Nurse prescribing by children’s nurses: doctors’ views

What do doctors think about nurse prescribing in specialist children’s hospitals? This was one of the questions that this study set out to address, given that increasing numbers of specialist children’s hospital nurses are becoming prescribers.

Interviews with 11 doctors and three clinical leads in one specialist children’s hospital, performed as part of a larger study, revealed that the major benefits were thought to be improved access to medicines and better continuity of care, seen as a particular priority for children and their families. The doctors thought that nurses were able to provide patients with more medicines information than doctors and that nurses were in a better position to develop long-term relationships with their. The authors point out that because nurses at this hospital already worked at an advanced level, and were running their own clinics, prescribing was supporting existing structures.

The concerns of the doctors and clinical leads included: the selection of candidates for prescribing training; the need for doctors to have confidence in the ability of nurses becoming prescribers; clinical skills; and concerns or confusion about roles. It is important that nurses have acquired the appropriate clinical skills before they register for prescribing training. Doctors need to understand nurse prescribing, and good communication across the professional boundaries is vital for this.

Courtenay M and Carey N. Nurse prescribing by children’s nurses: views of doctors and clinical leads in one specialist children’s hospital. J Clin Nursing 2009; 18: 2668-2675.