Title. Preparing nurses to prescribe medicines for patients with diabetes: a national questionnaire survey
Aim. This paper is a report of a study to examine Nurse Independent/Nurse Supplementary Prescribing for people with diabetes and the extent to which these nurses feel prepared for this role.
Background. An area of care in which nurses, caring for people with diabetes, are involved is the management of medications. There is little or no evidence examining the prescription of medicines by nurses for people with this condition.
Methods. The United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council database was used to select a random sample of 1992 Registered Nurse Independent/Nurse Supplementary Prescribers. Of these, 1400 questionnaires were returned. Medicines for people with diabetes were prescribed by 439 respondents. This paper reports on the findings of these 439 nurses. The data were collected in 2006.
Results. Four hundred and nine (95·1%) participants had used independent prescribing and 214 (49·8%) used supplementary prescribing. The majority of respondents were highly experienced and worked in primary care. Some nurses (7·6%) reported that the prescribing programme did not meet their need. The needs of nurses who had undertaken specialist training in diabetes were met to a statistically and significantly greater extent than those without this training. Nurse prescribing was viewed positively by nurses prescribing for people with diabetes.
Conclusion. Prescribing has extended the role that nurses in the United Kingdom are able to play in the management of diabetes. Specialist training is a prerequisite for nurses adopting this role. There is a need to explore the prescribing programme and the extent to which it meets the needs of nurses prescribing for people with diabetes.