The impact of nurse prescribing on dermatology services

Nurse prescribing has enabled nurses to use their knowledge and skills more effectively, overcome treatment delays and allowed faster medication access, according to the conclusions of the first study to explore the impact of nurse prescribing on the configuration of dermatology services. Stakeholders felt that there had been benefits to both patients and staff but that access to support and continuing professional development, and the capacity of the workforce, remain barriers to further progress.

Data were collected from 10 case study sites in 2006-2007 using semi-structured interviews with nurse prescribers and doctors, non-prescribing nurses and administrators. The cases were selected to represent both primary and secondary care in different locations and included nurses working in general practice and specialist nurses.

The results suggested that the dermatology services were now dependent upon nurse prescribing: in general practice, the impact was mostly felt through nurses prescribing in previously established minor illness clinics; in specialist areas, in contrast, new clinics and nurse-led services had been established as a result, both in outpatients and primary care.

Carey N, Stenner K and Courtenay M. Stakeholder views on the impact of nurse prescribing on dermatology services. J Clin Nursing 2009; published online 11 September.