Dr Heather Bain

Addressing the future of nurse standards

By Dr Heather Bain - 08 April 2022

Dr Heather Bain, Academic Strategic Lead, discusses the impact that the new training standards for nursing will have on the workforce and outlines some of the key reasons why there was a need for her new co-authored textbook, Principles and Practice of Nurse Prescribing.

Principles and Practice of Nurse Prescribing is unique as it is the first book aimed at undergraduate nurses to help with the requirement of being prepared to prescribe at an earlier point in their career. This text is also necessary as one of the few recent publications for new graduates, or others, undertaking a nurse prescribing qualification. Co-authored with Jill Gould from the University of Derby, the book is part of the Transforming Nursing Practice series developed for student nurses in all fields of practice and mapped to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC 2018) Standards of Proficiency for registered nurses.

Prescribing by level one registered nurses and midwives has evolved at a pace over the last 20 years.

Up until now the registrant needed to be qualified for a minimum of three years before being able to undertake an additional educational programme to prepare them to prescribe on the same basis as medics. Recognising that healthcare is changing rapidly the Nursing and Midwifery Council set to develop an ambitious set of standards to prepare nurses and midwives with the required knowledge and skills to care for an increasingly diverse population and can engage in advancing professional roles at an earlier point in their career. Their standards of proficiency for the future nurse and the future midwife have an ambition for the newly qualified nurse or midwife to be prescribing ready at the point of registration.

Pre-registration nurses are measured against a number of outcomes,  including being able to apply knowledge of pharmacology to the care of people, demonstrating the ability to progress to a prescribing qualification following registration.

Similarly, at the point of registration, midwives must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles of safe and effective administration and optimisation of prescription and non-prescription medicines and midwives’ exemptions, demonstrating the ability to progress to a prescribing qualification following registration.

Within the first year of qualifying, they could potentially undertake a qualification to prescribe from a limited formulary (NMC 2018b).One year after qualification, a registered nurse or midwife can progress to undertake a prescribing qualification that will allow them to  do so from the full British National Formulary, with the exception of some controlled drugs.

Nurse and midwifery education is now tasked with ensuring future nurses and midwives are competent with a new set of skills that many educationalists themselves do not have. This book helps to support independent learning and the application of theory to practice with a range of learning features including case studies and activities for students to participate in their own learning while in the practice setting. The book is also mapped to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (2021) competency framework for all prescribers so will also be  relevant for health professionals who are undertaking prescribing programme as part of their continuing professional development.

If you would be interested in finding out more about our book, Principles and Practice of Nurse Prescribing, it is now available to order online.

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