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Keywords:

  • clients' views;
  • constructivist approach;
  • mental health nurse prescribing;
  • nurse–patient relationship;
  • qualitative analysis;
  • stakeholder views

Accessible summary

  • Prescribing medication was previously the monopoly of medical doctors but in recent years suitably qualified mental health nurses among others, have been authorized to prescribe.
  • The nurse–patient relationship is considered paramount in mental health nursing but some mental health nurses are concerned that prescribing may somehow conflict with this relationship. However there has been little reported on the views of mental health nurse prescribers and their clients.
  • In this study clients and other stakeholders from one National Health Service Foundation Trust were interviewed or participated in a focus group regarding their experiences of nurses prescribing medication.
  • Clients in this study believed that nurse prescribing was working well and they were satisfied having their medication prescribed by their nurse. Nurse prescribers believed that their prescribing was well received by their clients and by other professionals.

Abstract

Nurse prescribing has been embraced in many areas of nursing, but less so in mental health. Relatively few studies have been published in this field with even fewer asking clients who have their medication prescribed by a mental health nurse about their views. This paper reports findings concerning the mental health nurse prescriber–patient relationship. It draws on data from a qualitative study, which was undertaken in one mental health National Health Service Foundation Trust in England to ascertain the views of clients and other stakeholders (nurse prescribers, pharmacist prescribers, nurse managers and doctors) about nurse prescribing. Data were collected by interview (either face to face or telephone) or focus group. Following Framework analysis, findings revealed that clients liked to have their nurse prescribe for them as they valued the pre-established relationship. They also valued the consistency of seeing the same person and the relative ease of access to appointments. Doctors and nurse managers were aware of positive feedback from clients. Nurse prescribers believed that nurse prescribing provided an enhanced service to clients.