Nurse prescribing has “come of age” and will be recognised as essential for future models of care, but those in the role should not resist other professions joining, according to a former senior nurse.
Teresa Kearney recently retired from her role as an independent prescriber and as director of primary care development at South Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust.
“These kind of roles as prescribers will become essential”
She said nurse prescribers would be vital for the autonomous, advanced practice that clinicians are expected to carry out in the coming years.
She referred to NHS England’s Five-Year Forward View, published last autumn, which sets out plans to shift care away from hospitals and into the community and to ensure better integration of health and social care.
“We have come of age,” she said. “We have got to a stage in our evolution where fundamentally the role of the prescriber, no matter what clinical role, is absolutely essential.
“Why? Because will be completing episodes of care in more remote places, with more autonomy and with more advanced practice than we have ever had historically,” she told a Healthcare Conferences UK event earlier this week.
However, she warned clinicians must not be averse to other professions becoming non-medical prescribers as well.
Ms Kearney highlighted an ongoing NHS England consultation that could allow radiographers, paramedics, dieticians and orthoptists to prescribe mediation in the future.
She said: “In terms of how we deliver care in the future, these kind of roles as prescribers will become essential.
“We cannot become protectionist,” she said. “Because what we have to think of is where the patient is.”
Ms Kearney said that despite the fact the numbers had grown steadily since the role was introduced in the 90s, it was still sometimes “challenging” to do the job because nurse prescribers felt like the “vanguard without the army”.
She noted that most nurse prescribers tended to be older and more experienced.
She suggested the lack of a younger workforce could cause problems over the next 20 years unless they embraced the five-year plan and new non medical prescribers.