Nurse prescribing in dermatology: doctors’ and non-prescribing nurses’ views


K. Stenner: e-mail:


Title. Nurse prescribing in dermatology: doctors’ and non-prescribing nurses’ views.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to explore doctor and non-prescribing nurse views about nurse prescribing in the light of their experience in dermatology.

Background.  The cooperation of healthcare professionals and peers is of key importance in enabling and supporting nurse prescribing. Lack of understanding of and opposition to nurse prescribing are known barriers to its implementation. Given the important role they play, it is necessary to consider how the recent expansion of nurse prescribing rights in England impacts on the views of healthcare professionals.

Method.  Interviews with 12 doctors and six non-prescribing nurses were conducted in 10 case study sites across England between 2006 and 2007. Participants all worked with nurses who prescribed for patients with dermatological conditions in secondary or primary care. Thematic analysis was conducted on the interview data.

Results.  Participants were positive about their experiences of nurse prescribing having witnessed benefits from it, but had reservations about nurse prescribing in general. Acceptance was conditional upon the nurses’ level of experience, awareness of their own limitations and the context in which they prescribed. Fears that nurses would prescribe beyond their level of competence were expected to reduce as understanding and experience of nurse prescribing increased.

Conclusion.  Indications are that nurse prescribing can be acceptable to doctors and nurses so long as it operates within recommended parameters. Greater promotion and assessment of standards and criteria are recommended to improve understanding and acceptance of nurse prescribing.