Nurse prescribing: views of children’s nurses

What do children’s nurses working in a specialist children’s hospital as nurse prescribers think about the prescribing role and how it has been adopted in practice? This interesting study concluded that nurse prescribing had a ‘domino effect’, with multiple effects across different aspects of care: the resulting safety improvements led to improvements in the speed and efficiency of the service, and allowed episodes of care to be completed by nurses, enhancing their relationships with patients. The outcome of all this was seen as better care for patients and more job satisfaction for nurses.

The safety aspect is particularly important as so many drugs are not licensed for children, and participants here believed that their expertise was also allowing them to pick up and correct prescribing errors. In contrast to the situation found elsewhere, however, these nurses had not found that nurse prescribing had an impact on the development of their roles or their knowledge base, perhaps because of the highly specialist nature of these services: nurse prescribing was supporting existing structures. There were, however, issues with workforce planning and resources which were seen as limiting the impact of nurse prescribing.

Carey N, Stenner K and Courtenay M. Adopting the prescribing role in practice: exploring nurses’ views in a specialist children’s hospital. Paediatric Nursing 2009: 21(9): 25-29.