In defence of nurse scripts
From Wendy Fairhurst, nurse practitioner and prescriber,
I am writing in response to your article 'Nurse prescribers "floundering" in their new prescribing role' (News,
With the greatest respect,
it seems that the medical researchers who carried out the study may have slightly missed the point.
Opening up the BNF to
nurse prescribers does not mean all nurse prescribers will prescribe from it in its entirety. This policy was designed to enable the nurses working in many different specialties to prescribe according to their specific areas of knowledge
For example, an epilepsy nurse specialist would never
be faced with the situations outlined.
As nurse prescribers, when we are unsure we would do as any responsible clinician would do – look it up, confer with colleagues or refer the patient on.
I might add that, to date,
the Nursing and Midwifery Council has had no hearings specific to nurse prescribing errors.
Nurse prescribing was never set up for nurses to do the job 'better than doctors can' but in part was to rectify the anomaly of nurses making clinical decisions and asking doctors to take responsibility for them in the form of a signature on a prescription.
If I were a doctor, I would prefer not to be put in that position and would support those nurses who were prepared to take responsibility for their own clinical