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Revalidation will help community nurses win prescribing battle

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Revalidation will be a “key” tool for community nurses to regain support from managers to prescribe, following concerns some registrants are not making full use of their qualification to do so, it has been claimed.

The new system of competency checks – being introduced across the UK by the Nursing and Midwifery Council from April – will require all nurses to discuss and reflect on their practice, usually with their line manager.

“Revalidation is really key in supporting your non-medical prescribing”

Dilyse Nuttall

It will provide an opportunity for specialist community public health nursing registrants with a prescribing qualification to “revisit” with their managers whether they are using prescribing enough in practice, a nurse academic has said.

Speaking at Unite’s annual Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association conference in Manchester yesterday, Dilyse Nuttall, principal lecturer at University of Central Lancashire, said: “Revalidation is really key in supporting your non-medical prescribing.”

She said: “It’s a chance to revisit it and say, ‘there it is, recorded by the NMC but am I using it or using it effectively?’

“But also you’ve got people listening to you now as managers have to sign you off. You’ve got an active ear at the moment so take the opportunity from it,” she told community nurses.

Ms Nuttall told Nursing Times that organisational support for community nurse prescribing was “variable”.

“If you are in an area where restrictions have been put in around prescribing and you’re the sole prescriber then it gets lost. So it’s about revitalising that [prescribing] again,” she said.

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“There are areas where nurse prescribing is taken forward, because the organisation has grasped it. But it’s dependant on how effective the prescribing leads are within them – for example when it [the lead] is understood as a role in itself rather than an add-on then there is more support and motivation [for nurse prescribing],” she added.

Restrictions to what community nurses are allowed to prescribe – laid out in the Nurse Prescribers Formulary – may also be discouraging nurses from prescribing in practice, she said.

Concerns by nurses about their lack of knowledge of medicines and the additional time required and workload the role creates are also barriers, she added.

Ms Nuttall encouraged community nurses to use the NMC’s standards for prescribing as “ammunition” for securing continuing professional development to bring knowledge up to date.

Approaching other members of the multidisciplinary team for mentoring, asking for additional training and collecting data on the benefits of nurse prescribing to present to managers should also all be used to gain the support of employers, she said.

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