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Keywords:

  • diabetes;
  • nurse prescribing;
  • role;
  • service efficiency

Diabet. Med. 27, 1049–1054 (2010)

Abstract

Aims  To explore the views of patients with diabetes about nurse prescribing and the perceived advantages and disadvantages.

Methods  Patients were recruited from the case-loads of seven nurse prescribers in six National Health Service sites in England. Sites reflected the key settings in which nurses typically prescribe for patients with diabetes within primary care. Forty-one interviews were undertaken by trained qualitative researchers. Interviews addressed opinions and experiences of nurse prescribing; audiotapes were transcribed, coded, and themes identified.

Results  Patients were confident in nurse prescribing. Distinctions were made between the role of the nurse and that of the doctor, and views varied with regard to the extent patients felt nurses should work autonomously. Confidence in nurse prescribing was inspired by nurses’ specialist knowledge and experience, a mutual trusting relationship, a thorough consultation, and experience of the benefits of nurse prescribing. Communication between nurses and doctors about patient care, awareness by nurses of their area of competence, training and experience, specialist diabetes knowledge and access to training updates were considered important for safe prescribing. Patterns of attendance had changed in some cases, with patients tending to see doctors less often. Access to medicines was improved for patients during non-routine/emergency situations.

Conclusions  Nurse prescribing is acceptable to patients and can increase the efficiency of diabetes service in primary care. Workforce planners need to include the services of nurse prescribers alongside those of doctors.