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Patients’ attitudes towards, and information needs in relation to, nurse prescribing in rheumatology


  • Dianne Berry BSc, DPhil,

  • Anthony Bradlow MD, LLM, FRCP,

  • Molly Courtenay MSc, PhD, Cert Ed

Dianne Berry
Whiteknights House
University of Reading
Telephone: 0118 378 7113
Fax: 0118 378 7424


Aims and objectives.  To assess the level of confidence that rheumatology patients would have in nurse prescribing, the effects on likely adherence and particular concerns that these patients have. In addition, given that information provision has been cited as a potential benefit of nurse prescribing, the present study assessed the extent to which these patients would want an explanation for the selected medicine, as well as which types of information should be included in such an explanation.

Background.  Nurse prescribing has been successfully implemented in the UK in several healthcare settings. Existing research has not addressed the effects on patients' confidence and likely adherence, nor have patients' information needs been established. However, we know that inadequate medicines information provision by health professionals is one of the largest causes of patient dissatisfaction.

Methods.  Fifty-four patients taking disease-modifying drugs for inflammatory joint disease attending a specialist rheumatology clinic self-completed a written questionnaire.

Results.  Patients indicated a relatively high level of confidence in nurse prescribing and stated that they would be very likely to take the selected medication. The level of concern was relatively low and the majority of concerns raised did not relate to the nurse's status. Strong support was expressed for the nurse providing an explanation for medicine choice.

Conclusion.  This research provides support for the prescription of medicines by nurses working in the area of rheumatology, the importance of nurses providing a full explanation about the selected medicines they prescribe for these patients and some indication as to which categories of information should be included.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Rheumatology patients who have not yet experienced nurse prescribing are, in general, positive about nurses adopting this role. It is important that nurses provide appropriate information about the prescribed medicines, in a form that can be understood.