• continuing professional development;
  • nurses;
  • pharmacology;
  • prescribing;
  • support

Background.  Nurse Independent and Nurse Supplementary Prescribing has extended the role that nurses in the UK have in the management of care for patients with diabetes. Concerns surround nurses’ pharmacological knowledge and provision of continuing professional development to meet the needs of nurse prescribers.

Aim.  To examine the continuing professional development needs of nurses who prescribe medicines to patients with diabetes.

Design.  A questionnaire survey.

Methods.  The NMC database was used to randomly select and distribute questionnaires to 1992 registered Nurse Independent/Nurse Supplementary Prescribers. One thousand and four hundred questionnaires were returned. Medicines for patients with diabetes were prescribed by 439 respondents. This paper reports on the findings of these 439 nurses.

Results.  The majority (63%) of nurses worked in general practice. Over 80% reported continuing professional development was available and that they had accessed it to support their prescribing role. Over 40% of nurses had continuing professional development needs in the areas of prescribing policy, pharmacology for diabetes and the management and treatment of diabetes related conditions. Senior nurses reported fewer continuing professional development needs.

Conclusion.  Access and provision of continuing professional development for nurse prescribers has improved since the initial implementation of nurse prescribing. However, nurse’s pharmacological knowledge and the provision of continuing professional development continue to be an area of concern which warrant further investigation.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Previous concerns have been identified about the provision of continuing professional development to meet the needs of nurse prescribers. Pharmacological knowledge is still the greatest continuing professional development requirement of nurses who prescribe for patients with diabetes. Education providers may wish to consider developing the content of continuing professional development programmes to meet these needs.