The prescribing practices of nurse independent prescribers caring for patients with diabetes

Findings from a national questionnaire survey



The aim of this study was to examine the prescribing practices of nurse independent prescribers caring for patients with diabetes.

Medication management is an area of care in which nurses, caring for patients with diabetes, are involved. Prescribing should optimise the role of these nurses. Although nurses in the United Kingdom have virtually the same independent prescribing rights as doctors, there is limited evidence concerning the extent to which nurse prescribing is used to treat diabetic patients, the medicines and conditions for which these nurses prescribe, and nurses' level of experience or training.

In this study, data were derived from a national questionnaire survey. The findings were based on replies from a random sample of 409 nurse independent prescribers who self-completed a written questionnaire.

The results showed that the majority (62.6%) of participants worked in general practice. Nurses with specialist training prescribed more frequently (p = 0.015). The majority (51.8%) of nurses prescribed between one and five items a week for patients with diabetes. Monitoring equipment, oral antidiabetic drugs, and insulins were the products most often prescribed. A lack of continuing professional development and clinical knowledge were the biggest factors which hampered prescribing.

It was concluded that nurses are using independent prescribing to prescribe medicines for patients with diabetes. However, in order that this role is optimised, it is important that nurse independent prescribers have the appropriate specialist knowledge and are able to access continuing professional development. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons.