Nurse prescribers will in the future be trained under the same standards as pharmacists, according to draft Nursing and Midwifery Council proposals.
In latest NMC council papers, published earlier this week, the regulator also proposed that undergraduate training would include some elements of prescribing theory.
But, contrary to previous suggestions, nurses will continue to only be able to prescribe once they have completed a further qualification.
Teaching at an undergraduate level will “provide a stepping stone to earlier access to gain prescribing qualifications after registration,” said the council papers.
However, due to the grounding they will have received in their undergraduate training, nurses will be able to go on a community practitioner prescribing course – known as a V150 programme – immediately after they become registered, the papers said.
In addition, the NMC is proposing that nurses will only be required to have one year’s experience of post-registration practice in order to go on a more advanced prescribing course – known as the V300 programme – to become a supplementary or independent prescriber, instead of the current three years.
Under proposed new standards that the NMC has drawn up for universities providing prescribing courses, nurses will have to pass a pharmacology exam with a score of 80%, and a numeracy assessment of 100%.
The draft proposals have been laid out as part of a series of plans for major changes to nurse education, following months of work looking mainly at pre-registration training requirements.
The NMC said that, in the future, it expected universities to only be able to run prescribing courses if they met the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s single competency framework for all prescribers.
The regulator said there was “strong support” for the move and that the approach was “in recognition of a multi-professional approach to prescribing proficiency”.
If the changes are agreed following consultation, the NMC will become the first professional regulator to adopt the multi-professional competency framework, which was updated last year with the support of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
In addition, the NMC is proposing that trainee prescribers should be able to be supervised by a wider range of professionals that at present. Currently, only designated medical practitioners are able to do so.
When the framework was drawn up last year, there were similar calls made for a change in law so that a wider range of professionals were able to mentor trainee prescribers.
The NMC council will decide at its meeting next week whether to agree to a consultation based on the draft proposals.