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Keywords:

  • controlled drugs;
  • interviews;
  • nurse prescribing;
  • pain management;
  • qualitative research

Abstract

Title. Benefits of nurse prescribing for patients in pain: nurses’ views.

Aim  This paper is a report of a study to explore nurses’ views on the benefits of adopting the role of prescribing for patients with acute and chronic pain.

Background.  It was envisioned that the advent of nurse prescribing would be beneficial to the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Kingdom National Health Service. Research to date does indeed indicate that nurse prescribing can be beneficial to patients, nurses and the health service in general. Despite the expansion of nurse prescribing, there is little evidence of its impact according to nurses working in specialist areas, such as with patients in acute and chronic pain.

Method.  Interviews were conducted during 2006 and 2007 with 26 nurses qualified to prescribe medicines for patients in acute and chronic pain. This was a qualitative study and a thematic analysis was conducted.

Findings.  Nurses reported a number of benefits, including faster access to treatment, improved quality of care, more appropriate prescribing of medication, improved safety, improved relations and communication with patients, greater efficiency and cost effectiveness. Nurses benefited from increased job satisfaction, credibility with patients and healthcare professionals and also gained knowledge through prescribing.

Conclusion.  There is potential for the benefits of nurse prescribing to be expanded beyond the United Kingdom in settings where nurses hold similar roles in the treatment of pain, although further research using a wider range of research methods is recommended to substantiate these findings.