Attitudes of patients towards mental health nurse prescribing of antipsychotic agents


  • Terence V McCann RN BA MA PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Professor of Nursing Research, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Institute of Health and Diversity, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Eileen Clark BA MLitt MSocSci GDipEnvMgt

    1. Senior Lecturer in Sociology, School of Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
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Terence McCann, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Victoria University, PO Box 14428, Melbourne, Vic. 8001, Australia. Email:


We examined the attitudes of patients with schizophrenia towards unrestricted independent non-medical prescribing of antipsychotic agents by mental health nurses. Data were collected using the Factors Influencing Neuroleptic Medication Taking Scale with a sample of 81 patients with schizophrenia who lived in the community. The results showed that a small majority supported mental health nurses having prescriptive authority. Younger participants were more likely than older participants to favour these clinicians being permitted to discontinue prescribed medication. Most considered their relationships with mental health nurses as satisfactory, and were satisfied with the way these clinicians responded to their concerns regarding antipsychotic agents. Beliefs about prescribing were positively associated with perceived knowledge of medications. The findings draw attention to patient support for non-medical prescribing by these nurses. They highlight the need for mental health nurses to be properly educated to assume this important role, and the requirement for further research.