Unit 1 - Foundations of Prescribing Practice

Unit 1 - Introduction

This unit serves as an introduction to the extended, independent and supplementary nurse prescribing programme. You will learn about the background to the development of nurse prescribing over the past two decades. You will explore the legal and ethical issues, as well as issues relating to professional practice and accountability. This unit forms the foundation for the other four units in the programme.

Unit 1 is divided into seven sections:

The study materials and suggested learning activities contained in this unit should enable you to:

  • Undertake a critical analysis of the legislation relating to nurse prescribing
  • Work, as a nurse prescriber, within the legislative framework relevant to your area of practice and locality
  • Describe and analyse critically the boundaries of prescribing practice in relation to the duty of care to patients and society
  • Practice within a framework of professional accountability and responsibility in relation to all aspects of nurse prescribing
  • Apply the principles of professional personal accountability to prescribing practice

Most students find that they spend a minimum of 30 hours working on Unit 1. This includes time for reading and all the other learning activities, including writing and reflection. Some aspects of this unit will be developed further in subsequent units.

Essential reading

The following reading list may at first appear daunting, but don't reach for the tranquillisers just yet!

You may be asked at certain points in the unit to look at some of the resources listed below. You do not need to read all of them — much depends on your past experience and your current knowledge in this field, and you may decide to skip some of the reading — it is entirely up to you. Most of the resources listed are available online and, if you have to go to your library to get copies of the others, it might be better to check availability beforehand.

Online resources

Department of Health (2006) Improving Patients’ Access to Medicines: A guide to implementing nurse and pharmacist prescribing within the NHS in England.

Currie, L. et al (2003) Clinical Governance: An RCN resource guide

Furniss, L. (2000) Formularies in primary care. Primary Care Pharmacy 1: 2, 37-39.

Griffith, R. (2003) Tablet crushing and the law. Pharmaceutical Journal 271: 90-91.

The NMC code of professional conduct: standards for conduct, performance and ethics (2004).

NMC Guidelines for the Administration of Medicines (2004).

UKCC/NMC (2001) UKCC Position Statement on the Covert Administration of Medicines — disguising medicines in food and drink. UKCC: London.

Paper-based resources

Courtenay, M. and Griffiths, M. (2004) Independent and Supplementary Prescribing: An Essential Guide. London: Greenwich Medical Media.

Griffith, R. (2005) A nurse prescriber's guide to the legal implications of parental responsibility. Nurse Prescribing. 3 (3) 121-124.

Otway, C. (2004) The Practical Guide to Extended Nurse Prescribing. Salisbury: Quay Books.

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