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Mismatched expectations: experiences of nurses returning to prescribing

02 June 2024
Volume 6 · Issue 6



Research has identified continuing professional development for active prescribers to be a challenge; particularly a lack of confidence and anxiety around prescribing. Anecdotally, support to regain prescribing knowledge and competence to facilitate safe prescribing requires some exploration for organisations, mangers and practitioners.


To obtain an insight into practitioners’ experiences of returning to prescribing in their clinical role following a period of non-activity.


Online semi-structured interviews with five prescribers were conducted, with interview transcripts thematically analysed by the research team.


Four themes were generated: individual; the team; the organisation; and the mismatch between the three.


Considering these results is important to support those who return to prescribing to ensure safe and effective practice, and a positive experience for all involved.

Research has identified anxiety and a lack of confidence around prescribing practice (Weglicki et al, 2015; Courtenay et al, 2018; Casey et al, 2020). Continuing professional development (CPD) for all prescribers is a challenge but is a regulatory requirement (Armstrong, 2021; Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), 2021). Prescribers who have not been using their qualification also require support to regain their prescribing knowledge and competence. For independent and supplementary prescribers (those who are not medics or dentists) there is evidence supporting a lack of CPD, but limited research to show this has been addressed. Research is needed to explore and facilitate safe practice for these practitioners.

In comparison with other countries and professions globally, the UK and Ireland have some of the most extensive prescribing privileges for Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and General Pharmaceutical Council (GhPC) prescribers, giving prescribing autonomy equal scope and jurisdiction for nursing, midwifery, allied health professionals and medical professionals alike (Kroezen et al, 2011).

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