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The role of the designated prescribing supervisor: an evaluation

01 February 2023
Volume 5 · Issue 2



To understand the experience of non-medical prescribers undertaking the role of designated prescribing supervisor with students on the non-medical prescribing course for the first time.


Questionnaire completed by 34 designated prescribing supervisors, followed by semi-structured interviews with 10 designated prescribing supervisors.


There were four themes identified from the data. These were: knowledge and experience prior to undertaking the designated prescribing supervisor role; how the role of designated prescribing supervisor was enacted in practice; interactions and engagements necessary to support the designated prescribing supervisor and underpin students' professional development; and the way in which the designated prescribing supervisor role supports personal growth.


Designated prescribing supervisors in this evaluation described their role as consisting of coaching, advice and pastoral support. The supervision which they provided tended to be unscheduled and informal. Designated prescribing supervisors valued the support they received from the University and their Employer. Undertaking the role of designated prescribing supervisors was described as beneficial to their continuing professional development, it enhanced job satisfaction and provided a greater sense of self-worth.

As a large provider of multi-professional non-medical prescribing (NMP) education, University of the West of England (UWE) attracts learners from across the southwest of England and beyond. The design and delivery of the NMP programme has been developed with practice partners, including the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (RDUH), service user engagement and learner feedback. The underlying premise has been to ensure that there is consistency in the preparation, educational experience and assessment of all learners, while supporting the current regulatory requirements of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

In 2019, professional regulatory changes expanded the professions able to take on the supervision and assessment of NMP student practice placements, increasing the supervisor pool and potentially improving access to NMP training (GPhC, 2019; HCPC, 2019a; NMC, 2019a). Nurse, pharmacist and allied health professional (AHP) NMPs are now able to support practice placements in addition to doctors. At the same time, the NMC (2019b) brought in changes which mandated that nurses undertaking NMP training would need two individuals to support their practice placement; a practice supervisor (responsible for providing supervision and support) and a practice assessor (responsible for the overall assessment of the student). This contrasted with the GPhC and the HCPC who only require that a single person undertake this role. The regulators use different titles for the person undertaking the assessor role; however, in this article, the umbrella term designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) will be used for clarity.

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