Evaluating nurse prescribing in acute care: a case study

Nurse prescribers and doctors were found to provide equivalent care in this small case study in an acute hospital. This is interesting because much research so far has focussed on community settings and also because this study sought views from a range of levels within the organisation, including managers and patients from a range of ethnic groups.

The researchers used semi-structured interviews with nurse prescribers, medical, nursing and pharmacy colleagues and senior hospital staff, observations of nurse and doctor consultations, and patient questionnaires.

Nurse prescribing was seen as a positive development: there were benefits for patients through better use of staff skills and improved service delivery and both the prescribers and their colleagues were positive about the changes and their impact. Patients were more likely to be satisfied with the medication information they had received if they had seen a nurse rather than a doctor. Patients from different ethnic groups appeared to have similar views about their experience and medication. The prescribing practice of the doctors and nurses were found to be similar. Shared vision, local championship, action learning and team, peer and buddy support were all identified as factors that actively enabled implementation.

Jones K, Edwards M and While A. Nurse prescribing roles in acute care: an evaluative case study. J Advanced Nursing 2010; 67(1): 117-126.