Are nurse and pharmacist independent prescribers making clinically appropriate prescribing decisions? An analysis of consultations

Latter, Sue, Smith, Alesha, Blenkinsopp, Alison, Nicholls, Peter G., Little, Paul and Chapman, Stephen (2012) Are nurse and pharmacist independent prescribers making clinically appropriate prescribing decisions? An analysis of consultations. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 17, (3), 149-156. (doi:10.1258/jhsrp.2012.011090). (PMID:22734082).


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OBJECTIVES: Legislation and health policy enabling nurses and pharmacists to prescribe a comprehensive range of medicines has been in place in the UK since 2006. Our objective was to evaluate the clinical appropriateness of prescribing by these professionals.

METHODS: A modified version of the Medication Appropriateness Index (MAI) was used by 10 medical, seven pharmacist and three nurse independent raters to evaluate a sample of 100 audio-recorded consultations in which a medicine was prescribed by a nurse or pharmacist. Raters were current prescribers with recognized experience in prescribing. Consultations were recorded in nine clinical practice settings in England.

RESULTS: Raters' analysis indicated that, in the majority of instances, nurses and pharmacists were prescribing clinically appropriately on all of the ten MAI criteria (indication, effectiveness, dosage, directions, practicality, drug-drug interaction, drug-disease interaction, duplication, duration, cost). Highest mean 'inappropriate' ratings were given for correct directions (nurses 12%; pharmacists 11%) and the cost of the drug prescribed (nurses 16% pharmacists 22%). Analysis of raters' qualitative comments identified two main themes: positive views on the overall safety and effectiveness of prescribing episodes; and potential for improvement in nurses' and pharmacists' history-taking, assessment and diagnosis skills.

CONCLUSIONS: Nurses and pharmacists are generally making clinically appropriate prescribing decisions. Decisions about the cost of drugs prescribed and assessment and diagnostic skills are areas for quality improvement.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1258/jhsrp.2012.011090
ISSNs: 1355-8196 (print)
1758-1060 (electronic)
Subjects: R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions : Faculty of Health Sciences
ePrint ID: 341029
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
July 2012Published
25 June 2012Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2012 09:09
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:31

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