Formularies can support prescribing in mental health

Team and individual formularies can support independent nurse prescribing in mental health, according to a recent evaluation piloting the use of formularies in a mental health trust.

There has been an issue with trained nurse prescribers in mental health either not prescribing or only prescribing as supplementary prescribers. One mental health trust has now tried using individual and team formularies to provide support for existing prescribers and for those who have qualified but are yet to make the step to independent prescribing, and the results are encouraging, with the formularies being seen as helpful by those new to this role, as they can ‘clarify and formalize each prescriber’s area of competence, thus setting clear boundaries’. This is useful in increasing confidence and reducing uncertainty, and has other benefits, but it is important that the formularies are kept up to date and in line with local practice.

Dobel-Ober D, Bradley E and Brimblecombe N. An evaluation of team and individual formularies to support independent prescribing in mental health care. J Psychiatr Mental Health Nursing 2012; published online ahead of print 5 March.