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University project evaluates effectiveness of independent nurse prescribing

Published: 8 October 2003

A new research project to evaluate the role of nurses prescribing medicines to patients, funded by the Department of Health, is underway at the University of Southampton. The findings will inform future NHS policy and practice developments as expansion of prescribing gathers pace throughout England.

The project will run for 15 months and is the national evaluation of independent nurse prescribing in England. The research will involve a national survey of nurses currently practising as independent prescribers, followed by an in-depth analysis of case studies of practice across England, which will include observation of prescribing episodes as well as interviews with patients, doctors and nurses in each of the sites.

The project is led by Dr Sue Latter and Dr Molly Courtenay of the University's School of Nursing and Midwifery and Dr Nicholas Dunn from the School of Medicine's Community and Clinical Sciences Division. Dr Jill Maben and Dr Michelle Myall, also from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, have been appointed to work on the project.

"The extension of prescribing responsibilities is pivotal to modernising the NHS through developing and enhancing the role of nurses and other health care professionals," said Dr Latter. "It is therefore essential to rigorously evaluate the safety and effectiveness of these new initiatives to date, and to provide evidence to inform future policy and practice.

"We hope the research will inform policy development in several key areas, including decisions about the expansion of nurse prescribing into new nurse-led areas, the inclusion of additional medicines, and the extension of prescribing to other health care professionals."

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Notes for editors

The University of Southampton School of Nursing and Midwifery is one of the largest providers of nursing and midwifery education in the UK. It provides pre-registration and post-qualifying education to over 5000 students every year at centres across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

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