Mental health nurse prescribing and understanding of medicines

“Previously unknown levels of incompetence” are revealed by the better understanding of medicines mental health nurses acquire when they become prescribers, argue the authors of this article, concluding by suggesting that there is a case for structured education in medicines management to be introduced into pre- and post-registration mental health nursing in the UK.

They use a variety of methods to come up with a theory that describes the process of becoming competent in mental health nurse prescribing, consisting of four themes that could provide a starting point for breaking down the skills nurses need to manage medicines safely. The authors highlight the sidelining of medicines management in mental health nursing, and how there is still debate over whether mental health nurses should be prescribing.

Snowden A and Martin CR. Mental health nurse prescribing: a difficult pill to swallow? J Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing 2010; 17: 543-553.