Nurse prescribing has become established in the UK, though the number of prescriptions written in primary care in 2006 by nurses remained small at 0.8% of the total. Healthcare teams employ nurse prescribers to streamline the service and improve patients’ access to medicines. As the range of medicines available to nurses for prescribing increases, so questions about the need for more training in pharmacology arises. Old-style hierarchical relationships may still exist, and the term non-medical prescriber helps to maintain this. The prescribing process is shown to consist of much more than the issuing of a prescription, and the nurse is well suited to this holistic approach to patient management. Nurse prescribing is a natural extension of the work of many nurses, removing the need for them to obtain a doctor’s signature. Nurse prescribing enhances the nurses’ role and benefits the patient in their ease of access to healthcare professionals and also potentially to medicines and continuity of care.
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