Specialist mental health nurse prescribing: professionals’ views

Once again, education for other professionals about the training and role of non-medical prescribers has been identified as an issue, this time in establishing nurse prescribing in specialist mental health teams.

In this case study, which aimed to explore the views and experiences of professionals within one specialist mental health team, nine health professionals from different disciplines attended a focus group and two psychiatrists were interviewed separately.

In general, the views were positive and a range of benefits identified including improved care and more teamworking. One striking finding in the focus group was that there was very little knowledge about aspects of nurse prescribing: training, requirements, responsibilities and practicalities. So even in a team with a practising nurse prescriber, colleagues were uncertain about their role and responsibilities. In the psychiatrists’ interviews it became clear that they had no training or support for their supervisory role, and that they had some anxieties, which the authors link to the perception that they might be expected to supervise an inexperienced prescriber who might make errors that they would be responsible for.

Earle EA et al. Nurse prescribing in specialist mental health (part 2): the views and experiences of psychiatrists and health professionals. J Psychiatr Men Health Nursing 2010; published online 4 February.