Gaps identified in nurse prescribing research

There is ‘a stark absence’ of evaluations of nurse prescribing from professionals working in a general hospital setting, according to some of the conclusions of this two-part literature review of research on nurse prescribing [1,2]. More research is needed into the views of doctors and other healthcare professionals in acute hospitals, say the authors, commenting that the gap is surprising as many nurses are working as clinical nurse specialists or advanced nurse practitioners in hospitals, presumably in close collaboration with medical colleagues.

Patients seem to view nurse prescribing favourably, and the benefits of nurse prescribing include convenience for patients, improved time management, cost-effectiveness and improved concordance. The authors comment that some randomised controlled trials comparing outcomes from doctors’ and nurses’ prescribing would be useful to provide empirical evidence about the impact of nurse prescribing. Research that compares their decision-making processes is also warranted.

1. Creedon R et al. An evaluation of nurse prescribing. Part 1: a literature review. Br J Nursing 2009; 18(21): 1322-1327.

2. O’Connell E et al. An evaluation of nurse prescribing. Part 2: a literature review. Br J Nursing 2009; 18(22): 1398-1402.