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Keywords:

  • nurse prescribing;
  • mental health nursing;
  • improved mental health services;
  • compliance;
  • cost-effectiveness

Mental health nurses’ perceptions of nurse prescribing

Aims. This study aimed to ascertain mental health nurses’ perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of nurse prescribing and to identify the educational needs of mental health nurse prescribers.

Design. A questionnaire was designed and administered to a convenience sample in the UK of 73 mental health nurses in clinical practice, 14 working in in-patient settings and 59 in the community. Questions included both closed and open-ended items. Descriptive statistics were used for numerical data, and category analysis of the open-ended questions was undertaken by two of the researchers independently and then conjointly.

Findings. The majority of respondents felt that mental health nurse prescribing would significantly improve clients’ access to medication, improve compliance, prevent relapse and prove cost effective. However, many were anxious that they did not have sufficient knowledge and skills to assume responsibility for prescribing.

Conclusions. Although there would be benefits to clients and patients, further training, rigorous supervision and the co-operation of doctors will be required if mental health nurse prescribing is to yield the anticipated benefits.