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Nurse prescribers ‘more cautious’ than doctors

16 July 2014

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Independent nurse prescribers are “more cautious” than doctors when it comes to initiating treatment, new research suggests. 

Researchers interviewed 14 nurse prescribers and nine of their medical mentors.  

The researchers, from South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, found that nurses saw independent prescribing as a “risky activity”. 

The nurses were reluctant to make independent prescribing decisions “even within their specialist fields”. 

But when nurses decided to prescribe, they felt that patients were more involved in decision making and concordance than when doctors prescribe. 

The nurses also felt that they were better at liaising with other services about medication. 

The study authors wrote in Nursing Times: “Greater strategic focus and vision are needed so nurse prescribing can develop to meet patients’ needs and lead to a more equitable sharing of prescribing responsibilities with doctors.”

Currently, around 3% of nurses in the UK are qualified to prescribe independently.