescribers were less consistent about explaining the risks and benefits of treatments and their side effects, a concern which has been noted before, although it is always difficult to know what had been said in previous consultations. In addition, although prescribing by nurses was seen as conferring some safety benefits (for example, that doctors were not signing prescriptions for patients they had not seen), the nurses did not consistently explore the use of non-prescribed herbal or over-the-counter medicines.

Courtenay M, Stenner K and Carey N. An exploration of the practices of nurse prescribers who care for people with diabetes: a case study. J Nursing Healthcare Chronic Illness 2009; 1(4): 311-320.